Living in this economy as a young person in Ethiopia has not been easy for Kidist Adenegn, a 26-year-old professional woman who still lives with her parents. Even though the bulk of the world considers her to be an adult, her intimate counter-society treats her like a child.
She recalls having to rely on the internet for information on how to avoid pregnancy and the various types of contraception.
“My parents never talked to me about it, and my school barely provided sexual education, so I never bothered to go to decent facilities, possibly because I was embarrassed. But as I grew older, I realized that I needed to plan for these things and educate myself thoroughly,” Kidist said.
Sexual education and family planning are critical in underdeveloped nations like Ethiopia, but the concept and discussion of such topics are taboo. Young people who experiment with sexuality are left to their own devices.
Instead of facts and data, many people have their own biases.
Kidist describes how the majority of her peers used the emergency pill as a means of birth control during their college experience. She explained how most of them were unaware of the effects or the options available to them, while pharmacists would rather judge and scold those young women than teach them.
Ethiopians have greatly expanded their use of contemporary family planning methods over the last decade, despite restricted access to reproductive health and family planning services, misconceptions, harmful traditional practices, and poor literacy levels in rural areas.
By lowering unplanned and teenage births, expanding access to higher-quality healthcare, and eventually aiding families in leading healthier and more prosperous lives, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) sponsored by USAID work to enhance the health of mothers, babies, children, adolescents, and youth.
However, even among people with formal education, their objectives are not always seen favorably.
Family planning grants some independence to women who live in rural areas, yet many women in the nation crave family planning’s benefits while harboring prejudices against it.
“My family’s breadwinner is me. I’ve had two contraceptives fail on me, yet I still use them because I don’t want children. My husband did not believe the third child was his due to a misunderstanding,” Wube Melese said, explaining how a failed contraceptive and misinformation caused her husband to feel she was unfaithful.
According to the country’s demographic and health census, the usage of contemporary family planning has increased significantly in Ethiopia, rising from roughly eight percent of married women in 2000 to 36 percent in 2016. NGO outreach programs have done more than their fair bit to raise awareness in rural areas of the country, yet misinformation and unmet needs remain.
During the same time period, the fertility rate fell from around six births per woman to around four, indicating that more and more women began to use family planning methods.
With a growing human population, family planning has become increasingly important. Human population expansion, without a doubt, is a major contributor to global warming given that people rely on fossil fuels to power their increasingly mechanized lifestyles.
Increased demand for oil, gas, coal, and other fuels extracted or drilled from beneath the Earth’s surface emits enough carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere to trap heat. Growing populations in nations such as Ethiopia represent a significant danger to resources since they are more impacted by global warming than developed countries.
Limiting the number of children that spouses have may appear to be ideal, but Ethiopian society believes that children are a blessing and that as many as possible should be welcomed into the world.
“My culture has shunned me because I do not wish to have children. I have my reasons for not doing it, but our society feels that in order for me to be happy, I must have children,” said Elshaday Hamere, adding her colleagues are already on their second or third child, while she is embarrassed to have none.
Over 8.3 million women in Ethiopia are presently utilizing a modern form of contraception, according to data from Family Planning 2030, and it is anticipated that 3,240,000 unplanned pregnancies, 806,000 unsafe abortions, and 10,000 maternal deaths will be avoided.