Population Dynamics & Reproductive Health

Population Growth and Environmental Change

The Center has developed a robust and multifaceted evidence base about sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues, with special attention to young people. Our research has also provided understanding of what works to
increase uptake of modern contraceptives within high-fertility communities, and has informed debate around unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortion.

The Center has also generated evidence on drivers of sexual violence and contributed to innovations in how to address sexual violence among refugee populations. Our work is exploring how poor men express their masculinity as breadwinners with few options for employment, and how they might become champions in the global struggle for gender equality.

A deeper understanding of contexts, drivers, experiences and preferences for family planning remains. Understanding SRHR throughout the life course is critical to many health and development pathways, as is improved understanding of population dynamics and their implications for sustainable development: specifically, the realization of the demographic dividend.

There are four areas of inquiry in this Unit, aiming to promote sustainable population growth and improved sexual and reproductive health and rights across the life course:

The signature issue for the Unit will be young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). We will focus in particular on early adolescents (10-14 years) and those from marginalized communities, and the magnitude and impact of adverse SRH events on adolescent health and wellbeing. We will aim to clarify the contexts for comprehensive sexuality education, including SRHR/ FP counseling for adolescents. This program will also generate
evidence about what works to reach youth with safe, respectful and comprehensive SRHR information and services.

The second signature issue for this Unit will be unsafe abortion. We will aim to understand the contexts and dynamics of unsafe abortion, family planning, and contraceptive behaviors; deepen our understanding of the mortality and morbidity associated with unsafe abortion; and assess the impact of unsafe abortion prevention programs and barriers to quality post abortion care. We will contribute to knowledge on drivers, experiences and preferences among populations for the array of options for family planning, and illuminate pathways for optimizing the provision and sustainability of services, including financing and delivery options.

The third program of work will address gender and sexuality-related vulnerabilities. Assessing the magnitude and perceptions of gender-based violence will drive this programmatic area, including identification of where
men and boys might engage in promoting women’s SRHR. The program will also seek to clarify the origins and implications of gender ideologies and practices, including masculinity.

The Unit will spearhead efforts to contribute to the discourse around the Demographic Dividend. We will seek to understand population dynamics, including regional and intra-regional fertility, mortality and migration trends,
and their implications for sustainable development and how to position Africa to achieve the demographic dividend.

Featured Project

Documentation of research and evidence on gender and conservation agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa

Program: Population Dynamics & Reproductive Health

The concept of conservation agriculture (CA) involves three core principles of minimum tillage, permanent organic mulch cover, and nutritive and resilience crop rotations. Conservation agriculture was introduced a decade ago to provide resource-efficient agricultural crop production methods based on an integrated management of soil, water and biological resources, combined with purchased external inputs. As with any adoption packages, the implementation of CA involves a variety of components that may or may not be fully adopted, which then affects its efficiency and longer-term sustainability.

In general, CA improves soil fertility and quality and has been widely reported to have far-reaching potential to mitigate climate change variability, allow timelier preparation of farmlands relative to traditional practices, and facilitate early planting and improved retention of soil moisture. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called for the scale up of CA in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) based on its potential to increase yields for small-scale farmers and promotion of ecological sustainability.

Some existing evidence reveals significant gender differences concerning the adoption of CA.  There however has been little systematic documentation of emerging critical evidence on the interactions between conservation agriculture interventions and gender in SSA, and indeed globally. As a result, our project will conduct a desk review of existing research and literature on the linkages between CA and gender, with specific reference to both the gendered impacts of CA and the impacts of farmers’ sex on the environmental effects of CA in SSA. More specifically, the review will:

  1. Collate and synthesize existing research evidence on the gendered impacts of CA in SSA;
  2. Systematically review and document existing research on the impacts of farmers’ gender on the environmental effects of CA in SSA;
  3. Review and document the available evidence on the sources of resistance or social challenges faced by women in CA programs and on ‘what works’ to facilitate women’s participation in conservation agriculture.

The review will rely primarily on published and unpublished information and materials (where obtainable), including research papers, existing data, reports and other pertinent documentations on gender and CA.  The review will be registered with the international prospective register of systematic and scholarly reviews (PROSPERO) database. A scholarly systematic review paper published in an open-access scientific journal will be the main product of this exercise.

Partner Institutions: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Project Period: October 2017 – March 2018


Project Funders

  • david_packard

    www.packard.org ...


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