SMS Contraception Messages Reach Thousands of Mozambican Youth

SMS Contraception Messages Reach Thousands of Mozambican Youth

mozambique pathfinder internationalWith more than 45 percent of people under the age of 15, Mozambique has one of the youngest populations in the world.

For two decades, Pathfinder International has focused on this critical group, supporting the government to implement its national youth sexual and reproductive health program, Geração Biz, and implementing the USAID-funded Extending Service Delivery-Family Planning Initiative (ESD-FPI) in four provinces—Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, and Cabo Delgado.

Understanding that young people in Mozambique face a range of barriers to living healthy sexual and reproductive lives, including social norms that do not accept their use of contraception and their lack of knowledge about the range of contraceptive methods, a new solution was needed.

From September 2013 to June 2014, with support from USAID, Pathfinder International implemented the mCenas! (“Mobile Scenes”) project in Mozambique—an interactive two-way SMS system, accessible at no cost to clients. The goal of mCenas! was to reduce the barriers youth face in starting or continuing to use contraception by increasing their knowledge of and dispelling common myths about contraceptive methods.

mCenas! engaged young people aged 15-24 with an SMS-based role model story, in which characters were shown overcoming common barriers to contraceptive use faced by youth. For more information on sexual and reproductive health, youth could also access a menu-based message system on their phone and were prompted to call a Ministry of Health- supported hotline, where live operators were poised to answer their questions.

The project, which ran from September 2013 through June 2014 in Maputo and Inhambane provinces, saw 2,000 young people make more than 17,000 requests for information.

The Health COMpass is proud to showcase mCenas! as the latest Spotlight project.

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