Home Institution

Georgetown University

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

Uganda: Development Studies


This report seeks to understand the influence that religion has on family planning decisions in Kapchorwa District, in eastern Uganda. Increased uptake of family planning has significant impliations for sustainability and development in Uganda as a whole. As a district with a high unmet need for faily planning, Kapchorwa serves as an important case study. Because over 99% of Uganda’s population reports a religious affiliation, and because literature on family planning claims conservative spirituality as a major cause of low uptake, religion is a natural lens through which to study family planning perceptions and utilization.

Through focus groups and key informant interviews, the study analyzes the responses of 47 inhabitants of Kapchorwa and one religious leader living in Kampala. Findings show that individuals face barriers to family planning access, particularly a lack of accurate information about contraception, the spread of persistent and widely-held myths, and the disapproval of important religious institutions. Despite these obstacles, participants prioritize the spacing and limiting of children over the teachings of any religion. Significantly, religious leaders frequently acknowledge the necessity of family planning for Kapchorwa’s development, and advise against the teachings of their churches in private. Recommendations include involving willing religious institutions in basic sexual health education, and encouraging religious leaders to speak their private beliefs about family planning in more public settings.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Medicine and Health | Other Public Health | Sociology of Religion


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