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 builds 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

December 2015

Without Fear or Boundary: Pathfinder International's 2015 Annual Report

Forging a new path is part of Pathfinder’s DNA. Last year, in 26 developing countries, we pushed through barriers to ensure millions of women, men, and young people are able to access critical sexual and reproductive health care and choose their own paths forward. Read more in our 2015 Annual Report.

July 2015

Integrated Family Health Program: Endline Household Survey Summary Report

This household survey was designed to measure changes in knowledge, attitudes, and health behaviors among families in the Integrated Family Health Program's catchment areas between 2008 and 2013.

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.

Related News

Committee commends zonal health performance

The Technical Advisory Committee commended IFHP's positive results gained at visited health posts, centers and households in South Gondar Zone, Amhara State, in terms of maternal care, child health, adolescent and youth reproductive health and family planning.

Fit contraception to local needs, health workers urged

Giving women the option of using contraception tailored to their individual circumstances is vital to increasing birth control in developing countries, an event heard last week.
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