Saturday, November 5, 2011
Victoria's Green Matters 3rd Nov 2011
Education, particularly of young girls and women, is the key here but political commitment of governments is required to make relatively inexpensive family planning easily available. If women are educated, they can work and provide for their smaller families thus ensuring that their children are educated too. Cultural and religious factors can make this difficult. Traditionally, women have many children because a cycle of poverty, food insecurity and inequality lead to high death rates, which leads to high birth rates. Many women would prefer to have smaller families but find this a difficult choice in the face of cultural repression.
Africa is the world’s poorest continent. It also has the world’s highest birth rate. We have seen famine return to Africa this year and in a continent already suffering the effects of climate change, there is fear that it will not be able to produce enough food or, more critically, source enough water to meet the needs of its growing population.
We cannot simply continue to send emergency supplies of food when disaster strikes. We must endeavour to work towards the empowerment of women in Africa and around the developing world on the road to eradicating poverty.