Over 58 percent of married women in 2020 took up family planning methods, according to Family Planning 2020.
However, for most women among the Luhya community, Bunyala sub-tribe, efforts to enroll in family planning methods have strongly been objected by their husbands.
Gentrix Wekesa, 30-year-old mother of 10 from Navakholo village, Kakamega County, says her husband wants 22 children. As of now, she is expecting her 11th child, while her tenth is less than a year old.
“I went to hospital and got a three-year injection. I told my husband I needed a break so I could fend for the rest, then later I would resume giving birth as he wished,” Wekesa narrates to TV47.
However, for her husband, who already has 20 children, family planning is not acceptable. For him, and other men in their community, the more children one has, the more permanent your seat among men.
Mary, not her real name, shares similar plights as Wekesa. She is a mother of six, and says that until one can get 12 children, then you fall short of the community’s ‘expectations.’
“I was subjected to complete bed rest when I was expectant with my last three children. Women in the area nicknamed me ‘complete bedrest’,” Mary says.
After her fourth child, she secretly went for a five-year contraception implant which almost cost her marriage. “He accompanied me to hospital and watched while it was removed from my arm,” Mary adds.
Banyala community elders believe each child comes with his/her own provision. “The law of family planning is not in the Banyala community. You cannot go against God’s directive of filling the earth,” Shaban Mung’osi, one of the elders says.
Some of the Banyala men however have began embracing family planning. Ibrahim Olunga says with the changing economic times, he wishes to have sired only four children, instead of nine.
Julia Wenani, a nurse at Navakholo Hospital has got into trouble with men whose wives have sought family planning means at the facility. She says most women plead with them to offer them the three-month injection, without putting it on record, as their husbands may find out.