Muslim men’s perceptions and attitudes on family planning: a qualitative study in Wajir and Lamu counties in Kenya

Batula Abdi, Jerry Okal, Gamal Serour, Marleen Temmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In patriarchal societies like Kenya, understanding men’s perceptions and attitudes on family planning is critical given their decision-making roles that affect uptake of contraception. Yet, most programmes mainly target women as primary users of contraceptive methods since they bear the burden of pregnancy. However, women-focused approaches tend to overlook gender power dynamics within relationships, with men wielding excessive power that determines contraception use or non-use. A qualitative study involving focus group discussions and in-depth interviews was conducted in the two predominantly Muslim communities of Lamu and Wajir counties, Kenya. Open-ended questions explored perspectives, attitudes and men’s understanding of contraception, family size, decision making on family planning and general views on contraceptive use. Thematic content analysis was used. Findings show that men in Wajir and Lamu held similar viewpoints of family planning as a foreign or western idea and associated family planning with ill health and promiscuity. They believed family planning is a “woman’s affair” that requires little or no input from men. Men from Wajir desired a big family size. There is a need for a shift in family planning programmes to enable men’s positive engagement. The findings from this study can be used to develop culturally appropriate approaches to engage men, challenge negative social norms and foster positive social change to improve uptake of family planning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1893890
JournalSexual and Reproductive Health Matters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Islam and contraception
  • culture
  • family planning
  • men
  • perceptions and attitudes


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