• Leah J. Kenny

    WIL Uganda | Reproductive and Sexual Health Intern
    Male students take part in the sexual and reproductive health programme at Townside Secondary School, Busembatia.

    Male students take part in the sexual and reproductive health programme at Townside Secondary School, Busembatia. Photo: Noraly Schiet, 2017

    In Eastern Uganda, when a teenage girl becomes pregnant, she will stop attending school and instead, begin a life rearing children and looking after the family home and land. Teenage pregnancy remains high in Uganda, where more than one-third of girls give birth before the age of 18. Predictably, this is higher in rural areas. As well as teenage pregnancy, women and girls here face many sexual and reproductive health (SRH) challenges throughout their lives, including sex in exchange for “necessities,” poor menstrual hygiene, and a lack of access to family planning methods. This is why teaching and empowering girls from a young age about sexual and reproductive health and rights is a must. As part of the small grassroots organisation Women in Leadership (WIL) Uganda, based in Busembatia, for the last three months I have been doing just that across a number of schools.

  • This piece, including a slideshow of youth ambassadors, was originally published on IntraHealth International's blog, VITAL.

    Romaric Ouitona, president of Youth Ambassadors in Benin, speaks to his peers at a youth center that offers family planning services and education in Dangbo, Benin.

    Romaric Ouitona, president of Youth Ambassadors in Benin, speaks to his peers at a youth center that offers family planning services and education in Dangbo, Benin. Photo by Trevor Snapp for IntraHealth International.

    They’re informed, determined, and looking ahead for the good of their peers—and their countries.

    They want to help girls stay in school. To take control of their own futures. To make sure other young people don’t make the same mistakes or have to live the same nightmares they did.

  • Elizabeth Tully

    CCP | Program Officer
    Fatouma Nina Koné, a Family Planning Youth Ambassador from Burkina Faso, was recently featured on FP Voices.

    Fatouma Nina Koné, a Family Planning Youth Ambassador from Burkina Faso, was recently featured on FP Voices.

    In my role on the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project, I work on a number of initiatives and activities, all from my cozy home office in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Over the last few years, between pregnancies, breastfeeding, and caring for two small children, I’ve stayed close to home. At the same time, I’ve watched my colleagues travel the world, interviewing family planning policy makers, implementers, service providers, and clients for Family Planning Voices, the global storytelling initiative we lead in partnership with Family Planning 2020. I get the opportunity to review all of our stories, schedule them for publication, and post them to our photo blog and social media sites. But I share something in common with our readers: I have never met most of the individuals whose stories I shepherd through the publication process, and I probably never will.

  • Saadia Azim

    Freelance Journalist
    Sunita Prajapati, right, an accredited social health activist, counsels village women on maternal health at her village in Uttar Pradesh, India. Prajapati owns an Android phone with two specific apps, part of the ReMIND program, in which she maintains the

    Sunita Prajapati, right, an accredited social health activist, counsels village women on maternal health at her village in Uttar Pradesh, India. Prajapati owns an Android phone with two specific apps, part of the ReMIND program, in which she maintains the record of all the pregnant and lactating mothers in her vicinity. (Credit: Jen Hardy/CNS-Catholic Relief Services.)

    This piece was originally published by Crux.

    KOLKATA, India—Usha Devi, a 25-year-old field worker, is three months pregnant with her third child. But this child, she said confidently, will be born in the hospital.

    “Unlike my previous pregnancies, now I know when to call the ambulance,” Devi told Catholic News Service by phone.

    Devi is keeping all of her pregnancy details stored on an app in Sunita Prajapati’s mobile phone, and she knows she will receive reminders of all the important dates.

  • Erin Pfeiffer

    Maternal and Child Survival Program | Consultant
    Grace Nukayisire with her 1-day-old baby Ineza at the maternity ward in Manyange health center in Nyamata, Rwanda.

    Grace Nukayisire with her 1-day-old baby Ineza at the maternity ward in Manyange health center in Nyamata, Rwanda. © 2017 Riccardo Gangale, Courtesy of Photoshare.

    The newborn period is the most vulnerable time in a child’s life. While remarkable global progress has been made in the last decade to decrease child mortality, neonatal mortality reductions have occurred much more slowly. Today, nearly all newborn deaths are preventable with the current understanding of effective interventions and service delivery approaches for women and their children across the life course. There is unprecedented potential to end preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths and ensure a healthy foundation in the first month of life for lifelong wellbeing and development.

  • Monique Clesca

    UNFPA | Former Représentante
    Jessica.

    Jessica. Photo: Monique Clesca

    This piece was originally published in French in Le National.

    They are 14-, 16-, and 17-year-old children in Haiti. Their adolescent lives fell apart when they got pregnant—putting their education, their future, and their lives in danger.

  • Nongma Sawadogo

    Management Sciences for Health | Interim Director, FCI Program of MSH, Burkina Faso
    Un kiosque de planification familiale au salon de la santé au Burkina Faso.

    Un kiosque de planification familiale au salon de la santé au Burkina Faso. © 2011 Centre pour les programmes de communication, avec la permission de Photoshare

    Quand j'étais en formation pour devenir sage-femme, une hôtesse de l'air, sans argent et dans un état critique, se présentait à la maternité de l'hôpital Yalgado Ouédraogo de Ouagadougou, après avoir eu recours à un avortement raté. Mes collègues et moi avons cotisé de l'argent afin de lui procurer ses médicaments essentiels, mais malheureusement elle a succombé à ses saignements (hémorragie)—malgré le fait que nous lui avons administré ses médicaments.

  • Nongma Sawadogo

    Management Sciences for Health | Interim Director, FCI Program of MSH, Burkina Faso
    A family planning booth at a health fair in Burkina Faso.

    A family planning booth at a health fair in Burkina Faso. © 2011 Center for Communication Programs, Courtesy of Photoshare

    When I was in training to become a midwife, a flight attendant, with no money and in critical condition, arrived at the maternity ward of Yalgado Ouédraogo hospital in Ouagadougou after getting a botched abortion. My colleagues and I put money together to buy her essential medicines, but she eventually died—even after we administered the medicines. We were shocked. And I thought, we must do something to improve women’s reproductive health. When I think that this woman could have been saved if she’d had access to contraception earlier, I’m reminded of my reason for becoming a midwife—to save human beings.

  • Abou Maimouna Diallo

    IntraHealth International | Family Planning Youth Ambassador
    Abou Maimouna Diallo, jeune ambassadeur en Guinée

    "S'il y a un conseil que j'aimerais donner aux jeunes de mon pays, c'est qu'ils doivent être sexuellement responsables en acceptant de restés informés, de s'éduquer et de suivre les recommandations des pairs éducateurs." - Abou Maimouna Diallo

    Cette publication a été publiée à l'origine sur le blog d'IntraHealth, VITAL.

    Voici Abou, jeune ambassadeur en Guinée qui sait mieux que quiconque à quel point la contraception est importante, non seulement pour la planification familiale mais aussi pour planifier l'avenir.

    Quand j'allais au lycée, je sortais avec une fille. On s'aimait beaucoup et nous avons eu des rapports non protégés.

  • Abou Maimouna Diallo

    IntraHealth International | Family Planning Youth Ambassador
    Abou Maimouna Diallo, a family planning youth ambassador from Guinea

    "The advice I would like to give young people in my country is that they must be sexually responsible by agreeing to keep informed, educate themselves, and follow their peer educators’ advice," writes Abou Maimouna Diallo. Photo courtesy of Abou Maimouna Diallo.

    This post originally appeared on IntraHealth's blog, VITAL.

    Meet Abou, a youth ambassador in Guinea who knows firsthand the power of contraception—not just for family planning, but for future planning.

    When I was in high school, I was going out with a girl. We loved each other a lot, and we had unprotected sex.

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