US sends Malawi $10.4 million for teen girl ‘family planning’
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is sending more than $10 million in taxpayer dollars to Malawi for female "empowerment" and "education" – but the campaign consists largely of promoting birth control, counseling, and "family planning" to teenage and pre-teen girls.
According to CNS News' Lauretta Brown, USAID's "Girls’ Empowerment through Education and Health Activity” initiative will provide $10.4 million for "sexual reproductive health and family planning education" for Malawi girls aged 10 to 19. The money, according to Brown, is part of an effort “to enable 120 million more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020.”
However, access to birth control and other "family planning" methods does not appear to be a challenge for women in Africa as a whole, despite claims by U.S. officials and birth control advocates. The pro-abortion and pro-birth control Guttmacher Institute has found that only eight percent of African women don't use birth control because of access problems. Instead, most have concerns about the side-effects of contraceptives or oppose their use for religious reasons.
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The CIA Factbook says that Malawi ranks 10th worldwide for the number of people living with HIV/AIDS, and ninth in regards to the number of deaths from HIV/AIDS.
Greater use of birth control in Malawi has done little to diminish HIV/AIDS prevalence in the nation. In its 2010 Demographic and Health Survey, Malawi reported in October 2011 that "use of family planning has increased since the last MDHS in 2004, when just 28 percent of currently married women were using a modern method of family planning. Currently 42 percent of currently married women are using a modern method of family planning."
However, the report notes that "HIV prevalence" saw little decline, from 11.8 percent of the population in 2004 to 10.6 percent in 2010. Specifically, the report says that "though the 2010 MDHS found a slightly lower overall HIV prevalence, the decrease is not statistically significant and does not signify true changes in the population."
The study tested 7,000 women and more than 6,800 men from ages 15 to 49 and 15 to 54, respectively.
In 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Malawi, where she praised the nation for its improvements in HIV/AIDS prevalence. The CIA Factbook says almost 11 percent of the nation's population had HIV/AIDS in 2012, which places it at ninth in the world for highest rates of infection. However, at the time of Clinton's visit the rate had fallen from 13 percent in five years.
In 2012, Malawi received $177 million in total food, birth control, economic, democracy, and other aid from the United States.