Photo by Pathfinder Ethiopia

Pathfinder’s work greatly expanded in 1995, with the opening of our Ethiopia country office. Serving an area that encompasses 85 percent of the population, including many people living in remote, rural areas, our programs are pioneering and effective.

Photo by Michelle Badah

Mengistu Asnake, Pathfinder’s Ethiopia Country Representative, knows progress has been made. He remembers the state of reproductive health in 1990, when the country’s contraceptive prevalence rate was a mere 3%.

Photo by Sala Lewis

He recalls visiting a group of women in a rural village. “They had all been married by 15, had an average of 7 or 8 children, and believed pregnancy needed to occur every year—to prove their fertility to their husbands and community.”

Photo by Sala Lewis

“In the last few years, we’ve seen a significant shift,” he says. Preliminary data from the 2011 DHS show that the CPR increased by almost 30%. This makes Ethiopia one of only 3 countries to document a percentage change of this magnitude.

Photo by Elizabeth Oliveras

Today, our partnerships with governments, local NGOs, and communities are leading to advances in maternal and child health; postabortion care; services for young people and those affected by HIV and AIDS; and family planning.

Photo by Sala Lewis

More women can access the services they need, thanks to the government of Ethiopia; mobilization of donor resources; and strong collaboration with civil-society organizations, the private sector, and international nonprofits, like Pathfinder.

Pathfinder International works to improve access to, and the quality of, reproductive health and family planning information and services in several of the Ethiopia's most populous regions.
While 45% of births in urban areas of Ethiopia are attended by skilled health personnel, this is true for only 3% of births in rural areas.

Ethiopia faces a tremendous number of challenges to development, compounded by a rapidly growing population and a vast, rugged geographic expanse.

Ethiopia faces a tremendous number of challenges to development, compounded by a rapidly growing population and a vast, rugged geographic expanse. Over 83 percent of the population resides in isolated, hard-to-reach villages, presenting major difficulties in health care and service delivery. Harmful traditional practices-like female genital cutting and early marriage-make gender inequality highly visible, limiting educational and employment opportunities for women and girls.

Ethiopia has the second largest population in sub-Sahara Africa, with the average woman bearing 4.8 children, placing an insupportable burden on families, communities and a country facing chronic food shortages and environmental degradation. Additionally, the need for increased access to family planning and reproductive health care is demonstrated by Ethiopia's high rate of maternal mortality and low rate of contraceptive use. And while Ethiopia's HIV prevalence rate is lower than many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV and AIDS continue to impact communities and the health systems on which they depend.

In the 1950s, Pathfinder supported the establishment of the first family planning and reproductive health clinic in Ethiopia by providing funds to what is now known as the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia. By providing technical and financial assistance, Pathfinder helped expand community-based family planning and service delivery through a community distribution network managed by local civil society organizations and the private sector. Today, Pathfinder supports the Ethiopian government's community-based health extension program, providing technical assistance and financial support at federal, regional, zonal, district, facility, and community levels.

While 45 percent of births in urban areas of Ethiopia are attended by skilled health personnel, this is true for only 3 percent of births in rural areas.


Ethiopia faces a number of challenges: vast geographic expanse, hard-to-reach villages, and harmful traditional practices. Your gift of $25 or $50 supports our work to promote quality reproductive healthcare in Ethiopia.

Our Projects

Implants for Young People in Ethiopia

Young People's Empowerment in Reproductive Health Through Awareness and Service Expansion in Ethiopia (YERASEE)

Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health Contraception & Family Planning

As a part of the Integrated Family Health Program, YERASEE will build upon Pathfinder’s extensive work in Ethiopia to improve sexual and reproductive health services for young people (ages 10-24) throughout the country.

Integrated Family Health Program

Systems Strengthening Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health Maternal & Newborn Health HIV & AIDS Contraception & Family Planning

A USAID-funded program that supports the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia to improve family planning/reproductive health services and maternal and child health in four regions of the country.

Related Publications

March 2015

Without Boundary: Health and Rights for Young People

Pathfinder believes every girl deserves a childhood. If her childhood is stolen from her, she needs access to high quality sexual and reproductive health care. This issue of Pathways explores Pathfinder's innovative work to address the urgent health needs of married girls and young women in West Africa—an extremely underserved group.

January 2015

The Characteristics and Experiences of Women Supported to Receive Fistula Repair through IFHP in Ethiopia

This study aimed to describe the characteristics of women supported by the Integrated Family Health Project in Ethiopia to obtain fistula repair services, in particular their experience in reaching repair services and their wiliness to participate in efforts to prevent and treat fistula.

December 2014

Change Starts Here: Pathfinder International 2014 Annual Report

We believe change starts with expertly trained providers and pharmacies that never run out of supplies. It starts with open conversations among women, young people, men, religious leaders, mothers-in-law, policymakers, and others, joining to discuss their beliefs and remove barriers to their health and well-being. Our 2014 Annual Report shows a few highlights of how Pathfinder has served as a catalyst for change over the past year.

September 2014

Strengthening Health Service Delivery in Ethiopia: The Integrated Family Health Program

Reflecting on the last five years of implementation, this technical brief shares how Pathfinder's IFHP has mobilized drivers for systems strengthening by prioritizing community needs and facilitating informed decision making.

Related News

Programme rekindling dreams of having a healthy child

Pathfinder's Integrated Family Health Program has managed to save the lives of mothers and newborns in the Woreda region of Ethiopia.

She enjoys a rapture of delight for becoming part of the achievement made by the government and USAID’s Integrated Family Health Programme, in what she described as a programme that helps the community rekindle its dream of having a healthy child.

Pathfinder’s Mengistu Asnake recognized with Public Health Service Award

Dr. Mengistu Asnake, Pathfinder International’s Country Representative in Ethiopia, received the Public Health Service Award at the opening ceremony of the Ethiopian Public Health Association Conference.
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