Family Life in all its entirety and this is what Family Life Education must seek to impart alongside the development of action programs as opportunities. We can say that family life education is a part of the population education program. It is concerned with family size, family enrichment, child care, nutrition, food, clothing, shelter, safe drinking water, education, employment and all relevant welfare opportunities in rural as well as urban areas.
The goals of family education are not easy to reach. It is only when there is a cause-and-effect connection made in the minds of people between their pattern of life, family formation and family size and their living conditions and opportunities will there be any effort to adopt practices such as family planning for their own welfare and improvement.
When over a sustained period, there are factors like education for everyone, good health services, improved status of women, opportunities for employment and economic activities, social security and more equitable distribution of wealth, people would begin to appreciate the advantages of setting up definite patterns in their life styles. It is, therefore, essential that education for this purpose, at all levels of the community, must go hand in hand with efforts to improve social and economic conditions if it is to have positive and beneficial results.
Family Life Education and Family Welfare
Development programmes are commonly projected towards improving the quality of life for people and their families; in other word, it aims at improving the welfare and well-being of the people. These concepts imply economic, social or psychological and national factors related to all of life’s needs: food, clothing, shelter, health and-general human fulfillment, environmental quality and national development.
Family planning education is a part of Family Life Education. It is a term used to describe the means whereby couples are able voluntarily to determine the number and spacing of their children through prevention or postponement of conception. It involves a conscious decision between a man and a woman before having sexual intercourse whether or not they want to have a child.
They either decide to:
- have a baby: or
- if they do not want a baby right away, they use a family planning method to prevent the women from getting pregnant until they are ready for a child.
Effective family planning implies two things:
That the social, economic and health advantages and disadvantages of spacing and limiting the number of children are known to the couple.
That the means for spacing and limiting the number of children in the family are available
Family Welfare and Family Life Education
Family welfare and family planning are clearly two sides of the same coin. As indicated, this will stem from the fact that people are both producers of their own welfare and consumers of it. Thus, the characteristics of a family, composition and distribution affect and are affected by the level of well-being.
An individual’s demand for food depends on age, predominant activity, physical development and climate. Clearly, old people require less quantity of food than children and youths, Healthy working adults need considerable quantities of good food. Too much or too little food has adverse repercussions on whoever the individual is. Food, obviously, is a basic need concomitant with levels of nutrition and health.
When a family is dependent on a given parcel of land of produce their food requirements or is dependent on a fixed cash income to purchase foodstuffs, every additional member to the family unit constitutes another potentially negative element in the welfare matrix of that family.
Consequently, if a family is to adequately feed itself, they must either increase agricultural yields per existing unit area or expand their sources of income in order to cover the costs of purchasing more food. More often than not, of course, the amount of food produced per rural family member has dropped and inflation has wiped out the earning powers of the urban dweller.
Under-utilization of labour, increasing marginality of holding; increasing landlessness, rising indebtedness (given escalating price rises for essential inputs-fertilizer, seed, irrigation, chemicals, fuel), non-availability of convenient credit, insufficient capital for reinvestment and lack of infrastructural support have adversely contributed to food production.
When there has been a reduction of land holdings association with continued growth in family size, it has been found that farmers out of sheer necessity have to:
- Cut down trees in order to clear the land and plant more crops, thus reducing a source of firewood, building materials, homemade furniture and natural protection against wind, storm, erosion
- fill ponds for extending cultivation and thus destroying fish – a vital source of protein-and vegetation, so potentially useful for manure to the soil and food in times of shortages;
- reduce the number of fruit trees and gardens to plant yet more crops, thus losing the fresh vegetables and fruit and the essential vitamins they contain and increasing the dependence on a carbohydrate diet and a single cash crop, and
extend housing and other infrastructure to meet
- expanding needs, thus lacking space for raising livestock poultry, etc.
Immediate manifestations for a family of a lack of good food are shown in increased infant mortality and rising incidences of malnutrition. Diseases and nutritional status are of course inextricably intertwined with the failure of food production to keep up with population growth.
For the landless agricultural laborer, subsistence farmer or recent immigrant to urban slums, growth in family size nearly always results in the average daily calorie supply per person falling below the minimum required for normal activity. And the larger the family the greater the chances that its members will suffer from some degree of malnutrition.
Particularly susceptible are young children and pregnant mothers.
For an adult programmed into the permanent malaise of malnutrition, reduced activity and functional efficiency reduces employment opportunities and income. And if income falls nutritional levels fall with it.
Another prime cause of illness throughout the region is polluted drinking water. Again more than half the diseases affecting children and adults alike are water-related. Sanitation is an associated problem. The provision of food and a clean water supply so obviously essential for the well-being of any family, constitutes an enormous undertaking when population and family size increases rapidly.
Health conditions appear to be strongly linked to fertility and there is an obvious connection between the general health situation, high maternal mortality, high fertility and the need to practice family planning.