Her choice to change people’s minds
It used to be that when a woman came to Nancy Kenah for long-acting contraception, she had to send them away. Nobody at the clinic where she worked in the north-eastern part of Nigeria had the training to provide those methods. Nancy referred women to the nearest hospital, 18 miles away. Some women made the hours-long walk, but many couldn’t, with dangerous consequences for their health and wellbeing.
“Without contraception, some get pregnant [soon after] having their infant babies,” Nancy explained. “It affects them, their economy, their health.” Many of the people in this part of Nigeria live in impoverished conditions and traditionally have large families, but contraception wasn’t widely accepted or available.
Nancy knew something had to change. So she made a bold choice: She received training from MSI, becoming the only community health education worker at her clinic with the skills to provide implants and IUDs.
Aishatu Dahiru, a midwife in the same region of Nigeria, also received training from MSI to provide contraception advice and services. But in her community, contraception wasn’t widely accepted—so she got to work changing minds.
“Before, even when we had the availability, there was no acceptance of [contraception]. But by working with community leaders, religious leaders, those working with young people, and traditional birth attendants, people’s attitudes are changing.”
Now, both Nancy and Aishatu are seeing more clients than ever. Women know that when they come to an MSI-trained provider, they’ll be able to choose the method that works best for them—giving them the tools to take control of their own futures.
“The women now enjoy their family life,” Nancy says. “They have good health and they take care of their children.”
Bold women like Nancy and Aishatu are bringing choice to their communities, with help from MSI. In fact, MSI’s work in Nigeria prevented 1.8 million unintended pregnancies and 846,000 unsafe abortions in 2019.