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Model household members Roselida and Evans Odongo pose with their children Mercy and Alice.

Not Just a Woman’s Issue

After decades of using contraception in secret, a husband and wife are speaking out—calling for men to support reproductive rights.

In the late 1980s, Rosalida had two pregnancies, one right after the other. “Like twins,” she says. The lack of spacing took an immediate toll.

Her husband, Evans, worked on a nearby island, leaving Rosalida alone with the children in their grass-thatched house. A baby in each arm, Rosalida couldn’t go to the market. She couldn’t work. She could barely leave the house.

“We had a big problem,” recalls Evans.

Fearing another pregnancy would plunge the family deeper into poverty, the couple sought information about family planning. Unfortunately, the truth was hard to find.

Neighbors and members of Evans’s large traditional family threatened Rosalida—if you use family planning, you’ll face consequences.

Your future children will be disabled. 

Your husband will take another wife, who will give him the children you won’t. 

To Evans, over late-night bottles of beer, neighbors ranted—Why don’t you behave like a man? Maybe it’s the wife that’s controlling you now.

Your wife will become a prostitute. Without a lot of children to take care of, she’ll have nothing to do during the day but sleep with men.

These kinds of beliefs restrict millions of women from deciding when and whether to have children. Thankfully, Rosalida broke free from the myths. With her husband’s support, she found a doctor who could give her facts—and the contraceptive pills she wanted.

“We made the decision together,” says Rosalida. And for decades, the couple spaced their pregnancies in secret. Now, they’re telling everyone.

A Model Family Speaks Out

Rosalida and Evans are actively involved in a Pathfinder project that’s revolutionizing the ways they live, work, and transform their community.

Trained by Pathfinder, Rosalida counsels neighbors about their reproductive rights. Evans speaks to groups of local fishermen, breaking down misconceptions and urging their support for women and girls. Both share their personal story.

“We are a model household.” Evans says, “People copy us. They see we started very low, but we’re really coming up. We take our children to school. We pay school fees. We work together as a family.” He calls this “the Pathfinder way.”

“Less children means I am free to work,” says Rosalida. Rosalida farms, sells fish at the market, and shares knowledge that can save the lives of women and children. She’s become an influential leader in her church and local government.

This is the better future she wants for the next generations of Kenyans, starting with her own daughters.

“Pathfinder went to the school to teach the children,” says Rosalida. The couple’s youngest children, Alice and Mercy, were there. “They learned the benefits of family planning,” says Rosalida. “They became free.”

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