News You Really Need To See: “In Senegal, Imams Decry Family Planning”

“In Senegal, Imams Decry Family Planning”

The Washington Post, Mar. 16, 2014, p.A10

“From the corner of his family’s bustling courtyard, El Hadji Fally Diallo looked out approvingly at his large extended family.  Several women with babies on their hips prepared the massive midday meal, and children studying the Koran mumbled verses to themselves. … The Diallos have a time-tested definition of success in which a large family plays a central role.  But that model is clashing with a government program to increase contraceptive use and reduce family sizes.  Largely financed by international donors, the program is part of a global campaign that aims to give 120 million more women around the world access to contraception by 2020.  For supporters of the program, the benefits of contraception are clear: better health for women and children, economic benefits and smaller families.  This last justification, smaller families — and so smaller populations — has drawn the women’s health program into conflict with religious leaders and rekindled suspicions about the motivations for international aid.  For Diallo and his son Ibrahima Diallo, who is an imam, their large family is not only an economic boon, it is also a moral imperative.  ‘If Europeans say the population is too large so we need to limit births, Islam can’t agree with that because God says, ‘You are my people, multiply,’ and it is the duty of God to take care of the family,’ the younger man said.  ‘It’s not for Europeans to bring family planning and say, ‘You have a large population, you will have consequences.’'”

Quickie analysis:  An interesting look at the clash between international family planning efforts and local values in Senegal.

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