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In another time, in a different place, she might have been an Avon Lady, unzipping her bag to reveal tiny samples of lotions and lipsticks to neighborhood homemakers. But in northern Nigeria, in , her powers of persuasion are directed toward unloading a very different kind of product. The model is part traveling saleswoman, part community health worker, a network of mobile midwives and health workers with a unique selling point. They come to you.
On average, a woman here in Kano state has 7. You can laugh with them and chat with them, and they begin to trust you. In , it expanded into several other countries, and now has more than women working in 15 countries, most of them scattered across Africa.
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And like the Avon Ladies, or the Tupperware party hostesses of yore, they work on commission, turning a small profit for every contraceptive they provide. The cost is about 60 cents for a three-year birth control implant, for instance, and about 8 cents for a monthly supply of pills, so that providers can sell them cheaply to their clients but also still make a bit of cash.
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And for women here, the birth control she sells buys an even greater freedom. Whether or not she gets pregnant, after all, often dictates if a young, newly married woman is able to finish school or not. Space between babies, meanwhile, can allow women to work outside the home, or simply focus on the children they already have. Behind her, Mrs. Adamu is smoothing a brown tarp onto the floor and laying out rows of sterile steel instruments in neat, glinting rows. Then she motions for Mrs. Abubakar to lie down. If she believed in this, Abubakar thought, maybe it was all right.
They talked about it, and he likes the idea. An hour outside Kano, in a town called Rano, Abdullahi is paying a house call to a slight woman in her early 30s named Samira. I prefer not to involve him. Samira has six kids, including twins born a month ago. Now, both women sit rapt as Abdullahi cycles through their options — daily pills, quarterly injections, three-year implants.
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Abdullahi herself has seven kids, and says her only goal is to give women control over when they get pregnant. That choice has proved powerful. Can you come to my house tonight? Can I have it done at your place? Last year, they made about 37, house visits across the country. And worldwide, the women in the program made nearly , But the need remains vast. Effiom says.
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And when they are married, I will tell them about this family planning. Inside, Abdullahi is gathering up her supplies, getting ready to leave for the next house.
Not Your Typical Family (and We’re Okay With That)
Just then, a woman in a floral pink hijab pokes her head into the room. Tel: info familyplanning Skip to main content. What is the RRM? Who is Eligible? Beyond Contraceptive Security. ECHO Study. Policy and Enabling Environment.
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Brush Foundation. CARE International. Chaudhary Foundation. Comic Relief. Copper Rose Zambia. Cycle Technologies. David and Lucile Packard Foundation. I have a sister, a mom and a dad. We all live together in one house and see each other all the time. Other than these three, I don't see the rest of my family very often. Most of my friends have grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins that live around them. Sunday nights consist of dinner at your grandparents' house and everyone attends the same church, so you see each other on Sundays and maybe even Wednesday nights. On holidays, you all see each other.
Christmas mornings are full of love, grandma's famous breakfast, and lots of laughter throughout the house that is shared by the whole family. Your family traditions and the love that flows throughout your family every week you see them is something I don't get to have. Maybe you get annoyed by going to yet another cousin's birthday party or canceling with your friends to help you aunt with decorating her house, but if I got the chance to do that, I would in a heartbeat. See my family isn't your typical family. My family is spread across the country. My grandparents have all passed away with the exception of my great-grandmother, who lives in Oklahoma with my great aunt and uncle.
Even when I was little there were no Christmas's at grandma's or Thanksgiving's at your aunt and uncle's house. I've been to one official family reunion, other than that it's by chance that I see my family. It's hard to get together when everyone has different schedules and everyone is scattered around the country. One thing I do know is that given the chance to all be together in one place at the same time, I would take it in a heartbeat. Although we are all around the country and hardly see each other, when we do see each other, it's like nothing ever changed.
The love is still as strong as ever, if not stronger. I love my family with every ounce of my being and to see them every week, or even every month or on holidays would be such a blessing to me. So I hope you understand when you complain about having to go to your cousin's house for dinner or having to cancel your plans with your friend, to visit family that I will have just a little bit of judgment towards you.