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ASURE project (Access, Service and Utilisation of Reproductive Health)

Healthier futures for women and girls in Ethiopia

ASURE (Access, Service and Utilisation of Reproductive Health) aims to provide better reproductive health services and information and access to family planning. Our goal is to reduce child and maternal mortality and combat diseases.

Specific objectives

  • To increase access to comprehensive reproductive health services in project sites in southern Ethiopia by 30%, focusing on the most vulnerable women.
  • To increase awareness among health service providers, teachers, parents and the community about the reproductive health needs of young people
  • To work with local authorities to provide quality and friendly services.

Key Information

Location

Gamogofa, Wolayta and Segen Area People’s Zones of SNNPR

Timescale

December 2014 to December 2019

Partners

Women Support Association and Ethiopian Inter-Faith Forum for Development and Action

Programme Value

€999,498

Target population

310,500 women of reproductive age

859,000 youth and adolescents

388 health workers

Funded by

European Union Logo

European Union

Women's self-help group in Ethiopia

Women's self-help group in Ethiopia

Our approach

We are working with local partners, faith leaders, health authorities and self-help groups to deliver quality sexual and reproductive health services.

To ensure that our activities are embedded in local communties, we work through existing structures, including self-help groups, youth groups, schools and faith organisations.

Our work is delivered through a consortium, made up of: 

  • Amref Health Africa – Italy,
  • Amref Health Africa – Ethiopia,
  • Christian Aid,
  • Women Support Association (WSA)
  • and Ethiopian Interfaith Forum for Development, Dialogue and Action (EIFDDA).

The consortium works in close partnership with regional government structures, including the health bureau, bureau of finance and economic development, and women’s and children affairs.

 


Programme impact

We have seen a significant increase in self-help group members accessing family planning and other healthcare facilities, now more than 50% of members are using family planning services. 

All figures are taken from the project's mid-term evaluation conducted in 2017

Tackling gender inequality

Self-help groups provide a supportive environment to discuss and challenge gender and social norms that prevent women accessing reproductive health services. Women now feel supported to participate in public life as well as seek out these services.

Senait and her daughter, part of the ASURE project in Ethiopia

Family planning has made me healthier. For other women, the solution is right in their hands, if they only knew.

Senait

Programme participant

Business loans

These groups have also set up saving and loans schemes, which women can access to start small businesses. This has led to further economic and social empowerment for the women and their families.

Through family dialogue sessions delivered by our partners, which include men and women, men are encouraged to play a pivotal role in supporting women to access reproductive healthcare and use services themselves, such as testing for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.  

So far, 782 family dialogues have been conducted with a total of 15,495 participants, including 3,458 men.

Gender-based violence

317 community action group members, including 114 women, have been trained to tackle gender-based violence in their communities.

These groups are working with local government representatives and Health Extension Workers to organise community campaigns and public gatherings to challenge gender-based violence, increase women’s engagement in development and reinforce the importance of and access to reproductive health services.

So far, these groups have reached nearly 2,000 community members including 640 women. 

The groups also link victims of violence to legal and medical services. So far, more than 15 cases of gender-based violence have been supported.

Engaging with faith leaders

Through our partner EIFDDA we are reaching out to faith leaders to enlist their support to reduce negative perceptions of family planning and to empower communities and their congregations to make healthy choices relating to family planning and reproductive health. 

410 religious leaders, including Muslims and Christians, have been trained, including 30 senior religious leaders at a national level.

Reducing teenage pregnancy

Unintended pregnancy is a serious problem among teenagers, especially given the health risks experienced during pregnancy and delivery. We are promoting peer-to-peer learning in 30 clubs in and out of school. Through drama, music, public events and campaigns they share sexual and reproductive health information. We have trained 144 club leaders to strengthen these activities.

We organise debates for young people to share their experiences and knowledge on reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. To date, nearly 2,000 students have participated, including more than 1,000 young women.