Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. J. Kevin Corder

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Hoffmann

Third Advisor

Dr. Sisay Asefa


Senegal's population growth rate of 2.7% is greater than double that of the world average of 1.16%. The Government of Senegal acknowledges the population problem and has made efforts to address this issue. For over the past two decades the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has served as the predominant donor in Senegal's health sector and has been a strong supporter of Senegal's family planning program. The evolution of family planning in Senegal cannot be understood without considering the roles of culture, religion, decentralization and funding in the institutionalization process. This research addresses important questions concerning factors that contribute to the institutionalization of family planning policies and programs in Senegal and it also examines how Senegal has progressed in the institutionalization of its family planning policies and programs from 1980-2005.

This project draws its analytical framework on theoretical approaches within historical institutionalism including path dependency, layering, conversion and policy drift. This research uses several methodological tools to address the research questions. Historical analysis of policy, program and evaluation documents, statistical reports, family planning studies, family planning related variables for the period 1980-2005, in addition to the use of interview, questionnaire and other data collected during field research in Senegal, are employed. Three categories of independent variables are used to measure the institutionalization of family planning including culture/religion, decentralization, and donor support. In order to determine degrees of institutionalization of family planning in Senegal, three categories of measurement are used including legitimacy, knowledge and capacity-building.

Results of this study reveal that social norms block the institutionalization of family planning in Senegal, the negative effects of decentralization were not observed, and it also confirms that high reliance upon donor aid leads to lower levels of institutionalization of family planning. Finally, the results also indicate that progress since 1997 has waned and the Government of Senegal in conjunction with USAID needs to continue to develop innovative family planning strategies that accommodate cultural and social norms.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access