With “the worlds” highest birthrate, Nigers population is set to double in 17 years. NGOs are rendering contraception, but what if females want more babes?
Roukaya Hamani has an in-law problem. Her husbands mothers want more grandbabies, but she doesnt want any more infants right now. Shes already devoted birth four times; one of the babes died, and so now she has three, ages seven, five, and 16 months. Shes 18 years old.
I only pray to God to bless those three babes I have, she mentions. The local health centre in her village of Darey Maliki offered her free contraception, which they get partly from the NGO Pathfinder, but Hamani declined. Maybe[ my in-laws] would tell my husband to marry another woman to have more babes, she mentions. If they want me to have another maternity, I can do it just for them to feel happy.
Hamani, a smiley, gap-toothed girl in a long orangey-brown headscarf worn in the popular style here tight around her face and then flowing down to the knee, over a bright printed dress never went to school, and got married when she was 10 and her husband was 20. He works in the fields and she keeps the home, waking up at dawning every day. Why dont I want to have another? she mentions. Because has become a mom is not easy work.
Hamanis life is in many ways illustrative for women in rural Niger, where she lives in a small village of mud-brick houses lining sand-dust roads. Girls here get married young, usually as teenagers, and have their first child at 18. Polygamy is legal and commonplace, especially in the rural areas where about 80% of the population resides. More than half of daughters dont complete primary school, and fewer than one in ten attend secondary school as a result, less than a one-quarter of the status of women here are literate. Women have an average of more than seven infants apiece, the highest in “the worlds”. And they face a one-in-2 3 opportunity of succumbing from maternity or childbirth.
But Hamani is unusual in that three babes are enough for her. Despite having the highest fertility rate in “the worlds”, women and men alike in Niger say they want more infants than we are really have women want an average of nine, while men say they want 11.
Birth rates as high as Nigers contribute to rapid population growth. The countrys population exploded from 3.5 million people in 1960 to virtually 20 million today, with half of the current population under the age of 15. The overwhelming majority 80% of Nigeriens live in poverty. The landlocked nation is largely desert, less than 20% of the land is arable, and that number is diminishing due to climate change. At current growth rates, the population is set to doubled in 17 years. This, experts tell, drives poverty, famine, political instability, and violence.
When you have a huge number of young people who are jobless, they have no choice but to immigrate, mentions Hassane Atamo, the department chief for family planning at the Niger ministry of health , noting that large numbers of young men go to nearby Ghana, Nigeria or Ivory Coast attempting run. They may also shall be divided into crime, or integrate into terrorism. The country is facing this problem as well, with the Boko Haram issue they are recruiting jobless young people.
To combat the health a matter that come with high birth rates as well as the burden many young and out-of-work people place on a fragile economy and vulnerable security situation, the Nigerien government has turned to the solution: modern contraception. What they havent figured out, though, is how to get females to use it.
This is a time bomb, because all the Sahel is in this situation, and especially with climate change, the food supply will be less abundant than before, mentions John May, a visiting intellectual at the Population Reference Bureau. Its a huge crisis.
In a jam-packed room at a health clinic in Magama, a town in Nigers Tillaberi region, 60 -odd females cram side by side, each with a child or two in tow, to hear Aboubacar Gousmane talking here family planning. Gousmane, an expressive, charismatic employee of Marie Stopes International, a world reproductive health organisation that does family planning work at this clinic, stands in front of a desk with a choice kit packed full of sample contraceptives.
Family scheming is about inducing space between your children, Gousmane tells the group as newborn holler. We know our communities are poor. If we have many babes, we make it harder for ourselves. Thats why we say you should space pregnancies. Contraceptives at this clinic, he tells the women, are free.
Currently, Marie Stopes Internationals family planning work on this clinic provide funding for USAid. Last year, they served virtually 30,000 clients. But since it is an international organisation that supports liberalising abortion laws and offer elective abortions in other countries where the procedure is legally let( in Niger, abortion is largely prohibited) it is going to lose its US funding thanks the global gag rule put into place by President Trump. Presidents from the organisation say they are hopeful that private donors and more sympathetic governments will fill the gap, but that it will be a substantial blow.
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