Bill Ryerson Population Travel Notes: 1 Abuja, Nigeria
Posted Sep 6, 2012 by William Ryerson
Post Carbon Fellow and President of the Population Media Centre is regularly on the road as part of his work. Over the next months Bill will be providing us with regular travel notes and insight into his experiences.
Travel notes 1
As I arrived at Immigration in the Abuja airport last week, I noticed a large sign, “Beware of internet fraudsters.” I thought about the number of times I have “won” the Nigerian lottery. But I also thought about the bad rap that Nigeria gets regarding corruption and fraud.
In the years I have been visiting the country, I have gotten to know many dedicated and honest Nigerians working hard to improve conditions in their country. Population Media Center’s staff in Nigeria are among them, with some working as volunteers during times when funding has not been available. And they feel immense pride in what PMC has done and is attempting to do for the welfare of the country’s people. The challenge facing them is immense.
Nigeria has one of the highest birth rates in the world, and only 10% of married women use modern contraceptives. Of the 90% non-users, 55% say they never intend to use a method, according to the 2008 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). The fertility rate is 5.7 children per woman, and the women think 7 children is the ideal number. The men think 9 children is the ideal number. Only 0.2% of Nigerians say they don’t use contraceptives because services are not available, and only 0.2% cite cost as a barrier.
Of all births in Nigeria:
87% were wanted at the time and another
7% were wanted, but not until later
4% were unwanted.
Overcoming this situation takes more than access to contraceptive services. It requires helping people understand the personal benefits in health and welfare for them and their children of limiting and spacing births.
Population Media Center’s second program in four states in northern Nigeria had significant effects in changing desired family size among women who were listening. The 208-episode drama program, Ruwan Dare (“Midnight Rain”), was broadcast in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, and Sokoto states from July 2007 to June 2009. The program storylines promoted and modeled birth spacing and smaller family size. The main characters in the drama featured couples who often discussed family planning issues and both positive and negative views related to making a decision to use contraceptives to space children and achieve smaller family size.
At the time of the baseline survey prior to the broadcast, the mean desired number of children for all respondents was 7.43 (females 7.71, males 7.03), and this decreased significantly* to 5.93 by the endline survey, most notably among females (females 5.39, males 6.96).
The likelihood of respondents saying they “currently use something to delay or avoid pregnancy” was 5.6* times greater at endline compared to baseline. On this indicator, listeners were 2.4 times as likely as non-listeners to say they “currently use something to delay or avoid pregnancy.”
Results from the final evaluation show that 70% of respondents in the four states listened to the broadcast one or more times per week. These percentages confirm similar listenership levels found in clinic monitoring reports during broadcast.
At 11 family planning clinics that participated in monitoring research, when clients were asked what motivated their visit to the clinic, 67% named the PMC program. Population Media Center is now seeking support for its third radio drama program. We hope to have similar effects with that program – but on a nationwide basis.
So far, we have commitments from the Ford Foundation, Skye Bank, and Vitafoam and indications of strong interest in the nationwide program by UNFPA, USAID, and several clients of an ad agency in Lagos. As of this writing, we expect to begin the next program in 2013.