Promoting Family Planning, Maternal and Child Health through Beauty Parlors in Afghanistan
The SHOPS Plus team in Afghanistan is collaborating with the Afghan Social Marketing Organization to implement an innovative pilot in Kabul to train 200 beauty parlor staff to deliver information to female clients on key, often-stigmatized health topics. Beauty parlors—of which there are over 10,000 nationwide—represent a unique space in Afghanistan, as they are one of few places where women can freely gather and exchange information. Leveraging these safe spaces, the pilot aims to transform parlor staff into community-level change agents trained to begin conversations and share educational materials with clients on family planning and maternal and child health. The pilot expects to encourage open dialogue (among partners, friends, and family) and shift negative attitudes. The ultimate goal is to promote healthy practices and empower women to advocate for their own health and their children’s.