Youth as Change Catalysts: The Journey in Redefining Reproductive Health in Egypt

December 15th, 2023 | story


As part of the “Ma’ana Fe Al-Dawar” initiative, youth put on a play showing the benefits of family planning in Aswan Governorate. Photo Mostafa Mamdouh and Gihan Ismail, SEFPP/JSI.

On a sunny afternoon at an outdoor community center in Egypt’s southern governorate Aswan, a youth group puts on a play about family planning and reproductive health — topics that are rarely discussed. Gaps in information on and access to family planning services have likely increased population growth, contributed to climate change, and strained health resources.

At the heart of these challenges, JSI’s Strengthening Egypt’s Family Planning Program (SEFPP) emerged as a beacon of change. The project partners with the Egyptian government through the Ministry of Health and Population/Family Planning Sector and National Population Council to decelerate the country’s rapid population growth by reducing the unmet need for family planning counseling services and methods through evidence-based planning, decision making, and policy formulation. SEFPP prioritizes its support in the nine governorates of Upper Egypt and 21 informal housing settlements in Cairo and Alexandria, where the need for increased access to family planning is greatest. According to Egypt’s Family Health Survey (2021), in rural Upper Egypt, only 56 percent of women are using any modern method and 43 percent are not using any method at all (compared with 34 percent nationally. While similar data for Cairo and Alexandria are limited, access to family planning counseling and methods are known to be inadequate.

Mostofa Mamdouh, director of social and behavior change communication, explained how JSI, through SEFPP, is focusing on youth as family planning change agents in their communities.

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