News & Views

Council Commentary

The Power of Family Planning

40% of all pregnancies worldwide in 2012 were unplanned. More than 222 million women in developing countries who don’t want to become pregnant aren’t using modern contraception. And 358,000 women and 3 million newborns die each year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Click below and check out our new World Contraception Day infographics to get the facts on how family planning improves lives, long-acting reversible contraception, and a new Council-developed contraceptive option for breastfeeding women.

          

Council Commentary

“Passion Is Our Fuel but Not Our Plan”

"Why are we so slow to see, count, or reach the 200 million poorest girls?" asks Council expert Judith Bruce in "The adolescent girl moment: Passion is our fuel but not our plan," on Girls' Globe.

In a guest commentary published today, Bruce urges the global community to invest in targeted, evidence-based, scalable programs for real girls in real places. Improving the health, economic, and cognitive assets of adolescent girls will bring measurable, lasting change and guarantee the well-being and economic preparedness of the next generation.

Council Commentary

Focusing on Young People

The largest-ever generation of young people aged 15–24 is now making the transition from childhood to adulthood. Most of them—around 90%—live in developing countries, mostly in Asia and Africa. Achieving urgent global health and development goals will be impossible without determining their needs—particularly those of girls—and setting them on the path to a successful, productive adulthood.

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Council Commentary

Population Council Hosts UK Secretary of State in Zambia

Population Council Hosts UK Secretary of State in Zambia
Photo credit: Natalie Jackson/Population Council

On Wednesday, July 9th, the Right Honorable Justine Greening, UK Secretary of State for International Development, visited with girls participating in the Population Council’s Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (AGEP). AGEP is designed to find the best ways to improve girls’ social, health, and economic resources so that they can stay in school longer; avoid early marriage; delay sexual activity; and prevent unintended pregnancy, HIV, and other STIs. The project is led and being evaluated by the Population Council.

Later in the day, the Secretary of State delivered the keynote speech at Zambia’s regional symposium on ending child marriage. In her speech, she pledged UK support to lead international efforts to end child marriage within a generation.

The Council’s Ethiopia country director Annabel Erulkar is presenting at the symposium, which is taking place in advance of the UK’s Girl Summit 2014 in London on July 22nd.

Council Commentary

Celebrating Mother’s Day: Nurturing Maternal and Infant Health by Promoting Family Planning

On Mother’s Day, I think about the profound bond that’s formed between mothers and their infants. It begins in pregnancy (or even before) as a woman dreams about the baby she will have. At the time of birth, especially in the first hour and through the next weeks and months, the attachment takes hold as the new mother welcomes her baby and responds to his or her needs. It is a bond for life.

Throughout this process, a mother’s health influences her baby’s health, and optimizing a mother’s health begins before pregnancy. When planning her family, a woman may need to consider many factors, including whether she is emotionally, physically, and financially ready for a pregnancy. Being able to access a variety of safe and effective contraceptives and information about family planning is the first step toward safeguarding a woman’s health and that of her future baby.

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Council Commentary

Responding to Rana Plaza: A Made-in-Bangladesh Boycott Won’t Help Girls

The collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh a year ago killed more than 1,000 people and injured more than 2,500. Many of those injured and killed were migrant adolescent girls who were employed in a garment factory in the building. The tragedy drew attention to safety issues at Bangladesh garment factories and led some to call for boycotts of clothing made in Bangladesh.

Council researcher Sajeda Amin argues against a boycott, calling it a significant step back for the rights and livelihoods of girls and women, whose lives have been transformed by the opportunity to work. “Earning a wage helps young women prepare for a variety of life scenarios, balancing long-term and short-term goals,” Amin says in a blog on The Guardian’s adolescent girls hub. “Rather than risk the gains made by young women in Bangladesh, which were facilitated in large part by the garment industry, I recommend supporting initiatives that build upon these gains and expand opportunities for girls and young women.”

Council Commentary

Capitol Hill Briefing: Public Health Impact of Emerging Laws in Africa on the Possibility of an AIDS-Free Generation

Through PEPFAR and other US Government funding, significant progress has been made in slowing the spread of HIV and AIDS throughout Africa. However, US progress toward creating an AIDS-free future may be compromised by anti-LGBT laws recently passed in Uganda and Nigeria. These laws further marginalize populations at the highest risk of HIV infection  rendering them even harder to reach with prevention, care, and treatment services. The potential impact on the HIV epidemic is considerable.

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