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Académie de l'artisanat: A fresh approach to tackling the challenge of unplanned pregnancy amongst out of school adolescents in Benin

Using vocational learning to inspire girls to learn new skills and to help them make smart Reproductive health decisions for their future.

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Opportunity Areas – Select those that apply

  • Other

What specific problem(s) are you trying to address? (300 character limit)

Lack of empowerment and unsafe sex among out-of school youth. Female youth engage in sex primarily to earn money to pay for basic needs. They do not have sufficient information on contraceptives, resulting in unwanted and early pregnancies.

Who are your end users? (1000 character limit)

Out-of school girls aged 15 to 24 years old in rural locations in the Dassa-Zoumè comune, located in central region of Benin. Archetype : Marie is the youngest of 6. She is from a family that is poor, even by local standards. She lives in Dassa, her parents struggle to provide for their children. Last year, Helen had sex with a boy in her class to pay for her books. She also had sex once or twice for food. Soon, she fell pregnant and was forced to drop out of school. Her mother is now the primary caregiver to her child. She has heard about family planning but do not have sufficient information. For Helen, the main motivation for sex is financial, and thus she often has the lowest agency when it comes to sexual behavior and choice.

Explain your idea. (500 character limit)

In order to help girls take control of their futures, we increase their demand for contraception while also increasing their self efficacy. Girls will be empowered to stand up for themselves. Weekly workshop is the core of the academy. It has three components: SHE MAKES, SHE LEARNS AND SHE IS IN CONTROL. She is recognized for her talents and is able to decide on her RH future. Human center design was used in the development of the Académie, the end users were involved during the whole process

What is your value proposition? (500 character limit)

As a girl progresses through the levels of the Académie, her mindset evolves from learning the content, to building self efficacy and believing in herself, to having the ability to control her future. The Académie curriculum inspires girls to imagine a future beyond their immediate hardships, then introduces contraception as part of the strategy to achieve a better tomorrow.

What's different about your idea compared to current solutions? (500 character limit)

Using the human centered design, the program has been tailored to the needs and aspirations of the out-of school girls. The program will help them to achieve the main important goals for girls: being successful in life by increasing their income, being a role model in the community and in control of their reproductive health.

What are the key reasons why end users would turn to your organization over another?

  • Customization: Tailoring to specific needs

What would success look like for your end users? (500 character limit)

For these girls, success would mean learning new skills, generating income and being in control of their reproductive health.

How would you measure the impact your idea has on your end user(s) ? How will you measure the success of your program? (500 character limit)

An engaging service experience that motivates out-of-school girls and the community to stay engaged in the program. Increased girls’ income-generating skills and opportunities. Increased girls’ knowledge and positive attitude toward modern contraception. A self-sustaining service model that is operationally and financially viable. Increased self efficacy of out-of school girls Increased demand for contraception and, Reduced unplanned pregnancies among out-of-school girls.

What strategies will/are you testing to acquire end users? (300 character limit)

- The girls will be informed of the program via the local community. - Seasonal craft fairs raise awareness of the Académie de l’Artisanat within the community, and spread the word about teen health and contraception - Health educators also deliver health talks to attendees, during teen events.

Key partnerships - Who will you partner with to make your idea work? (500 character limit)

Ministry of Health - MCH Department Local authorities Local associations IDEO. org

What is your organization’s name? (150 character limit)

Association Béninoise pour le Marketing Social et la communication pour la santé

Tell us more about you: (750 character limit)

ABMS is a local NGO, and a network member of PSI. In 2017, ABMS/PSI and IDEO. org worked together to develop a fresh approach using HCD to improve access to RH services to out-of school youth. In July, the Académie opened its doors, rolling out a 3-month trial phase known as Live Prototyping in the Dassa-Zoume region. Early results of the Académie are promising, with a sharp uptick in the knowledge and understanding of contraception amongst participants from 25.4% to 98.4%, as well as the number of visits to clinics for counseling and service delivery. The design & early implementation phases were supported by USAID’s Transform-PHARE project, and now the team is seeking additional funding to continue the program and to scale-up.

Organizational Characteristics

  • Locally/community-led organization

Where will your idea be implemented? (200 character limit)

This Académie will be continued in Dassa in BENIN and in other new locations in the country

What do you need to get started? (500 character limit)

The project team is eager to continue the Académie in Dassa and to scale up in new locations. The project team is seeking additional funding to continue the program in Dassa, and to expand it to two additional locations.

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • Community - one or a few communities within one country

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organization Location (200 character limit)

ABMS is based in Cotonou BENIN, have its head office in Cotonou and a local office in Parakou BENIN.

What is your organizational status?

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Roll-out/Ready to Scale: I have completed a pilot and am ready or in the process of expanding.

Website

http://www.abmsbj.org

4 comments

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Team

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Thanks for sharing about your work! Can you share more detail around the service experience? I'd also love to learn more about your pilot, what worked well, what did you learn that you'd like to apply to your work moving forward?

Photo of ABMS
Team

Thank you for your comment.
The number of youth FP/RH services provided have more than tripled in three months, during the pilot (from 24 to 80 youth services per month). The health provider was also invited to participate in the health education at the Academy, and answered to the questions related to sexuality and FP/RH. This has increased the frequentation of the health facilities.

Teaching new skills and having mothers involved in the Academy were important and worked well. The combination of learning new skills such as beading and the health education. While girls work on their crafts, a health educator teaches them about contraception, and the role it can play in protecting their futures.
In addition to the the primary beneficiaires, the Academy targeted their mothers as well. Mom talks engage mothers to learn about contraception, and build buy-in and support for the program. During mom talks, mothers are invited to the youth center to tour the facilities, look at products their daughters have made, and have a conversation about reproductive health and contraception. Moms learn about the same methods their daughters are learning about, and are given the space to ask questions and discuss the role contraception can play in their lives.
One of the challenges is to keep the motivation of the health providers. In one of the health facilities, the motivation and availability of health provider have decreaesed over time. This will be addressed to ensure high quality services and sustainable results.

Photo of ABMS
Team

Thank you for your comment.
The number of youth FP/RH services provided have more than tripled in three months, during the pilot (from 24 to 80 youth services per month). The health provider was also invited to participate in the health education at the Academy, and answered to the questions related to sexuality and FP/RH. This has increased the frequentation of the health facilities.

Teaching new skills and having mothers involved in the Academy were important and worked well. The combination of learning new skills such as beading and the health education. While girls work on their crafts, a health educator teaches them about contraception, and the role it can play in protecting their futures.
In addition to the the primary beneficiaires, the Academy targeted their mothers as well. Mom talks engage mothers to learn about contraception, and build buy-in and support for the program. During mom talks, mothers are invited to the youth center to tour the facilities, look at products their daughters have made, and have a conversation about reproductive health and contraception. Moms learn about the same methods their daughters are learning about, and are given the space to ask questions and discuss the role contraception can play in their lives.
One of the challenges is to keep the motivation of the health providers. In one of the health facilities, the motivation and availability of health provider have decreaesed over time. This will be addressed to ensure high quality services and sustainable results.