Giving Thanks to Nancy Tembo, Malawi’s Minister of Natural Resources
At Population Media Center, we fully understand some people are not much bothered by the current human load on the planet. Others feel passionately that population is not a priority issue for ecological sustainability. Efforts to create the conditions for population growth to slow down and stop are sometimes cast as naïve, unintelligent, or even worse. We proudly disagree.
Instead, we are inclined to respect the thoughts of leaders like Malawi’s Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Ms. Nancy Tembo. She spoke at the November 2021 Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP26) and had this to say:
“Malawi is highly populated, highly vulnerable to climate change — we have rapid population growth. This is a recipe for disaster.” She went on to say that, “Unless we address issues of reproductive health and population, we will not achieve anything… Addressing gender and population growth need to be at the center of climate mitigation and adaptation.”
Ms. Tembo’s remarks are perfectly aligned with PMC’s mission. Every PMC program addresses the rights of women and girls, including the right to reproductive health. There is no doubt that for global sustainability to be achieved, the promotion of gender equality must be ongoing and undeterred. How well a society treats its women is one of the strongest indicators of the success and health of a society. By providing girls with an education, ensuring women have a voice in family decisions, and providing women and their families with opportunities for economic freedom, we are building stronger, more sustainable future generations.
But, as Ms. Tembo’s remarks suggest, many women and girls live in societies that are deeply prejudiced against them. In these situations, they are often denied basic education, have little ability to generate individual income, and their reproductive health and rights — including decisions on whether, when and how many children to have — are practically non-existent.
Population Media Center counters these situations with a progressively oriented strategy built to create positive impact across several important human development domains. A large percentage of our programs air in partnership with creative teams in countries where reproductive health indicators are well below the global average.
We specialize in improving reproductive health, reproductive autonomy, and women’s and girl’s social status and self-determination. Within that framework, we work to destigmatize voluntary family planning, correct misinformation about the safety and efficacy of modern contraception, dismantle patriarchal opposition to contraception, and educate parents about the many health and economic benefits of smaller families.
Our proprietary, theory-driven entertainment programs use the power of role models and the universal love of stories to offer audiences new perspectives, new possibilities, and the sense that change is possible.
Our work is:
- In-line with the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG targets 3.7 and 5.6.
- Advances The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, specifically its call to meet the unmet needs in good quality family planning services and in contraception, and to increase knowledge and use of family planning and contraceptive methods — as well as increasing awareness among men of their responsibility in family planning and contraceptive methods and their use.
- Advances the Family Planning 2030’s vision for change, including “Voluntary modern contraceptive use by everyone who wants it, achieved through individuals’ informed choice and agency.”
- In-line with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) motion titled “Importance for the conservation of nature of removing barriers to rights-based voluntary family planning.
Most importantly, our work is in-line with the real needs of countries like Malawi. Today, we offer thanks to leaders like Ms. Nancy Tembo. In our opinion, her lived experience every day in her home country, as strongly expressed at COP26, should be the final ethical word on these issues.