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STARTED: Started by CE via Incubation Program 2021

SEED GRANT: $75,000

Anna Christina Thorsheim

Co-founder and Director

MONEY FUNDRAISED TO DATE (Aug 2023): $2,200,000

TEAM SIZE (Aug 2023): 8

Kenneth Scheffler
Co-founder and Director

Family Empowerment Media (FEM) prevents maternal deaths and other health burdens due to unintended pregnancies, through an evidence-based solution. FEM produces radio ads and shows that improve knowledge, attitudes, and behavior around family planning.


  • FEM has reached an estimated audience of 5 million listeners in Kano State, Nigeria, with multiple, months-long campaigns and has aired short campaigns in 10 other Nigerian states reaching around 15 million more listeners. By 2030, FEM expects to reach a total of 50 million people across Nigeria and potentially millions more in other countries where cost-effective impact can be made.

  • In a period overlapping with FEM’s 2021 pilot in Kano State, contraceptive uptake in the region increased by 75%, which corresponds to 250,000 new contraceptive users and an estimated 200 fewer maternal deaths related to unwanted pregnancies.


  • Founders Pledge estimated FEM’s cost-effectiveness to be 26x GiveDirectly in their Mass Media Report.

  • Rethink Priorities' research project suggests previous models may underestimate FEM’s cost-effectiveness and their work may be as much as 60 times as cost-effective in northern Nigeria as unrestricted cash transfers

  • At scale, FEM aims to avert a death for every $2,600 in funding provided.

  • FEM expects to save more than 7,000 lives for a total budget of $34 million over the next seven years.


  • FEM is currently re-airing content on Arewa station in Kano state, which reaches 4.6 million Nigerians, including over 1 million mostly rural women of reproductive age. FEM expects to avert ∼70 maternal deaths through this campaign.

  • With funding from Grand Challenges Canada (Stars in Global Health), FEM developed a new technology to evaluate impact: a transmitter that identifies when FEM’s content is on air, and replaces it with music. This innovation enables randomised controlled trials of radio interventions in regions where it was previously impossible.

  • FEM plans to launch an RCT in early 2024, which will reach an estimated 10-15 million listeners, lead to ∼147,000 new contraceptive users, save ∼345 lives, and avert ∼5,000 unsafe abortions. FEM is preparing for the RCT with formative research, completing analysis of 177 in-depth interviews.


  • FEM built strong partnerships with Nigerian partner organisations who are essential to their mission’s cost-effectiveness and execution. 

  • FEM also built collaborations with a wide range of stakeholders, from Nigerian state Ministries of Health and local religious leaders to engineering and tech institutions.

  • Over the past two years, FEM conducted research with over 2,000 Nigerians in their audience demographics– understanding their barriers and drivers to family planning. 

  • Following their successful 3 month pilot, FEM completed a 9-month campaign in Kano state, reaching an audience base of 5.6 million over 2600 times. In this campaign, FEM produced a serial drama for the first time – an educational programme lasting eight weeks, following the stories of three families.

  • FEM conducted proofs of concept in Ondo, Kogi, and Anambra, reaching an estimated 10 million additional listeners. 

  • FEM aired content in 7 additional states – Enugu, Abia, Delta, Osun, Ogun, Oyo, and Niger – airing 630 more times and establishing that their partners can implement regionally not just in their home states.



  • FEM’s funding gap for the next year stands at $230k

  • Funds received will go towards the following activities:

    • Reairing on Arewa Station in Kano State 

    • Conducting formative research and producing campaigns to be aired in South Nigeria and North Central Nigeria, while measuring the impact through a randomised controlled trial

    • Conducting proofs of concept in 3 new African countries, expanding FEM’s impact 

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