Sara Fewer spent her summer in Tigray, Ethiopia supporting the monitoring and evaluation of a project aiming to increase access to contraception, specifically depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA, or Depo). Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa, with women having an average of 4.8 children during their lifetime (Population Council, 2013; Population Reference Bureau, 2013).The highest levels of fertility are found in rural regions in the country, where 85 percent of the population resides and where women also have the highest rates of unmet need for family planning (Population Council, 2013; Population Reference Bureau, 2013). To address this unmet need, the UC Berkeley Bixby Center for Population, Health & Sustainability is working in partnership with Mekelle University, the Women’s Association of Tigray, DKT-Ethiopia, and the Tigray Regional Health Bureau to train community-based reproductive health agents (CBRHAs) and utilize social marketing strategies to increase access to DMPA for rural women.
Sara’s field work included working with local staff and partners to gather data on the project’s progress across 14 districts in Tigray. She also worked with local staff to conduct and analyze qualitative interviews with 17 CBRHAs. Her findings and recommendations will help inform future implementation of the project.