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The Buzz Outside the Clinics: Conversations and Contraception in Nyanza Province, Kenya

Naomi Rutenberg and Susan Cotts Watkins
Studies in Family Planning
Vol. 28, No. 4 (Dec., 1997), pp. 290-307
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/2137860
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137860
Page Count: 18
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The Buzz Outside the Clinics: Conversations and Contraception in Nyanza Province, Kenya
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Abstract

When women talk with each other about family planning outside the clinic, are they really only spreading myths and rumors? If nurses give good information about family planning, why do women go and talk with other women? Why would a woman instructed by a nurse at a workshop want to talk to the workshop cleaner as well? To answer these questions, findings are used from a household survey and in-depth interviews that examine the role of informal social interaction in influencing the use of contraceptives in rural Kenya. The women in the study area are found to be ambivalent about family planning, and they supplement providers' instructions with the experiences of women whose bodies and circumstances are similar to their own. Family planning programs could improve their effectiveness by viewing clients and providers not only as individuals but also as members of informal networks that are meaningful to them.

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