Studies suggest that men's perceptions of family planning in sub-Saharan Africa would be improved if they were included more extensively in family planning programs. However, few studies capture how men's views change over time and what processes are responsible for these shifts. Examining the processes that underpin men's shifting family formation strategies is essential in order to understand the impact of family planning programs. This research, framed by a political economy of fertility approach that draws on life history data, highlights intergenerational change and continuity in men's perceptions of family planning in Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region of Ghana, where a family planning program involving men was implemented in the 1990s. Eight months of ethnographic fieldwork was conducted in rural village and clinic settings in 2013 and 2014. We find that men's sense of responsibility for the cost of schooling, against a changing economic backdrop, as well as shifts toward “companionate marriage” are among the most salient factors contributing to their growing approval of family planning. This study highlights the importance of paying attention to changes in the larger socioeconomic context that encourage men's acceptance of family planning. We argue that programs incorporating men should move beyond health education to consider broader social and economic drivers of attitudinal change.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.