New series tackles reproductive health, gets over 2m viewers

Host of Fe Al-Mamar, Laith Abbadi, holds a piece of paper that reads “not normal” in a YouTube thumbnail of an episode on bullying.
Host of Fe Al-Mamar, Laith Abbadi, holds a piece of paper that reads “not normal” in a YouTube thumbnail of an episode on bullying. (Photo: Fe Al-Mamar’s Youtube channel)
AMMAN — A new television show hopes to broach a taboo in Jordanian culture: sexual and reproductive health. The show, produced in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Amman TV, and 360 Moms, is called Fe Al-Mamar — Arabic for “In the school hallway” – and targets youth and adolescents. The name is a metaphor for the psychological space youth need to progress from one point of their development to another. اضافة اعلان

 “This show is needed for every girl and boy living in Jordan,” said Enshrah Ahmed, the head of UNFPA’s office in Jordan. “The access to evidence-based and age-appropriate information empowers youth to exercise their rights, and contribute to their communities.”

Many young Jordanians have insufficient knowledge about sexual and reproductive health, compounded by limited access to adequate services, according to a UNFPA statement sent to Jordan News. The show aims to shed light on issues that might feel dark, confusing, or even scary for adolescents during puberty. Additionally, the program hopes to improve the quality of youths’ lives by helping them gain knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and rights, and enabling them to make appropriate decisions through 12 youth-friendly episodes.

The show’s host, Laith Abbadi, is both a psychologist in child and adolescent mental health and a stand-up comedian.

“There is a lot of missing information and issues (about sexual and reproductive health) that are not addressed in the media,” Abbadi said in the statement.

“Working on Fe Al-Mamar with UNFPA has been an eye-opening experience for us at the station,” said Qais Elias, station manager at Amman TV. “This is a type of content that commercial entities rarely venture into because of the perceived red lines, especially when it comes to addressing some of the topics we’ve presented. However, since the content went on air and social media, the feedback has been surprisingly positive. This demonstrates a dire need for such open-minded, entertaining, and educational content. We hope to work on more such projects in the future.”

In order to develop the series, 360 Moms, an online parenting platform that provides resources for mothers throughout the Arab world, conducted desk reviews on the chosen topics in collaboration with psychologists, internet security specialists, parenting consultants, gynecologists, and pediatricians.

Additionally, UNFPA created a review committee that was made up of members from the Ministries of Youth and Awqaf, the Higher Population Council, the Royal Health Awareness Society, the Institute for Family Health, Hamzet Wasel, and Y-PEER, as well as a number of youth activists.

“Working on project management and research for the UNFPA’s TV youth segments was a great experience,” Dina Abdul Majeed, founder and CEO of 360 Moms said in the statement. “Having this wonderful synergy of experts, advisers, TV producers, and of course the comedian who is the medical host brought out a unique blend that I believe was the secret ingredient to the success of these episodes.”

The show was broadcast on Amman TV twice a week, and the episodes were also posted on the social media accounts of Amman TV, 360 Moms, Laith Abbadi, and UNFPA Jordan.  The series received more than 2 million views in just the few weeks, the statement.

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