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14 May 2009 - 12 Mar 2012
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Promoting sexual and reproductive health in Ethiopia
We are working in partnership with Ethiopian health workers, community leaders, NGOs and the national broadcaster, Radio Ethiopia, to improve the sexual and reproductive health of young people.

Start date: April 2006
End date: December 2009
Media Types: radio
Issue: health
Country: Ethiopia
In partnership with Radio Ethiopia, we are producing public service announcements and an interactive radio discussion programme to increase young peoples' knowledge of sexual and reproductive health issues, and to provide a space for frank, informed discussions.
The programme is broadcast by Radio Ethiopia in two Ethiopian languages - Amharic and Afan Oromo.
Abugida - radio discussion
I was overjoyed when my mother declared that she had decided not to have my sisters circumcised after all. And she asked me to record Abugida for her every week.
Sefa Jemal, age 17
Since October 2006, twice-weekly radio discussion programme, Abugida, has been providing young Ethiopians with the opportunity to voice their opinions, pose questions, discuss solutions and establish a dialogue with other young people on a range of sexual health issues.
Listeners clubs
Seventy-three 'Listeners clubs', where 10-15 young people gather to listen to the Abugida and discuss the issues with a facilitator, have been set up in collaboration with local NGOs across Ethiopia.
"I was overjoyed when my mother declared that she had decided not to have my sisters circumcised after all. And she asked me to record Abugida for her every week."
Sefa Jemal, age 17
These groups are very active. Members frequently use their own money and time to introduce new listeners to the programme, organising events such as coffee ceremonies and quizzes to promote sexual health and travel to rural areas with tapes of the programme to ensure the most marginalised can listen.
We are now exploring ways that we can train listener groups formally in outreach, and provide them with more resources.
Public service announcements
Forty-six public service announcements (PSAs) and 'mini dramas' about a range of sexual and reproductive health issues have been produced and broadcast in the Amharic and Afan Oromo languages.
Research and impact
Sixteen focus groups were held with 15-24 year olds to provide the production team with feedback on pilot PSAs.
Different formats and approaches, including personal testimonies, drama, music and humour were tested on young people from both urban and rural areas of Ethiopia.
The research played a central role in helping the production team to refine ideas, and clarifying messages.
During 2006-2007, we trained local researchers to carry out 2,400 face-to-face interviews and 44 focus groups with 15-24 year olds across Ethiopia. More
Broadcasting in schools
We are building partnerships with Ethiopian schools to broadcast short, 15 minute versions of our programmes during break times. Many schools in Ethiopia have their own broadcasting systems, known as 'mini-media'. A pilot project is underway with ten schools. We plan to increase these partnerships and instigate them across the country.
Working in partnership
Radio Ethiopia, the state broadcaster, is a key partner in the initiative.
Every six months, four Radio Ethiopia producers are seconded to work on our programmes, where they can develop their skills to a high standard and make their own contributions to the mix.
We are also providing extensive media training to Radio Ethiopia staff - both those producers working on our programmes and other staff at the station.
We have also trained 90 Ethiopian journalists and 60 non-governmental organisation (NGO) staff about how to communicate sexual and reproductive health issues to young people. More
Advisory panel
An advisory panel was established to review the sexual and reproductive health messages contained in the programming and to ensure their relevance to the target audience.
Members of the panel include Ethiopia's:
  • Ministry of Youth and Sports
  • Ministry of Health
  • Oromiya Health Bureau
  • HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office
  • Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association
  • Kembatta Women Development
  • Family Guidance Association Ethiopia
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Related links
Research and impact: promoting sexual health
Voices: changing attitudes to sexual health
Building media skills in Ethiopia
Our work in Ethiopia
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