In family planning, no one-size-fits-all approach
What’s your vision for the family planning program at the Gates Foundation? As the new director of family planning, what new accents are you hoping to set?
Our strategy is focused on driving forward the momentum needed to reach our ultimate goal: universal access to voluntary family planning. While this is our North Star, the FP2020 goal – increasing access to contraceptives for 120 million women by the year 2020 – is what I feel we, collectively, must hold ourselves accountable to in the near term to accelerate this momentum.
In my new role, my sight is set on identifying areas in which we are uniquely positioned to play a catalytic role. To uncover these opportunities, I have asked my team to cut ties to conventional mindsets, up our collaboration quotient, and foster greater transparency and accountability. We will also turn to our partners to ask what catalytic role they think we should be playing.
While there are many areas in which I feel we can have a greater impact, I am particularly excited about two potential opportunities: building a body of evidence on how to reach youth with family planning services, and sparking a data revolution. In my mind, the two go hand in hand.
Women and girls ages 10-24 represent more than 45 percent of the population that will be of reproductive age by 2020. Surprisingly, very little evidence exists on what strategies work for reaching young people. I am committed to generating evidence that increases our understanding of the behaviors and attitudes of young women so we can design programs that meet their needs. Understanding how to reach this demographic is critical to achieving our ultimate goal of universal access.
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