Countering ICPD25: Pro-life Alternatives to Nairobi Summit Agenda, Expert Opinions

Countering ICPD25: Participants listening to a talk in one of the Pro-life and Family Friendly Side Events on November 13, 2019

As the controversial International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) entered its second day in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, ACI Africa reached out to African Catholic professionals opposed to some of the agenda of the Summit, particularly issues that seem to promote the culture of death through abortions and planned parenthood through the use of contraceptives.

“The ICPD25 said that they were going to fight against three zeros - zero unmet needs for family planning, zero maternal mortality and a zero gender-based violence and those are noble causes,” Dr. Wahome Ngare, a gynecologist told ACI Africa Wednesday, November 13 on the sidelines of the Pro-Life and Pro-Family ICPD25 Side Events.

Referencing the three "noble causes," Dr. Ngare clarified, “We agree with them that those are things that we need to fight, especially where family planning also includes natural family planning and doesn't specifically mean contraceptives.”

However, the medical doctor who is the Vice Secretary of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association (KCDA) expressed concerns that while the ‘three zeros’ agenda of the Nairobi Summit seems noble, the means to attaining the goals is questionable as it has introduced “an ideology that is foreign to us and not in line with our constitution and our faith.”

He explained his concerns, “The commitments on how those (three zeros agenda) were to be attained ended up just being a campaign for sexual and reproductive health and rights, which are completely contrary to what we believe to be true.”


In order to counter the pro-choice intentions of ICPD25, Dr. Ngare said that the ongoing parallel conference is developing pro-life and pro-family commitments that can achieve the three zeros agenda “without offending our faith or our culture.”

To counter the contraceptives agenda being promoted in the summit under the guise of reproductive health rights, women can achieve the same through the use of natural family planning methods, which have no side effects unlike artificial family planning methods, Dr. Ngare told ACI Africa.

“We recognize natural family planning and it is every girl's right to know what we call the ovulatory cycle; women can be taught how to know when they are fertile,” the Kenyan Catholic gynecologist said and added in reference to women, “It is something with very little training, they are capable of identifying.”

While recognizing extramarital sexual relations as a “big driver to abortion”, Dr. Ngare said the pro-life and pro-family group is emphasizing the practice of chastity and abstinence, a perspective which the Campaigns Director for CitizenGo in Africa, Ann Kioko, supports.

“We need to try to teach chastity, to try to teach abstinence and our girls to take care of themselves, because if you are sexualizing them, then what happens? You have pregnancies, but if you do not sexualize, then the probability of having teenage pregnancies is very low,” Ms. Kioko told ACI Africa Wednesday, November 13.

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On zero mortality rates, Dr. Ngare proposes a focus on ways of reducing abortion incidences by “teaching our children the dangers of abortion and then encourage them to avoid it so that the few who end up in crisis pregnancy then we support them through crisis pregnancy centers and offer to support them through the pregnancy and the delivery, and we've seen that majority of them, the families come back and receive them.”

In order to end gender-based violence, Dr. Ngare proposes a shift towards a human dignity-based curriculum (HDC), which he describes as “a beautiful program.”

Ms. Kioko agrees with HDC perspective and proposes a shift from the controversial Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to a life skills curriculum, which she noted has received the goodwill of Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Education.

“We are working with the Catholic Bishops who are coming up with guidelines on marriage and this once done will try to tackle the issue on gender violence and to see that marriages are stable,” Ms. Kioko disclosed to ACI Africa.

According to the President of Voice of the Family in Africa (VOFA), Raymond Mutura, since 2014, he together with a team of pro-life members have been working on a draft national family policy, which is now ready and awaiting approval from the relevant authorities.


“The document has ten thematic areas and is looking at all these ideas (three zeros agenda) from a family pro-life perspective,” VOFA President told ACI Africa Wednesday.

He added, “The thematic area on marriage is to strengthen marriage, on parenting is to strengthen parenting, on religion and culture is to look at harmful cultures that we have and uphold the good ones and leave the bad ones.”

“To me this is already an answer on what we need to do,” Mr. Mutura concluded.