News & Views

From Our Partners

Guest Commentary: HIV and Adolescent Girls and Young Women

The Population Council is conducting the world’s largest body of research on ways to improve the lives of adolescent girls in the developing world. For more than 25 years, the Council has developed and evaluated innovative programs and systems to increase access to quality reproductive health and HIV services and reduce the vulnerabilities that can increase girls’ lifetime risk for HIV and AIDS. Council research shows that if we can reach girls early, keep them safe and in school, and give them critical skills and information and a say in their own lives, they will be on the path to a safer, healthier adulthood. 

A new global commitment to address the various factors that increase girls’ risk for HIV infection and help keep them safe from HIV was announced in 2014. We asked Janet Fleischman of CSIS to comment on what she thinks of this heightened response and what’s needed to keep adolescent girls HIV free.


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From Our Partners

Using Data to Describe Why Schoolgirls Get Pregnant

Earlier this year, Population Council researcher Stephanie Psaki asked, “Does getting pregnant cause girls to drop out of school?” The question has far-reaching implications for international development interventions for adolescent girls. In a new Devex commentary, Audrey Anderson of Plan International USA describes a digital data collection initiative in two districts in Indonesia to prepare for a Plan International program addressing adolescent reproductive health and life skills. Using “Girl Roster,” a digital mapping tool developed by the Population Council, Anderson found different reasons for adolescent pregnancy in the two districts, illustrating the need for interventions that are tailored to the needs of girls in different contexts.

From Our Partners

Engaging Adolescents, Parents, and the Community to Change Inequitable Gender Norms in Rural Nepal

This post is part of a blog series on evidence generated through the Population Council’s RISING program. RISING uses implementation science, evidence review, and organizational grants to build knowledge about what works in adolescent girls programming. The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Population Council. Please direct any questions to Brad Kerner.

In Nepal, Save the Children and Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) are piloting and evaluating a package of programs called CHOICES, VOICES, and PROMISES that seek to challenge and change restrictive gender norms among very young adolescents by intervening at the levels of the individual, the family, and the community. The programs were developed by Save the Children in Nepal, where there are high rates of early marriage and gender based violence.

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From Our Partners

Improving Girls’ Lives—What Works Best

This post is part of a blog series on evidence generated through the Population Council’s RISING program. RISING uses implementation science, evidence review, and organizational grants to build knowledge about what works in adolescent girls programming. The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Population Council. Please direct any questions to Jeffrey Edmeades.

Recent studies have shown that girl-focused programs can be very effective in expanding girls’ ability to make strategic life choices by providing them with access to critical resources. Understanding what type of programs or program components work best in addressing the unique needs and challenges adolescent girls face is the focus of the RISING program. Making girl-centered programming more effective through rigorous examination of which programs have the greatest impact in improving the lives of girls worldwide will provide critically important guidance for programmers going forward.

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From Our Partners

If Young Girls Had Access to Small Savings Accounts Would They Be More Likely to Stay in School?

This post is part of a blog series on evidence generated through the Population Council’s RISING program. RISING uses implementation science, evidence review, and organizational grants to build knowledge about what works in adolescent girls programming. The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Population Council. Please direct any questions to Shelley Clark.

It’s been encouraging over the past generation to see a new emphasis on education, and particularly girls’ education, as a priority in development programs. But even with ambitious initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals, this emphasis is mostly on primary education. Real progress in girls’ primary education hasn’t been matched by progress at higher levels. In Ghana, for example, while nearly all girls now complete primary school, only 20 percent earn their diplomas from secondary school.

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From Our Partners

Addressing Child Marriage in Zambia

Forty-two percent of Zambian girls are married before they turn 18, robbing them of their education, health, and future.

A new short documentary by Girls Not Brides highlights how the Population Council is partnering with communities to empower adolescent girls.

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From Our Partners

Children by Choice, not Chance: Bayer’s Contribution to Sustainable Access to Contraceptives

This post is part of a monthly blog series profiling viewpoints from leaders in reproductive health who are members of the Bellagio Group on Long-Acting Reversible Contraception. The Bellagio Group is a coalition of experts who convene annually to discuss practices for expanding contraceptive choice and accelerating progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of universal access to reproductive health services. This post represents the views of the authors, and is not a representation of the Population Council or the Bellagio Group. Please direct any questions to the author at klaus.brill@bayer.com.

The United Nations formulated it clearly: Family planning is a fundamental right of every human being. It is an important step toward breaking the cycle of poverty—for women, their families, and for their communities. Yet much remains to be done before the right to self-determined family planning can be fully realized. According to estimates, more than 220 million women in developing countries don’t wish to become pregnant, yet are not using modern contraception.

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From Our Partners

The Manufacturer’s Perspective: Stronger Supply Chains and Forecasting for Improved Access and Reproductive Choice

This post is part of a monthly blog series profiling viewpoints from leaders in reproductive health who are members of the Bellagio Group on Long-Acting Reversible Contraception. The Bellagio Group is a coalition of experts who convene annually to discuss practices for expanding contraceptive choice and accelerating progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of universal access to reproductive health services. This post represents the views of the authors, and is not a representation of the Population Council or the Bellagio Group. Please direct any questions to the author at maggie.kohn@merck.com

Affordability is often considered one of the biggest barriers to accessing medicines and medical technologies, including contraceptives. But ensuring that a full range of medicines and technologies are universally accessible takes more than just an affordable price; it requires an interconnected web of partners within and outside a national health system who share a commitment to reaching men and women with the supplies they need, when and where they need them.

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From Our Partners

Contraception: Why Access, Choice, and Price Matter

This post is part of a monthly blog series profiling viewpoints from leaders in reproductive health who are members of the Bellagio Group on Long-Acting Reversible Contraception. The Bellagio Group is a coalition of experts who convene annually to discuss practices for expanding contraceptive choice and accelerating progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of universal access to reproductive health services. This post represents the views of the authors, and is not a representation of the Population Council or the Bellagio Group. Please direct any questions to the author at vhale@medicines360.org.  

When we talk about challenges in the realm of family planning, we may often speak of countries with high fertility rates or places where women must have their husband’s permission to use contraception. It is easy to forget that it was only in 1965 that the US Supreme Court legalized the oral contraceptive pill for married women and 1972 that the Court legalized oral contraceptives for unmarried women.

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