Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 85–106

The evolution of population policies in Kenya and Malawi

  • Chiweni Chimbwete
  • Susan Cotts Watkins
  • Eliya Msiyaphazi Zulu

DOI: 10.1007/s11113-005-0328-5

Cite this article as:
Chimbwete, C., Watkins, S.C. & Zulu, E.M. Popul Res Policy Rev (2005) 24: 85. doi:10.1007/s11113-005-0328-5


Our case studies of the evolution of population policies in Kenya and Malawi offer insights into the interaction between the global population movement and national governments. The comparison is useful because it permits identifying the common strategies of a global movement, strategies that are likely to be evident elsewhere; it also permits identifying differences in national responses related to particular domestic contexts. We find a common repertory of movement strategies to influence the governments of Kenya and Malawi to adopt a neo-Malthusian population policy and to implement a family planning program. However, these strategies were promoted more or less aggressively depending on the national response and the chronological period. National responses were related to differences in the governments’ approaches to nation-building, their willingness to accept foreign influence and the importance they placed on preserving cultural traditions, and to their assessment of benefits they would gain from responding favorably to movement proposals. The data come from written accounts and from interviews with international actors and Kenyan and Malawian elites who participated in the policy development process.


comparative historical Kenya Malawi national policy population sub-saharan Africa 

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiweni Chimbwete
    • 1
  • Susan Cotts Watkins
    • 2
  • Eliya Msiyaphazi Zulu
    • 3
  1. 1.Ibis Reproductive HealthJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Population Studies CenterUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.African Population and Health Research CenterNairobiKenya

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