The Role of Political Will and Commitment in Improving Access to Family Planning in Africa
Violet Murunga, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
Nyokabi Musila, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
Rose N. Oronje, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
Eliya M. Zulu, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
The study explores the origin, architecture and role of political will in facilitating phenomenal increases in contraceptive use using case studies from five sub-Saharan African countries - Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. The study assesses factors that have propelled changes in the attitudes of some political leaders to champion family planning; how such political will has manifested in different contexts; and how political will impacts the policy and program environment. We use mixed policy analysis methods including desk review of policy and program documents and stakeholder interviews. The study findings demonstrate that political will is mainly changing due to increased availability of evidence that shows that family planning is central to achieving the MDGs, and that high population growth undermines efforts to transform the economies of least developing countries. Lessons from this study will help galvanize efforts to improve access to family planning services in countries where little progress is being made.