Pathways | Family Planning

Pathways | Family Planning

Building on the Pathways segmentation to improve modern contraceptive uptake and continued usage, and switching to a method of choice in Northern Nigeria.


The use of modern contraceptives remains very low in Northern Nigeria, and has one of the highest fertility rates in the world. We are applying the Pathways segmentation to develop strategies and solutions for improving modern contraceptive uptake and continued usage.


The project uses an interdisciplinary approach including design, cultural and behavioural research to understand drivers and barriers surrounding family planning behaviours in Northern Nigeria. Compared to other countries in Western Africa that have seen rising rates of modern contraceptive use, the modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) has been relatively stagnant in Nigeria, specifically in the North. It is interesting to note that 92% of women and 94% of men know about modern contraception, with women knowing an average of seven methods. However, increased knowledge has not translated into higher use, indicating significant barriers between knowledge and action.

Research tool used to conduct key informant interviews with women in Kano state.

Previous research has shown that a range of complex factors are driving low contraceptive use including high-fertility norms, pro-natal cultural and religious beliefs, misconceptions about contraceptive methods, and gender inequalities. Given the slow progress of family planning practices in the region, additional research is needed to understand the complexity surrounding family planning behaviours in Northern Nigeria.

This project will build on the Pathways segmentation and apply an interdisciplinary approach to understand the barriers and drivers of modern contraceptive uptake, continued usage and switching between methods across the segments. In the co-design phase, we will develop targeted family planning solutions for these segments that are based on women's, values, desires, needs and choices at different stages of the reproductive life course.

Interviews with women in Kano state


Sonder has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct interdisciplinary research and generate evidence on strategies for improving uptake and continued usage of modern contraceptive methods. The goal is to develop solutions and strategies to increase demand for, and sustained use of, modern methods that are based on women's values, desires, needs and choices at different stages of the life course.

Research quote

According to her whatever you swallowed is what you give birth to, is just that she's doesn't have interest in using modern method

Woman from UM4 segment in Kano, Northern Nigeria talking about her friend’s advice against using modern methods

Project website


Global health

Family planning

Our services

  • Design research

  • Strategy

  • Workshop facilitation

  • Co-creation

Partner organisations

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Keep Your Shoes Dirty
Final Mile


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