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Empowering girls in Ethiopia

Cornelia and Werner are serving in Ethiopia with SIM Switzerland. Cornelia is a qualified medical doctor whose ministry, MFM Cycle Show Ministry, involves teaching girls what to expect when they reach puberty. Werner helps with course administration.

"I now feel well prepared for menstruation". "Why weren't the processes in the female body explained to us earlier?" Two typical statements from participants in the cycle show workshops in Ethiopia.

1.8 billion women worldwide have no or inadequate access to menstrual products. In Ethiopia, the majority of women/girls make do with rags, newspapers and other harmful materials or simply do not go to school/work at all. The situation is only improving very slowly as the topic is taboo. - The Cycle Show® is an internationally recognized workshop that has been used enthusiastically and with great success worldwide for 25 years. Taboos are lifted in a clear, playful way and women are given an appreciation and knowledge of hormones and birth control. Mens products are also explained in the workshop and those in need receive a set of washable sanitary pads. Culturally and linguistically adapted versions in Amharic and Tigrinese have been available since 2022. In 2023, 1098 girls in four cities have already been taught by seven local workshop leaders. Many more are hoping to visit the Cycle Show®.          

Picture: preview of the Cycle Show workshop in Addis Ababa, February 2023

Project and target groups

The Christian aid organization SIM Ethiopia (Serving in Mission), based in Addis Ababa, is responsible for the Cycle Show project (MFM Cycle Show Ministry), which has been run by Cornelia and Werner Hässig since 2020.
In Switzerland, the associations SIM Switzerland in Biel and DU für alle in Uster support this project.
Cornelia and Werner Hässig from Uster are the link between Switzerland and Ethiopia and ensure communication and further development. Cornelia Hässig, a former doctor, was authorized by the licensors (the association MFM Deutschland e.V.) to train, license and educate Ethiopian women as workshop leaders.

Picture: Happy girls in the SELAM children's home in Addis Ababa, Dec. 2023

Target groups:

  • 11 to 13-year-old girls in Ethiopia should be able to experience this life-changing workshop once in their lives (there are around 1.5 million girls per year!)
  • Parents and those responsible for education should be able to attend the 2-hour "Parents information" session

Goals, priorities, activities

  • In 2024, cycle shows will be held at all locations (Addis Ababa, Hawassa, Mekelle and Walga) by our seven certified workshop leaders
  • To overcome the taboo, "Parents information" evenings will also be held at all locations
  • Further partner organizations are being sought to strengthen the financial basis