Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 1

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

SAQ 1.1 (tests Learning Outcome 1.2)

Identify at least two possible reasons why a woman experiences high fertility in her lifetime.


Possible reasons why a woman experiences high fertility are as follows:

  1. Early marriage and pregnancy. If a woman gets married as a teenager she will experience a longer period of productivity and tend to have more children in her lifetime.

  2. Limited use of contraceptive methods. If a woman fails to use birth control methods, either to limit or to space her child bearing, she will continue to give birth throughout her lifetime.

SAQ 1.2 (tests Learning Outcomes 1.1 and 1.3)

Discuss the difference between population size and population growth rate.


Population size is a measurement of the number of people in an existing population at any point in time. The population growth rate is defined as what is happening to the population in terms of whether it is growing, shrinking, or remaining constant.

SAQ 1.3 (tests Learning Outcomes 1.2, 1.3 and 1.5)

Explain how rapid population growth occurs and briefly state how to overcome this problem.


If a country experiences a high birth rate with a disproportionally low death rate, then rapid population growth can occur. In order to overcome such a problem, a country needs to have effective family planning programmes.

SAQ 1.4 (tests Learning Outcome 1.4)

Which of the following statements is false? In each case, explain why it is incorrect.

A  Rapid deforestation and soil degradation are mostly due to natural disasters.

B  Traditional uses of land and fuel, in order to provide for an increasing number of people, have depleted soil and forests and contributed to low agricultural production.

C  As population density increases, more grazing and agricultural lands will be available for the rural population.

D  84% of the Ethiopian population lives in rural areas and is dependent on agriculture. Unless population growth is controlled, pressure on natural resources will increase in Ethiopia.

E  Rapid population growth, low agricultural production, and destruction of the environment are common to most of the sub-Saharan African countries, but not in Ethiopia.


A  is false because rapid deforestation and soil degradation are often due to human actions, e.g. as a result of overgrazing and cutting down trees.

B  is true. Depletion of soil and forests contribute to low agricultural production.

C  is false because in densely populated areas the population is forced to live in overcrowded areas with small pieces of land to cultivate.

D  is true. Unless population growth in Ethiopia is controlled, pressure on natural resources will increase.

E is false because rapid population growth, low agricultural production and destruction of the environment are common to most of the sub-Saharan African countries, including Ethiopia.

SAQ 1.5 (tests Learning Outcomes 1.1 and 1.5)

Define family planning.


Family planning is the decision-making process by couples together or individually, on the number of children that they would like to have in their lifetime and the age interval between children.

SAQ 1.6 (tests Learning Outcome 1.5)

How can family planning help mothers? List at least three ways and discuss each of them.


Family planning helps mothers in different ways. Three of them are as follows:

  1. Avoiding too early and too late pregnancies: Family planning helps mothers avoid pregnancy when they are vulnerable because of their youth or old age, e.g. from pregnancy-related hypertension in younger mothers and uterine rupture in older multiparous mothers.

  2. Limiting the number of pregnancies: Any pregnancy or birth equal to, or greater than five, can carry greater risk for the mother. Therefore, once the desired number of children has been achieved, a woman can avoid further pregnancy by using family planning methods.

  3. Preventing abortion: Most abortions result from unwanted pregnancies, and significant numbers of maternal deaths can be attributed to unsafe abortions induced by untrained practitioners. Using family planning methods can avoid unwanted pregnancy and prevent abortion.

SAQ 1.7 (tests Learning Outcome 1.6)

Discuss why a population policy was launched in Ethiopia in 1993, and explain the role of the National Population Office.


A population policy was issued in Ethiopia in 1993 to expand the family planning programme. Concurrently, the National Population Office was established to implement and oversee the strategies and actions related to the population policy of 1993.

Summary of Study Session 1