At the time of independence in 1963 Kenya’s population was about 9million. Today the population stands at 40 million; more than four times the number of people in 1963 and which means population pyramid in Kenya is continuing to grow. Even with HIV AIDS deaths taking a tall on Kenyan people, the population will keep growing. At the current growth rate of 2.8% each year, Kenyan population will increase to more than 64 million by 2030.
One result of rapid growth is an overwhelming pressure on land and resources. Agriculture plays an important role in Kenyan economy. Yet the high potential agricultural areas account for only 20% of the country’s land mass area with the remaining 80% of the land being arid or semi arid. In those high potential areas population pressure has led to the increase in sub division of land leading to lower agricultural productivity. This phenomenon coupled by intermittent draught due to climate change is threatening food security and the country’s overall economic growth. In some parts of the country the population density tops 300 people per square kilometer.
Rapid population growth is already posing many challenges for the economy and the government’s ability to provide adequate social services especially in the context of high levels of poverty, low levels of education, environmental degeneration and food insecurity. This state of affairs became even more alarming when the 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey revealed that the country was losing ground with its family planning program as evidenced by slow-down in up-take of contraceptives and slowing of the trend toward smaller families. The trends towards smaller families directly translates to greater wealth for each member of the house hold and at the same time helps empower women to actively contribute towards the economic growth of their families, their communities and the nation as a whole.
The Government of Kenya established the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) to improve people’s well-being and help preserve natural resources by mobilizing political and financial support for population, family planning and reproductive health policies and programmes. NCPD is the National focal point for leadership and guidance in matters relating to population and development in the country that fosters the development of appropriate policies on population and reproductive health issues through an integrated programme of research, policy formulation, advocacy and communication, and seeks to make clear the linkages between population, reproductive health, the environment and development. Get redirected here to check out the job descriptions.
NCPD is a semi-autonomous government agency under the Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 with the responsibility of promoting and coordinating population and development activities in Kenya. Founded in 1982, NCPD is financed through government funds and support from development partners.
The mandate of NCPD includes the following:
- To analyze population issues and develop policies relating to population
- To provide leadership and mobilize support for population programmes, including coordinating population programmes implemented by different organizations.
- To assess the impact of population programmes and make recommendations arising from such assessments
- To assist other organizations in dealing with population issues
- To identify and advise on population issues that may not be adequately or appropriately dealt with by the government
- To advocate for political and other support to address population activities.
Overall, there is need to reposition family planning on the National agenda, raise awareness on the need for family planning, increase uptake of family planning and reduce population growth to a level that is consistent with the implementation of the Vision 2030.
- Need for advocacy, public education and communication on population issues
Need to focus on research, policy development and analysis
Limited resources for population -related programs.
Need for organizational development to meet current and future challenges.
Weak programme planning, coordination and M&E.
Need for enhanced partnerships, networks and collaboration (local and international partners.
- Need to focus on customer
- To enhance awareness on population issues (fertility, mortality, migration).
- To improve knowledge and information base on population issues.
- To improve policy framework and environment on population issues.
- To increase resources for population-related programmes.
- To enhance capacity for programme planning, coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation
- To satisfy customers with services provided by the Council.
- Repositioning family planning as a national priority to strengthen commitment and services
- Support in resource mobilization for securing contraceptive commodities and a range of essential products and services in Reproductive Health including HIV/AIDS
- Addressing adolescent sexual and reproductive health and the needs of other vulnerable groups like older persons, persons with disabilities, orphans and vulnerable children
- Reducing maternal morbidity and mortality significantly to ensure safe motherhood
- Fostering gender equity, equality and women’s empowerment through the reduction of gender-based violence and harmful cultural practices
- Alleviating poverty and enhancing the quality of life
Population Programme Outcome
On the programme front, NCPD attributes the attainment of the following targets to its activities: decline of population growth rate from 3.8% per annum in 1979 to 3.3% in 1989 and to 2.5% in 1999; decline in total fertility rate from 7.7 children in 1979 to 6.7 in 1989, 5.4 in1993 and 4.9 in 2003; and decline in ideal family size among married women from 4.4 children to 3.8 in 1998 and 3.7 in 2003. Furthermore, the maternal mortality rate declined from 590 in 1998 to 414 in 2000, but remains relatively high; and the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) increased from 27% (1989) to 33% (1993) and then to 39% (1998) for all married women.
Strategic Issues Being Addressed
Population issues as a concern to development planning were first highlighted in Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 on African Socialism and Its Application to Planning in Kenya. The paper noted a link between the country’s population growth rate and its impact on socioeconomic development of the country. This awareness prompted the Government to adopt an official population policy in 1967 that culminated to the formation of national family planning action programmes under the auspices of the Ministry of Health. The programmes laid greater emphasis on the reduction of family size and spacing of children, which was expected to contribute to reducing the population growth rate.
To facilitate better population management, the Government established the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) in 1982, as a department in the Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Home Affairs, to advise on matters pertaining to population and development. The role and mandate of NCPD was contained in Sessional Paper No. 4 of 1984 on Population Policy Guidelines. This policy paper was later revised and formed the backbone of Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2000 on National Population Policy for Sustainable Development (NPPSD). NCAPD was established in 2004 through Legal Notice No. 120 contained in the Kenya Gazette supplement No. 68 dated 20 October 2004.
Under the coordinating role of NCAPD’s predecessor, NCPD, Kenya’s population programme registered considerable achievements that could be viewed from the two broad perspectives of policy and programme. NCPD spearheaded the updating of the 1967 National Family Planning Policy and formulated Sessional Paper No. 4 of 1984 on Population Policy Guidelines.
It subsequently reviewed Sessional Paper No. 4 of 1984 to incorporate the recommendations of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action and came up with Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2000 on National Population Policy for Sustainable Development (NPPSD), which is expected to guide the implementation of the population and development agenda up to 2010 and beyond. NCPD also developed the National Plan of Action to implement the NPPSD; developed district specific plans to implement NPPSD; and facilitated the development of national policies on adolescent reproductive health, the youth, gender and elderly persons. The population policy is under review and will be issued in due course..
The recent Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS 2009) and other assessments show that the desired population momentum has not been sustained and the country continues to experience high number of women’s deaths. This trend is a contrast to early decades when Kenya was on the right truck aiming to balance the rate of population growth with sustainable development. It is against this background that the Government of Kenya re-launched the National Family Planning campaign on14 February, 2012, and re-branded the National Council for Population and Development. The Council is expected to revitalize population management programmes as a means to contribute to the country’s prosperity.