For the last 20 years, a community program implanted in Ethiopia has not only improved the health of young girls but empowered them to achieve their goals, pursue their education, and boost their autonomy and decision-making.
Household visits from health extension workers – mostly young women – have contributed to a 70% reduction in the probability of child marriage, 75% reduction in the probability of early pregnancy, and 63% increase in the probability of pursuing education.
Launched in 2003, the health extension program focuses on disease prevention and health promotion. Since the young women recruited must have completed their general secondary education, they have become role models for the teenage girls they visit as rates of child marriage, early pregnancy, and school dropout are significantly lower. Ethiopia wishes to eliminate child marriage by 2025, and the health extension program is already playing an important role in the achievement of this goal.