Home to more than 84 million people, the majority of people in Ethiopia live in rural areas and have limited access to reproductive healthcare. For women in Ethiopia, a number of factors can serve as barriers to accessing family planning services, including illiteracy, early child bearing, gender-based disparities, and religious and traditional influences.
Despite these challenges, Ethiopia continues to make significant strides toward increasing access to family planning services and advancing maternal and child health. For 25 years, EngenderHealth has worked to bring about this progress by empowering millions of Ethiopian women to stay healthy and decide if, when, and how many children to have—a decision that can determine the course of their lives. Our projects span a wide range of reproductive healthcare services, from expanding contraceptive choice, to ensuring the delivery of high-quality maternal health care, to reducing unsafe abortions. In addition to preventing unwanted pregnancy, EngenderHealth also works to ensure that Ethiopian mothers have the best chance at surviving pregnancy. In partnership with the government of Ethiopia, our current projects reach five out of the nine regional states of Ethiopia and two city administrations, covering a total of 175 Woredas (districts).
Our work in Ethiopia is creating lasting impact. Since 1987 when we first introduced long-acting and permanent methods (LA/PMs) of contraception in Ethiopia, use of these methods has increased seven-fold at the health facilities we support. As a result, more than 3.5 million more Ethiopian women and men have felt the life-changing benefits of family planning and reproductive health services. In the past five years alone, the contraceptive prevalence rate in Ethiopia has doubled (from 15% in 2006 to 29% in 2011). Through our quarter-century commitment, we continue to empower Ethiopian women to preserve their health and plan their futures—generating power that yields broad benefits and positive change for their families and their communities.