Questions and Answers

We receive a wide variety of questions about our work. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions. We hope this provides the information you’re looking for! And if not, please feel free to contact us.

What is Pathfinder’s mission? 

Pathfinder International’s mission is to ensure that people everywhere have the right and opportunity to live a healthy sexual and reproductive life.

What we believe: Reproductive health is essential for creating better opportunities throughout life. When people take charge of their life choices such as when and how often to have children, they gain confidence and strength. They can better pursue their education, contribute to the local economy, and engage in their communities.

Pathfinder International places reproductive health services at the center of all that we do—believing that health care is not only a fundamental human right but is critical for expanding opportunities for women, families, communities, and nations, while paving the way for transformations in environmental stewardship, decreases in population pressures, and innovations in poverty reduction.

In more than 20 countries, Pathfinder provides women, men, and adolescents with a range of quality health services—from contraception and maternal care to HIV prevention and AIDS care and treatment. Pathfinder strives to strengthen access to family planning, ensure availability of safe abortion services, advocate for sound reproductive health policies, and, through all of our work, improve the rights and lives of the people we serve.

Who is on Pathfinder’s Executive Team? 

Pathfinder’s Executive Team includes eight members:

How many people work at Pathfinder? 

Pathfinder has a total staff of 1,033 people worldwide. We have 107 staff at our headquarters in Watertown, MA and 18 in our DC office. The remaining staff work in our offices in 22 countries.

Who is the Country Representative in the country where I live? How do I get in touch with him/her? 

Information about our Country Representatives can be found here. The best way to contact them is through our Contact Us page.

Where does Pathfinder work? 

Pathfinder works in a multitude of countries. Find out more about where we work:

  • Latin America: Brazil and Peru.
  • Africa: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda
  • Middle East: Egypt and Yemen
  • Asia and Pacific: Bangladesh, India, Viet Nam, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea

How do I partner with Pathfinder? 

Pathfinder has valued partnerships with governments, community groups, non-governmental organizations, and professional medical organizations around the world. You can find out more about our partners here.

I’m interested in a job at Pathfinder. Where can I find information about employment opportunities? 

We are always looking for great people to join our team! Employment opportunities can be found in our Careers section.

I want to help! What are ways I can get involved to make a difference? 

We are always thrilled to have people share our work and help us improve lives around the world. And there are plenty of ways to help! Check out our Get Involved section for ideas on everything from sharing a video to hosting a fundraiser.

Does Pathfinder provide direct services to clients? 

No, we do not provide direct services to clients in the sense of building and staffing separate clinics. Rather, our model is focused on providing local partners—government agencies or ministries, local non-governmental organizations, and private sector institutions—with technical assistance and financial support to help them deliver services through their existing health systems and activities. We also place great importance on community mobilization and support to foster and strengthen relationships between health systems and community systems.

What do you mean by technical assistance? 

Technical assistance encompasses a wide range of activities that are intended to enhance our partners’ expertise, expand their capacity to deliver services, and ensure the sustainability of their vital programs.

Areas of focus include developing and strengthening management skills and systems, building partners’ ability to mobilize communities, developing and conducting training programs for clinical and non-clinical health providers, including traditional providers, creating mechanisms for the involvement of local communities in improving health outcomes, developing innovative approaches to improve service delivery,” assisting with policy development in critical areas such as reproductive rights, HIV and AIDS, abortion, and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents. 

What is Pathfinder’s annual budget and funding sources? 

In fiscal year 2012, operating support and revenues totaled $101 million. The breakdown of funding sources is as follows:

  • 80% from the US government
  • 15% from private donations
  • 5% from multilaterals or foreign governments

How are those funds spent?

2012 expenditures were as follows:

  • 88% on programs and services
  • 11% on management and general administration
  • 1% on fundraising

Please see our Annual Reports and Financials page for more information.

What is your position on abortion?  

Pathfinder believes unsafe abortion is a critical public health and human rights issue. International statistics show that whether a woman lives or dies when seeking an abortion is largely dependent upon what part of the world she lives in, as well as the legality of the procedure. In the developed world, where nearly all abortions are safe and legal, a woman's risk of dying is minimal. In the developed world where access to modern contraceptives is greater, unintended pregnancies are reduced.  

Pathfinder believes in promoting access to quality reproductive health services. We work hard to reduce reliance on abortion by providing women with the means to safely control their fertility through expanded access to contraception. Still, the inability of the majority of women in developing countries to make decisions on issues of sex or reproduction, coupled with poor access to family planning services, means that safe abortion must be available.

Pathfinder believes that all women, no matter where they live, should have access to safe, legal abortion services. We also believe that comprehensive services include proper counseling to avoid future unintended pregnancies and subsequent abortions and to promote adoption of a contraception method. In countries where abortion is highly restricted, Pathfinder is committed to providing comprehensive postabortion care for women who experience complications from unsafe abortion.

What is the nature of the abortion work you do? 

Part of Pathfinder’s overall mission is to provide safe abortion care and postabortion care in the countries where we work. We are currently implementing abortion care programs in a range of countries, where we work within the legal specifications and local practicalities of each.

Pathfinder trains physicians and midlevel providers in the use of manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and medication abortion procedures. We also train providers in associated issues such as infection prevention, pain management, use of antibiotics, and the need for privacy, confidentiality, and informed consent.

Why give to Pathfinder? 

If you give to Pathfinder, your contribution will be well spent and your support will have a ripple effect. By giving to Pathfinder, you are helping us change attitudes and save lives. Your investment will have a lasting impact. Give to Pathfinder if you believe, as we do, that leadership takes courage, and that all people deserve access to sexual and reproductive health care. Find out more about why you should give to Pathfinder, and what your gift can mean to millions of women around the world.

How does Pathfinder compare to other non-profits? 

Pathfinder is deeply committed to remaining accountable and transparent. Our fiscal and programmatic performance has been approved and reviewed by several independent organizations.

Donors are invited to visit these organizations’ websites for assistance in evaluating Pathfinder's performance and efficiency. Pathfinder International has been listed and approved by several independent organizations that evaluate charities' fiscal and programmatic performance including the American Institute of Philanthropy, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Navigator.

Who founded Pathfinder? And why is it called Pathfinder? 

Pathfinder was founded by Clarence J. Gamble and his wife, Sarah B. Gamble, in 1957. Clarence J. Gamble, a medical doctor, worked to promote access to contraception and was devoted to reproductive health and rights. Sarah Gamble named the organization in honor of a quote by the poet Antonio Machado, "Traveler, there is no path, paths are made by walking." This quote alludes to our groundbreaking work to bring contraceptive information and services to wherever they are needed.


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