Health XO

Making Contraception One of the Cool Kids

A lifestyle brand is breaking through the stigma and catalyzing new conversations about reproductive health

Future Fab is an adolescent lifestyle brand focused in five regions across Kenya that offers a new way to talk to local teens, their communities, and their health care providers about the value of contraception.

Since July 2016, Marie Stopes Kenya delivered 12,300 youth services and the monthly average of youth services per clinic increased 6-fold, from 9 to 54

Here are three posters from the Future Fab campaign.

After the success of our Diva Centres in Zambia, we partnered with Marie Stopes International again to create this bold, upbeat lifestyle brand. With an intent to disarm the stigma facing teenage girls (and boys) seeking access to birth control, we begin with a message about bright futures and personal potential; by engaging adolescents through things they care about, we believe that they will better understand the role that contraception can play in achieving their goals–-today and tomorrow.

"We find ourselves coming again and again to the same insight around needing an entry point into the conversation around contraception,” says Health XO program lead Jessa Blades. “That entry point can come in a lot of different forms, and with Future Fab it came in the form of associating contraception with an aspirational lifestyle.

Future Fab itself comes to life in a variety of formats. Social events put the spotlight on adolescents; rather than making clinics the center of attention, young troupes of dancers and singers become the highlight, alongside fashion and talent shows. By creating a positive, high-energy atmosphere that celebrates the ambitions and talents of young people, we're able to connect contraception to what's already relevant and meaningful to them, by emphasizing the role it can play in helping them continue to pursue hobbies, interests, aspirations, and dreams. By creating positive, teen-centric feelings in a place where ambition and energy are on full display, our design team was able to channel that good feeling towards the contraceptive education. 

“Within every event we have a separate area where young people can learn about contraception,” says Blades. “We’re not making it the spectacle, but people leave having learned that contraception is for everyone, and know where they need to go to learn more.” The team is also seeing signs of success by experimenting with pop-up services available at the events.

Our partners at MSI Kenya sport Future Fab swag.

The initiative also includes informal health talks for young people and their parents who feel more comfortable learning and asking questions with a smaller group, rather than in a typical school lecture-style setting. These sessions are co-led by teen mentors in the program and another staff member with sexual health expertise who can provide attendees with accurate information in a supportive environment. Teens can access services from a network of youth champion providers in their area, this might include Marie Stopes stand-alone clinics, social franchise clinics, or outreach services.

We designed the Future Fab campaign to be equally appealing to young men and women.

Another key element when prototyping Future Fab was designing a teen-focused magazine to provide critical contraceptive information in the context of aspirational--but accessible--adolescent lifestyles. Our goal was to start with teens’ hearts--getting teens excited about what they love--while sharing aspirational, real-life stories of themselves and their peers achieving their dreams. This information, paired with real and actionable information about reproductive health, can have a major impact. “In a climate where you can’t really talk about contraception openly, fear spreads,” says Blades. “We wanted the magazine to show real faces, real stories, real successes. This principle extends to all of our materials and interactions.”

During a 6 month evaluation of the pilot, Future Fab saw the percent of client visits by adolescents (15-19 year old) increase from 9.5% to 23%. This represents an overall increase of 13%. Future Fab also demonstrated success in attracting new users that may not have identified themselves as people who would have used these services otherwise. For example, visits by young mothers more than doubled after the introduction of Future Fab, from 12% of all adolescent visits to 29%. The pilot data shows that Future Fab didn’t just do well out of the gate but that the growth has been maintained. Based on the success of this pilot, Marie Stopes is planning to further roll out Future Fab to clinics in their extended partner network.

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