Media Coverage

Slate: US Defunding UNFPA Endangers ‘Some of the Most Effective Women’s Health Programs In The World’ Like Council’s Abriendo Oportunidades in Guatemala

In a feature for Slate, Christina Cauterucci addresses the recent decision to cut US funding for UNFPA and examines the potential impact on vulnerable adolescent girls in Guatemala.

Drawing on her conversations with youth mentors in the Council’s Abriendo Oportunidades program, Cauterucci writes that many told her that “they’d never had any education on menstruation, sexual violence, or preventing unwanted pregnancies until they joined Abriendo Oportunidades in their early 20s and learned the curriculum they’d be teaching adolescent girls in their towns.”

UNFPA and the programs it supports are “integral divers of health and empowerment for girls and women.”                  

“Population Council research has demonstrated the impact of Abriendo Oportunidades, which has reached 14,000 girls in hundreds of Guatemalan communities. A 2007 assessment found that girls given leadership roles in the program were 12 points more likely to finish sixth grade and 19 points more likely to avoid pregnancy than the national average. This success comes despite its already lean budget—in 2012, the total cost per girl per hour of education was $1.02—and any cuts will have an immediate impact on its reach and efficacy. 'It is too early to know what exact effects the funding cuts will have for the thousands of girls who participate in Abriendo Oportunidades program,' Paola Broll, an Abriendo Oportunidades program officer said in a statement. 'However, what is clear is that decision to pull support from the UNFPA jeopardizes many life-saving and life-improving programs like Abriendo Oportunidades for vulnerable girls and women in Guatemala and around the world.'”

Read more at Slate.