Family Empowerment Media (FEM) is an evidence-driven nonprofit committed to eliminating maternal deaths and other health burdens from unintended pregnancies. FEM produces and airs radio-based social and behavioural change campaigns on family planning to empower women and men who want to delay or prevent pregnancy to consistently use contraception.
218 million sexually active women in low- and middle-income countries do not use effective contraceptives despite wanting to avoid pregnancy. This unmet need results in 111 million unintended pregnancies and 70,000 maternal deaths yearly. Every fifth maternal death occurs in Nigeria, where lack of knowledge is among the top reasons for contraceptive non-use. For women in Nigeria, the lifetime risk of dying due to pregnancy-related complications is 1 out of 22.
Family Empowerment Media (FEM) has developed multiple evidence-based, context-sensitive, and impactful radio campaigns. In 2021, FEM reached 5.6 million listeners up to 870 times in a three-month pilot campaign in Kano State. In a time period overlapping with FEM’s intervention, the contraceptive uptake in Kano rose by 75% among all women, corresponding to 250,000 new contraceptive users.
Encouraged by these results, FEM launched a nine-month rollout campaign in Kano and short (one-two week long) campaigns in eleven more states, reaching a total of ~34.4 million. FEM is currently airing a second nine-month campaign in Kano and preparing for a randomised controlled trial of their intervention.
Notable aspects of FEM’s work include:
FEM is an early-stage organisation that launched in September 2020 with support from the Charity Entrepreneurship Incubation Program.
We previously included FEM as one of our recommended charities based on Founders Pledge's report on Mass Media Interventions in general (much of which covers FEM's work specifically). In 2022, Founders Pledge provided FEM a grant of $70,000 USD. Rethink Priorities cites a Founders Pledge estimate that found FEM's work in Kano to be as much as 22x as cost-effective as cash transfers; Rethink Priorities suggests it may be even higher.
We’ve since updated our recommendations to reflect only organisations recommended by evaluators we’ve looked into as part of our 2023 evaluator investigations; as such, we don't currently include FEM as one of our recommended programs but you can still donate to it via our donation platform.