• Angeline (Angel) Makore

    SparkRead | Founder
    SparkGirls mentorship program participants

    SparkGirls mentorship program participants

    The issue of family planning has been an enormous challenge for ordinary African girls. In most instances, this is due to a lack of adequate and medically accurate information on sexual and reproductive health, youth-friendly services, family support services, and affordability. A typical example of this is Ruva.*

    Ruva is a 15-year-old girl who lives with her father and brother in Mtoko, a rural area in Zimbabwe. Ruva is in an adolescent stage and many changes are sprouting in her body and the environment around her. Her father is a builder and is rarely home. Her mother died from HIV/AIDS when Ruva was barely 10 years old, and Ruva was left to take care for her two little brothers. She must walk five kilometers to and from school each day. At this stage, Ruva is becoming more aware of her body and slowly transitioning from girlhood to womanhood; proposals from boys and men are becoming increasingly regular. But, given her situation, who will be there for Ruva to give her accurate information about sexual and reproductive health and rights?

  • Sarah V. Harlan

    CCP | Senior Program Officer/Learning Director
    Knowledge, Action, Results
    “Knowledge, Action, Results: How to Translate Global Family Planning Tools to the Local Level”

    If you are planning to attend the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) next month, we invite you to join K4Health for a full-day pre-conference event: “Knowledge, Action, Results: How to Translate Global Family Planning Tools to the Local Level.”

    Have you ever struggled to transfer lessons learned into practice, or had to make program decisions with insufficient information—or even too much information? If so, this is the pre-conference event for you! Come share and learn from others' experiences applying global family planning tools to implement country-level programs.

  • Vik Mohan

    Blue Ventures Conservation | Medical Director
    In southwest Madagascar, many people rely exclusively on the sea for their livelihoods. © Garth Cripps for Blue Ventures

    In southwest Madagascar, many people rely exclusively on the sea for their livelihoods. © Garth Cripps for Blue Ventures

    How is family planning helping to rebuild tropical fisheries? What might we learn from this as we turn our attention to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?

    Last month, I was in Madagascar to mark the eighth birthday of Safidy, a community health programme run by marine conservation organisation Blue Ventures. At the same time, and on the opposite side of the globe, the final wording for the Global Goals for Sustainable Development was being agreed upon.

    “Safidy,” meaning “the freedom to choose” in Malagasy, empowers women and couples to make their own reproductive health choices, through providing health education as well as family planning and basic maternal health services. Meanwhile, Blue Ventures’ core mission is to rebuild tropical fisheries with coastal communities. Eight years on, how do we see the work of Safidy contributing to locally led management of marine resources? More broadly, what does this tell us about family planning and its role in sustainable development?

  • Beth Schlachter

    FP2020 | Executive Director
    Heny Rosdiana, Midwife at village-level health facility, Suralaya Sub-district. Photographer: Agung Arnita

    Heny Rosdiana, Midwife at village-level health facility, Suralaya Sub-district. Photographer: Agung Arnita

    Heny Rosdiana has a secret weapon to encourage couples to try an IUD: her husband. “Some clients wanted to hear directly from my husband on whether or not there are side effects,” she explains. “I think this approach is quite effective because couples can obtain comprehensive information on IUDs directly from users.”

    A midwife in her Indonesian village, Heny is one of the many individuals working around the globe to improve access to family planning and empower women and girls. Hers is one of the stories that will be documented and shared through the new photo blog Family Planning Voices (FP Voices).

  • Sara Stratton, MPH

    IntraHealth International | Assistant Programs Director

    This blog post originally appeared on IntraHealth's blog Vital

    A nurse discusses family planning options with a client at the Mathare North Health Center in Nairobi, Kenya.

    A nurse discusses family planning options with a client at the Mathare North Health Center in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by Trevor Snapp for IntraHealth International. 

    “Family planning saves lives, and women want it.”

    My Nigerian colleagues summed up the success of a group of family planning projects to this simple reason. They’re right. It’s not complicated. When given the option, women choose contraceptives. Our job as reproductive health advocates and family planning program managers is to make sure all women have the option.

  • Elizabeth Futrell

    CCP | Content Development Lead/Program Officer II
    ©2008, Photo courtesy of Ian Freimuth via Flickr Creative Commons

    Sustainable Development Goal 10 is to reduce inequality within and among countries. ©2008, Photo courtesy of Ian Freimuth via Flickr Creative Commons

    You’d think that as a nation grows wealthier, its population would grow happier, right? A story that aired recently on National Public Radio (NPR) cautioned that the relationship between global development and happiness is not so simple. Shige Oishi, a researcher at the University of Virginia, cited the U.S. as an example—our gross domestic product (GDP) has risen much faster than our collective level of happiness. What else was rising even more quickly than our GDP? Income inequality.

    It makes sense. After all, what’s harder: struggling to meet your family’s basic needs alongside your neighbors who are doing the same—or struggling to meet your family’s basic needs while seeing others enjoy excesses of wealth that are completely out of your reach?

  • Pape Amadou Gaye, MBA

    IntraHealth International | President and CEO

    This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

    A health worker in Nairobi provides family planning information to a client.

    A health worker in Nairobi provides family planning information to a client. Photo by Trevor Snapp for IntraHealth International.

    So often when we sing the praises of family planning, we go straight to applauding its health benefits: all the healthier babies and children, the hundreds of thousands of women who survive childbirth, and the millions of abortions prevented.

    Family planning has changed the world for us all over the past few decades. But better health isn't the only advantage. There's another, though we in the global health field have often been hesitant about lauding it too loudly.

    I'm talking about the relationship between family planning to prosperity.

  • Tricia Petruney

    FHI 360 | Technical Advisor for Global Health, Population, and Nutrition
    "Yellow Flower" logo launch
    The Ugandan Ministry of Health booth promotes family planning at the "Yellow Flower" logo launch. © 1993 Center for Communication Programs, Courtesy of Photoshare

    The international community is abuzz with excitement about the new global development agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Officially being launched this month, the aims laid out are more ambitious and all encompassing than ever before. As such, they’ve generated an expectedly broad, diverse, and loud chorus of suggestions for their implementation. Everyone seems on the hunt for the best new idea or technology to carry the agenda forward. Yet after decades of work and untold millions of dollars in investments in research and ideas, surely we must know something useful today that could be put to good use? Perhaps while smartly pursuing innovations that keep pace with our changing world, we can also put some real investment behind some of even the simplest things that we already know to be true, and which might just need a little more traction before we can finally benefit from their full potential impact.

  • Morrisa Malkin

    FHI 360 | Senior Technical Officer

    "My HIV doctors have been my greatest supporters when it comes to the choices I have around children and pregnancy. They have armed me with information, giving me the courage to make informed and correct decisions for myself and my partner."1 — Anonymous, Uganda 

    Women living with HIV wait in line at a family planning clinic
    Women living with HIV waiting in line at a family planning clinic. Source - FHI 360.

    Advancing the reproductive health and rights of all women, including those living with HIV, is one of the many benefits of delivering integrated family planning (FP) and HIV services. By utilizing multiple service delivery entry points, integration allows clients of HIV services to more easily access FP and safe pregnancy services and realize their fertility intentions and exercise their reproductive rights.

    Given the importance of FP/HIV integration in addressing HIV worldwide, USAID’s Global Health eLearning Center is pleased to announce the release of the updated Family Planning and HIV Service Integration Course. Based on the most current evidence available, the course explains the benefits of integrating family planning (FP) into HIV services, addresses FP/HIV integration from a health systems perspective, and covers contraception for HIV-positive women and couples with a focus on reproductive rights. The course also emphasizes how HIV care providers can help clients make informed reproductive health decisions and access appropriate care, including voluntary FP and safe conception and pregnancy services.

  • Sarah Fohl

    CCP | Program Officer II
    3rd annual Ouagadougou Partnership meeting
    Ouagadougou Partnership member country representatives, partners, and stakeholders at the 3rd annual meeting in Paris, December 2014. Courtesy of Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit

    This year is an exciting one for celebrating contraceptive access in Francophone West Africa—2015 marks the fifth year since nine governments (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Togo, and Senegal), civil society organizations, and donors created the Ouagadougou Partnership and committed to improving family planning access in their region. Their goal is to add one million new contraceptive users by the end of this year.

    Although countries may define a “new user” in different terms (for example, first-time user of family planning, new user of a long term method), the definition used by Track20 (a project implemented by Avenir Health to track progress of the global FP2020 initiative) is clear. New users include the number of additional women (or their partners) of reproductive age currently using a modern contraceptive method compared to 2012. In just three short years, these countries will have achieved their goal by providing vastly improved family planning information and access to an adequate contraceptive method mix.