REMARKS BY THE DIRECTOR GENERAL, NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT, DR. MOHAMED A. SHEIKH DURING THE CELEBRATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE FAMILY HELD ON 15TH MAY 2023 AT KENYA INSTITUTE OF CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENTKamau Samuel
Chief Guest and Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection
Principal secretary, State Department for Social Protection and Senior Citizens Affairs
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
- It is with great pleasure that I join you today in the celebration of the International Day of the Family.
- I want to echo sentiments made by the previous speakers that indeed family is at the core of sustainable development of any society and to an extend of any nation.
- I wish thank the Ministry for considering NCPD as not only as participant in this event but also one of the key players in addressing family issues specifically through provision of evidence meant to guide policies and programmes geared towards promoting family stability and well-being
- NCPD is a State Agency under The National Treasury and Economic Planning, that was established in 1982 with the core mandate of promoting and coordinating population and development activities in the Country.
- As a Council we conduct research, analyze population issues and develop population policies relating to population, secondly, coordinate population programmes implemented by different organizations both at national and county level, third, we assess the impact of population programmes and make necessary recommendations arising from such assessments through various researches that we undertake, fourth, we assist other organizations in dealing with population issues eg through capacity building them, fifth, we identify and provide advisory on population issues that may not be adequately addressed by Government and finally, we carry out advocacy for political other support in addressing population issues.
Chief guest, Ladies and gentlemen
- Family which is the basic foundation and smallest segment of the population is among the key population issues we address because all population and demographic dynamics are experienced at the family level and somehow the family bears all the implications of these changes.
- This year’s theme for the International Family “Day of Demographic Trends “and Families resonates so well with what we address at the Council.
- Allow me to share with you a few statistics which demonstrates some of the demographic changes the Country is experiencing and which have a direct impact to the family well-being.
- Our population has significantly increased in the last few decades from 10.9 million in 1969 to 47.6 million in 2019 and is projected to reach 57.8 million by 2030.
- The rate of population growth has declined from 3.4% in the 1979-89 intercensal period to about 2.3% in the 2009-19 period.
- In terms of population structure and distribution, The population of the youth aged below 35 years (0-34 years) form 75% of the total population, The population of older persons (aged 60 years and above) form about 6% of the total population
- The Country has experienced decline in average household size from about 7 members in 1969 to about 4 members per household in 2019.However, one person households are dominant at 20%.
- Life expectancy among men has improved from 58 years in 2009 to 60 years in 2019 while the life expectancy for women has improved from 61 years in 2009 to 66 years in 2019
- The Country has experienced decline in mortality declines, particularly infant mortality and child mortality.
- The total dependency ratio has declined from 86.7 in 2009 to 75.2 in 2019. This implies that about 75 persons in the age range 0-14 and 65+ were dependent on 100 people in the age range 15-64 (those in labor force) in 2019.
Chief guest, Ladies and gentlemen
- Changes in fertility and marriage affects individual and family well-being because family formation is determined largely by marriage patterns, for instance, the proportion of individuals who have never married is about 39% as enumerated in in 2019.
- The incidence of divorce is increasing. A considerable proportion of unions are disrupted suddenly for reasons such as desertion, separation or divorce. In Kenya those who are either divorced or separated form 3.6 % of the total population of persons aged 12 years and above.
- A consequence of the increase in the proportion of never married young adults is the gradual upward trend of the average age at marriage. The age at which people marry in Kenya has been increasing as well as the proportion of never married eg the age of 1st marriage for females increased from about 22.3 years in 1999 to 23.1 in 2019
- Evidence of stress and strain is becoming increasingly manifest in marital and family relationships due the Changing migration patterns and rapid urbanization trends.
- One other element which affects the size and composition of families is the number of children a woman gives birth during her reproductive period (15-49years)
- We have also experienced cases of teenage pregnancy and this trend has remained stagnant for many years whereby about 1 in every 10 girls (15%) aged 15-19 has ever been pregnant.
Chief guest, Ladies and gentlemen,
- A year after the proclamation of the International Day of Families in 1993, the family was recognized as a key factor in realizing sustainable development during the 1994 ICPD in Cairo and key actions on family protection and promotion were incorporated in the Programme of Action
- During the ICPD, governments were tasked to document changes and undertake studies on family composition and structure.
- The Government of Kenya mandated NCPD through the MTP III to carry out a family study
- These Celebrations on the day of the family have come at the right time when have just launched the reports of the two Counties
- The study was implemented between March and June 2022 by NCPD in collaboration with various partners (This ministry was part of the team through the Directorate of Social Development).
- This was the first study of its kind to be undertaken in Kenya considering that, the available statistics relate to households, defined by location, community or living arrangements because surveys and censuses usually cover all households, not merely family households.
- The study was meant to provide policy makers with an understanding of the situation of the family in Kenya with focus in Kwale and Murangá County
- It is expected that once all Counties are covered, key indicators of family well-being will be generated to inform development of a Kenyan family well-being Index
- The specific objectives of the study were to:
- Describe the types, forms and composition of families in Kenya
- Determine changes the family has experienced and their drivers
- To determine the status of family well-being and stability
- In determining the status of the family well-being and stability, the study measured:
- Status of family relations among family members and care of the vulnerable members of the family
- Status of the relations of family within the community
- Status of parenthood in the family
- Status of family health and safety
- Status of family economy and
- Work- family balance
- Detailed findings are documented in the reports of each of the Counties but allow me to share with you a snapshot of the study findings:
- Nuclear is the main type of family in both Counties and forms 44% of families in Kwale and 62 %in Murangá. Single parent families form 20 % and 19 % of families in Kwale and Murangá respectively. Other family types and forms are extended, grandparent headed, cohabiting and blended families.
- Families have experienced decrease in family size, change in family composition, shift from extended to nuclear, increase in cohabitation, rise in grandparent-headed, rise single parent families and co-parenting. Other changes are deteriorating family values and norms and change in gender roles among others
- The results indicate that over half of families in both Counties mainly experience conflicts between spouses
- 23% and 12% of families with elderly family members living away never communicate with them in Murangá and Kwale respectively
- Alcohol is the main substance used in families of both Counties with 42% of families in Murangá and 20% in Kwale reporting a family member using alcohol
- 5% and 2 percent of families in Murangá and Kwale respectively are never visited by friends and other relatives
- Of the families who are not comfortable interacting with others in the community, 75% of them in Murangá and 49% in Kwale don’t interact because of the differences in standards of living
- Some of the drivers of these changes include; rural-urban migration, urbanization, high cost of living, cultural changes and life style, infertility, technological advancement, drug and substance abuse, increase in women education and involvement in the labour market among many others
Chief guest, Ladies and gentlemen,
- Religion is viewed as very important in promoting community relations as reported by 77% and 58 % of families in Murangá and Kwale respectively.
- Nyumba kumi is reported to be the main family dispute resolution mechanism among 70% of families in Murangá and 68% in Kwale
- 2 in every 5 parents leave their children under the care of the spouse in their absence wheras 1 in every 10 parents leave their children alone
- Over half of parents in both Counties use verbal rebuke as the main method of disciplining their children
- 9 in every 10 parents agree that parents are the most suitable persons to instill values and morals in their children
- 88 % of parents in Kwale and 91% of parents in Murangá County report that they are encountering financial difficulties in bringing up children
- 3 in 4 parents in both counties report that large part of their lives is controlled by children needs
- 63% of parents in Murangá and 43% in Kwale do not desire to have any additional child(ren) mainly because of the financial burden they are experiencing
- 39% of families in Murangá and 28 % in Kwale have a family member ailing from a chronic/terminal illness
- At the time of the study, 88% of families in Kwale and 63 % of families in Murangá had no health insurance cover
- Majority of families in Kwale (55%) and Murangá (31%) have a family combined income of less than Ksh. 5,000
- 63% and 56% of families in Kwale and Murangá respectively do not do any savings at all
Chief guest, Ladies and gentlemen,
- With these findings, what could be some of the research, Policy and programme implications?
- For better information and research nationally on the changes the family has undergone and family structures and functions, the Council seeks partnerships in scaling up the Family study to the other 45 Counties
- Increase institutional capacity of the Family unit at the Ministry to strengthen coordination of family oriented policies and programmes
- We recommend a more systematic evaluation of the impact of existing policies, programs and legislations that are meant to promote and protect the family
- A comprehensive study on the prevalence of NCDs and implication of these on the family socio-economic functioning
- More responsible parenthood to be encouraged while we pay close attention to the changing family forms, structures and composition
- Stakeholder synergy in addressing issues affecting families by establishing a national network of institutes and researchers on family issues.
- The study methodology will be reviewed to include longitudinal level whereby selected families will be followed up and key indicators of well-being documented for a period of time
- In conclusion, we call on all sectors of society to work towards building strong families. These efforts must start with programs to strengthen families by protecting vulnerable members of society such as children, women, people with disabilities, and older persons.
- A happy family is the pillar of a happy society and Nation.
Thank you so much