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Widening our Reach: FEM in 2023

Updated: Jun 28

As we reflect on 2023, we are filled with gratitude for your support.

Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. Seventy percent of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2020, Family Empowerment Media was founded to meet one of the most cost-effective, neglected opportunities in global health. We enable informed family planning through clear, engaging, and accurate radio campaigns. Radio airwaves can carry life-saving information to people who might not otherwise hear it, and our campaigns are regionally tailored to meet our listeners’ real-life concerns.

In 2021, we launched in northern Nigeria. Working with the Kano State Ministry of Health, we ran our first pilot. An external evaluator found that this pilot correlated with a 75% uptake in contraception. In 2022, we ran a nine-month campaign and expanded to new states. (Learn more in this look-back post.)

In 2023, we reached ~27 million women and men with life-saving health information. Our models suggest we empowered ~38,000 people to achieve their reproductive intentions. Here is a summary of the impact that our models suggest we made in 2023:   

We also accomplished the following:

  • We developed our capacity to implement across larger regions by conducting 1-2 week test campaigns in seven new states, establishing our ability to work widely across three campaign regions in Nigeria.

  • We learned more about the people we seek to serve in thirteen states, speaking to nearly 1,500 women and men about their barriers and drivers to birth spacing. The most commonly reported barriers related to side effects, such as the fear that contraception can cause infertility or cancer. The most common motivation was caring well for children. Many women also named a desire to lower their stress and workload.

  • We received an encouraging cost-effectiveness evaluation from Rethink Priorities, whose research project on our work suggests we may be as much as 60 times as cost-effective in northern Nigeria as unrestricted cash transfers.

  • And we took concrete steps toward international expansion, researching new campaign locations and topics and closing the year with a request for applications from NGOs wishing to co-implement with us in five sub-Saharan countries.

In 2024, our core priority is to launch a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the impact of our intervention in Nigeria. We also aim to implement two expansion pilots in new countries. This will prepare us to scale should the RCT demonstrate that our impact is as strong as current evidence suggests.  

To learn more about our impact in 2023 and plans for the years ahead, we invite you to read our Annual Report.

These achievements would not have been possible without the support of those who volunteered time, donated resources, or simply spread the word about our mission. These contributions helped create a future in which no woman has to die from complications related to unwanted pregnancies.

Thank you.

Some members of the FEM team with our local implementing partners in Abuja, Nigeria.

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