Leveraging family planning for sustainable urbanisation in Malawi (U PLAN-FP)
Malawi’s population was estimated at about 17.6 million in the 2018 census. The country is predominantly rural, but urbanising rapidly at a rate of 4.2%. Urbanisation in Malawi is driven by growth in four cities (Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba) which account for majority of the urban population. Modern contraceptive use which is critical for slowing population growth has increased significantly in urban areas, from 17% in 1992 to 61% in 2015. There are, however, wide disparities in contraceptive use among urban women in Malawi, with unmarried adolescents and urban poor women among the most underserved. Yet, the family planning (FP) needs of unmarried adolescents, poor women and other marginalized urban women are rarely prioritised by policymakers and reproductive health practitioners. This project seeks to highlight the disparities in urban contraceptive, identify existing policy gaps and demonstrate the importance of family planning to sustainable urbanisation in Malawi.
The overall objective of the project is to generate evidence on contraceptive use among urban women and the potential impact of increasing contraceptive uptake on sustainable urban development in Malawi. The specific objectives are:
- To examine the characteristics that explain the differences in modern contraceptive use and the demand for FP satisfied with modern contraceptives among urban women in Malawi.
- To simulate the effect of increasing contraceptive uptake on key development outcomes such as access to water and sanitation services and proportion of the urban population living in slums.
- To assess the extent to which FP prioritised and integrated into urban development plans, policies as well as in the operations of Lilongwe and Mzuzu city councils.
- To identify key stakeholders in Malawi’s urban development landscape and examine their views on FP and how do they use population and FP data to inform their work.
- To recommend the ‘best ways’ for integrating FP into urban development plans, policies and operations of city and municipal councils in Malawi.
Outputs: The project will publish two scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and produce reports and policy briefs.
Outcomes: The findings will be packaged and used to inform policymakers, city councils and other critical stakeholders of the disparities in contraceptive use and the benefits of FP to urbanisation. The ultimate outcome of the project is to secure buy-in and support from such critical stakeholders to prioritise investment in and integration of FP into urban development plans and policies.
International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP)