Previous PageTable of ContentsNext Page

Example of Population Education Content Outline
Adapted from FAO Curriculum Materials

Issue Statement:

Overpopulation is a prime factor in many countries with slow economic development. The rate of agricultural production cannot keep up with the population growth rate. The result is food shortages, lack of employment opportunities, and strains on natural resources (land and water) and the infra-structure (roads, transportation, electricity, etc.). There is a need for better population education, especially in the rural areas, aimed at lowering the size of families.

Population Education:

A process which enables people to recognize and understand the implications of population factors for the well being of the individual, the family, and society.

Target Audience:

Rural out-of-school youth.

Characteristics: (in Africa) about 10% of rural youth attend secondary school. Others drop out to help with agricultural or related activities. Many are not employed. Many migrate to urban centers. These youth can be reached best in groups (e.g., rural youth cooperatives, young farmers, 4-H/4-S/4-B organizations, church, scouting, political groups, etc.)

Primary Needs:

(Knowledge acquisition)

Information on how to personally affect family size before having children.

Information on how personal decisions affect population growth.

Information and understanding how population growth affects quality of life and standards of living: land use, water supply, natural resource use, employment and income, health, nutrition, and community involvement.

(Life skills/skill development )

Develop skills in income generation.

Develop decision making skills regarding careers, personal health, nutrition, and responsible parenthood.

(Attitudes/changing behavior)

Changes in attitudes and behaviour regarding personal decisions about family size. Decisions, based on information, that is personally meaningful and socially relevant.

"The goal of population education is to give people enough information to be able to make responsible decisions about family size in a way that is personally meaningful and socially relevant.

Population Education Curriculum Development Intended Outcome Statement:

Through completion of the population eduction curriculum, rural out-of-school youth will be able to identify factors affecting overpopulation and apply this knowledge to determine their own family size. determine their own family size.

The following pages include a summary and sample of population education content, intended outcomes, and the major concepts included in the knowledge or skills needed to attain the intended outcomes.

(KASAB = Knowledge, Attitudes Skills, Aspirations,and Behaviors).

Adapted from the FAO Population Education Leader Guides (1990).


KASAB = Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills, Aspirations, & Behavior

Population and Agriculture

≅ Improve their knowledge of relationships between population and production of food and other agricultural products.

≅ Describe the relationship between population growth and demand for agricultural products.

≅ Describe the effects of population variations on the availability and distribution of the resources needed for agricultural production: land, water, technology, money.

▲ As population varies, the need for food and agricultural products also varies.

▲ If the quantity of productive agricultural land is limited, increased population can lead to over-use and exhaustion of the soil.

▲ Uncontrolled population increases may actually result in a decrease in agricultural production per person.

▲ Population growth creates and increases a need for the development of jobs in the rural areas (non-agricultural as well as agricultural) to reduce rural-to-urban migration.

▲ Reduced land availability per person will require improved fanning methods if demands are to be met

Population, Employment and Income

≅ Describe the relationship between population, employment, income, and quality of life;

≅ Identify factors which influence rural-to-urban migration including the lack of employment opportunities in rural areas.

≅ Increase their understanding of how development and proper utilization of resources may increase future employment opportunities.

≅ Identify employment opportunities for youth.

▲ When the amount of agricultural land is limited, the number of people needed to work the land is also limited. Rapid increases in population can result in an over-supply of labor.

▲ Income from agricultural land can be increased by increasing the amount of land being farmed or by improving the way the land is used. When the amount of land is limited, only the second method is possible.

▲ In rural areas where the amount of productive land is limited, small families usually have a better standard of living than large families.

▲ The lack of employment opportunities in rural areas, especially for young people, is leading to increases in rural-to-urban migration.

▲ Youth need to be aware of employment opportunities in rural area, both farm and non-farm.

Population and the Environment

≅ Understand the concept of environment.

≅ Understand the need for rational use of natural resources.

≅ Understand the effects of rapid population growth on natural resources.

≅ Understand how they can help with the management and conservation of resources.

▲ The environment is the combination of external conditions - physical, social, cultural - that surrounds us.

▲ The basic natural resources are air, water, agriculturally productive land, forests, human power and energy.

▲ When all of the natural resources are being used within their limits and protected to ensure that present and future needs are met, this is called a balance of nature.

▲ Rapid population growth can disturb the balance of nature and have negative effects on natural resources and their capacity for sustained agricultural production.

▲ Everyone should help to protect the environment

Population and Nutrition

Recognize (be able to state) :
≅ The need for proper nutrition and the nutrients provided by the five main food groups.

≅ The causes, effects and control measures for four common nutrition-related conditions and diseases.

≅ At least one important way in which rapid population growth affects nutrition.

≅ The importance of proper preservation and preparation of food stuffs in achieving good nutrition.

≅ The importance of breast feeding for the health of the child and the mother.



▲ Nutrition is the process by which we obtain the substances our bodies need to grow and keep functioning properly.

▲ Different types of food supply different nutrients.

▲ People need to eat a balanced diet that provides all the nutritional elements, to eat enough food to avoid hunger, and to eat a variety of foods to satisfy taste. 

▲ Poor nutrition can lead to conditions or diseases which make it impossible for the body to function properly.

▲ Proper breast-feeding, weaning and feeding practices are very important in ensuring the proper nutrition of babies.

▲ Family size affects both food quality and quantity. People in large families with limited resources are more likely to suffer from poor nutrition.

Population and Health

≅ Understand the concept of good health and be able to state at least five important points for maintaining good health. 

≅ Recognize the importance of good health for the individual, family, and community. 

≅ Understand that they, themselves, are the most important people in maintaining their own health.

≅ Understand the effects of family size, and total community population, on the quality of health, health care, and sanitation facilities.


▲ Health is a valuable personal, family and community asset for which we are each responsible as individuals.

▲ In areas where the population is growing rapidly, health and sanitation facilities are often inadequate, and diseases and sickness are more common.

▲ To protect their health, young women should delay pregnancy until they are at least 20 years old, and then space their children.

▲ Misuse of alcohol and drugs is very dangerous to health for everyone, and especially for pregnant women.

▲ Sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) are a serious health problem and young men and women need to know how to avoid them.

Family and Family Size

≅ Understand what a family unit is and that there are different types of families

≅ Be able to identify and analyze social, economic and educational factors that influence decisions about family size.

≅ Understand that parents have choices and responsibilities regarding family size.

▲A family is made up of people related by blood, marriage or law (formal or social).

▲ There are different kinds of families including nuclear and extended families, which may be monogamous, polygamous or one-parent. 

▲ When young people can identify and analyze factors which influence family size, they will be able to make rational decision s about family size and the effect on standards of living.

▲ The possibility of adequately meeting children's needs - nutrition, education, recreation, affection- increases when parents make informed decisions about family size and child spacing.

▲ Each family member has roles and responsibilities. Together the parents are responsible for providing the needs of their children (physical, emotional, educational/learning, and social)

Responsible Parenthood

≅ Understand that responsible parenthood involves the choice of a partner, decisions on how many children to have and when to have them (based on family resources) and providing for the needs (physical and emotional) of the children throughout their development.

≅ Understand how irresponsible decisions can negatively affect the family's standard of living.

≅ Recognize factors which lead to or obstruct the achievement of responsible parenthood.



▲ The size of a family should be decided by both parents together, based on their available resources and the standard of living they wish to achieve.

▲ By waiting to get married and have children, young people can give themselves more time to pursue the things that can help to make them better partners and parents education, employment, personal maturity, self-confidence, etc.

▲ Even though young people may be physically able to become parents at a very early age, being a responsible parent means waiting until the health of the mother will not be endangered by pregnancy and until both parents are emotionally mature and able to deal with the needs of a family.

▲ Spacing the birth of children helps to protect the health of the mother and allows both parents more time to give each child the attention and affection he or she needs.

Human Growth and Development

≅ Describe the physical and emotional changes humans undergo as they grow up.

≅ Discuss the various beliefs and values of the society with regard to human reproductive process.

≅ Obtain factual information about the human reproductive process.

≅ Understand and describe the risks of teenage pregnancy.

▲ All living things reproduce.

▲ Pregnancy and childbirth are natural events in human life. It is important to understand the human reproductive process.

▲ Human development is a continuous process from infancy to adulthood.

▲ Physical maturation occurs before emotional maturity.

▲ Individual and cultural values influence sexual behaviour.

▲ Teenage pregnancy is dangerous for both mother and child.

▲ Ignorance is not bliss. There are many harmful consequences of ignorance about sex including too early pregnancy, too many children, STDs and AIDS.

How the Population Changes

≅ Define the concept of population and population growth.

≅ Analyze the factors influencing population changes at village or community level, i.e., births, deaths, and migrations.

≅ Be able to evaluate in a practical way, the real situation in their community.

▲ Population is the number of people in a community or specific group; e.g. World population, youth population, rural population, village population.

▲ Births, deaths, and migration are the factors which cause increases or decreases in the population.

▲ Populations may be evaluated or compared by considering how quickly they are increasing or decreasing or by how many people there are in a standard area (usually a square mile or square kilometer).

▲ Populations are usually measured by means of a general counting, called a census.

▲ Overpopulation means that there are too many people in a given area for the available resources.

Adapted from: Lindley, W.I., Dembner, S.A., Cook, J.F. (Rev.). (1990). Population Leader Guides. Rome, Italy:Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

* Putting the major content areas, intended outcome statements, and the major concepts into this format helps identify what logically comes next. One thing leads to another in a natural, logical way with concepts (KASAB) to be covered in the curriculum materials. The intended outcome statements should be adapted for your specific project.

Previous PageTop of PageNext Page