Author(s): Ngendakumana M
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Abstract PIP: A consequence of the increasing pressure on Rwanda's ecosystem resulting from population growth has been that demographic factors have played a significant role in modifying attitudes and beliefs of the population. The history of Rwanda demonstrates a constant struggle for survival in the face of increasing population pressure. Migration, colonization of new agricultural lands, adoption of new crops and new forms of animal husbandry have been responses to population pressures. Recent unprecedented population growth has exceeded the capacity of older systems of cultivation and combinations of agricultural and animal husbandry to support the population. Smaller animals have largely replaced the cattle that once roamed freely in extensive pastures, and new techniques of stabling animals, use of organic or chemical fertilizers, and new tools adapted to the shrinking size of farm plots have represented responses to the new demographic realities. The concept of the family is likewise undergoing modification in the face of population growth and modernization. Children, who once were valued as a source of labor and constrained to conform to the wishes of the parents in return for the eventual inheritance of the goods and livelihood, now increasingly look beyond the household for education and employment. Family land holdings have become too small to support all the members with a claim on them. The greater distances between family members inevitably mean that relations between them lose closeness. The choice of a marriage partner is increasingly assumed by the young people themselves and not by their families. Old traditions of food sharing and hospitality have been curtailed because of the increasing scarcity of food. Despite the changes engendered by increasing population pressure, pronatalist sentiments are still widespread. But the desire to assure the future of each child rather than to await his services, a new conception of women less dependent on their reproductive functions, the promotion of small families of 4 or fewer children by the government, and the existence of some fertile-aged women who do not wish to have more children all testify to the appearance of a new attitude toward family planning. A goal of the 4th 5-year plan is to increase the proportion of contraceptive users from 2\% to 15\%.
This article was published in Imbonezamuryango
and referenced in Journal of Nursing & Care