Historical Background And Development
The Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia is an indigenous, not-for profit, volunteer based organization with over 45 years of experience in providing dedicated, quality, and a broad range of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services in Ethiopia, complementing the governmental efforts.
The Association was established in 1966 by a few dedicated volunteers from health and social work backgrounds. Family Planning (FP) was hardly known in Ethiopia during the establishment, although there were growing incidence of morbidity and mortality of mothers, thus, the need for family planning was essential.
FGAE is an affiliate member of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) since 1971.
The sole objective was to promote public awareness and understanding towards responsible sexual life, reproductive processes, family planning and the effects of population growth on socio-economic development through diverse educational programs, considering the high occurrence of maternal morbidity and mortality.
The first few years of the Association's life faced difficulties. Conservative thoughts and opposition towards Population Control and Family Planning were high among government authorities, religious leaders and the community at large. This needed wiseand careful introduction of family planning program.
This lead to the establishment of FP information dissemination services in Addis Ababa, with a small publicity as there was fear that the attempt to introduce service provision at large scale may invite opposition. Keeping its stand, FGAE made it clear that this wasn’t a program of population control, rather a preventive health measure to be served on need basis, assured the then existing Government, that Family Planning would be done without any expense to the Government and without any Public Statement of Policy as well.
The whole endeavor could have been discontinued if the Ethiopian public found this unacceptable. The Minister of Health, the Prime Minister and His Majesty, the Emperor had to be convinced on the needs and conditions.
The Turning Points
The turning points in the Association's activities came into being by 1975, when FGAE was officially registered with the then Ministry of Interior, Public Security Department as a non – Governmental, non-profit voluntary organization.
As Professor Andargatchew Tesfaye, one of the founders of the Association wrote, “The Association from its very inception recognized that it couldn't meet alone, the family planning needs of the Ethiopian population. Therefore, its major intention was not only to introduce and expand the values of family planning services for family welfare and development, but involve as many government and non government agencies as possible.”
Since 1970s, FGAE started to expand and opened up regional coordinating offices, whereby 1972 in Asmara, 1975 in Dessie, 1977 in Awassa, 1978 in Addis Ababa, 1984 in Harar, 1985 in Jimma, 1988 in Bahir Dar, 1993 in Adama, 2004 in Mekele and today, the expansion has reached the figure of 20 SRH Clinics, 27 Youth SRH Centers, 5 Confidential STI-MARPs outreach clinic, and is working with 47 CSOs in 86 woredas across various projects.
Involvement of Government Ministries and Public Agencies in the Decision Making Body of the Association:
The Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
The Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Agriculture
The Municipal Council of Addis Ababa
The Ethiopian Workers Union
The Ethiopian Farmers Association
The Ethiopian Women's Association
The Ethiopian Youth Association
The mentioned Ministries and Non-Governmental Establishments were co-opted in the Board with full voting rights