Reaching Girls with Sexual and Reproductive Health Services
Through Schools in Ethiopia

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Erin Samueli

Erin Samueli is an educator, having completed her bachelor’s degree in earth science education from Boston University in December 2016. She will pursue a Master’s degree in Education in 2018, but is using this gap year to launch into her philanthropy with Maverick Collective and her family’s foundation. During college, she served as a student teacher for a semester in a high school in London. This solidified her passion for working in the classroom, and she intends to start her career as a middle school earth science teacher. An Orange County native, she will begin her California teaching career in the near future.

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The Issue

Teens in Ethiopia face many reproductive health challenges, including early pregnancy and a lack of information about or services for contraception. Unplanned pregnancy causes girls to drop out of school because they lack the information and support to prevent pregnancy.

The social pressure to marry early and begin childbearing, combined with pervasive misinformation that contraception causes infertility, means that too often girls have to abandon their dreams and enter motherhood before they are ready. Girls’ education is widely recognized as a key pathway to employment, better health, and agency. The government of Ethiopia understands the important role education plays in an adolescent's life and has sought a partner to pilot innovative approaches to integrate comprehensive sexual education into school-based curricula, as access to contraception is one of the best tools available to keep girls in school.

Pilot And Learn

Drawing on insights from Adolescents360 (A360) we will design and pilot a program that brings high-quality and girl-centered reproductive health information and services to girls in schools.

In partnership with the Government of Ethiopia and a group of young designers who co-designed our sister project working with married adolescents in Ethiopia, we will prototype and test innovative ideas to reduce unintended pregnancy among girls, using schools as an entry-point. PSI Ethiopia tested early prototypes of school programs and found that both girls and boys feel that school is a safe, private and confidential place to receive sexual and reproductive health information and services.

Leverage And Scale

With more than two million students enrolled in secondary school in Ethiopia, if proven effective, this project has the potential to transform the Ethiopian government’s school health program.

We have the opportunity to empower boys and girls to reach their fullest potential with access to reproductive health information, products, and services.