Pathfinder's Marcos Arevalo recently met with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky to speak about our work influencing Angolan policy makers to invest in family planning in Angola, where only 6 percent of women are using a modern contraceptive method.
Pathfinder often brings together field staff and US Government officials, putting a face to US foreign assistance. Here, Dr. Rajiv Shah, head of USAID, speaks with Margaret Makumi, Deputy Director of Pathfinder’s USAID-funded APHIA II project in Nairobi.
A volunteer motivates her neighbors to join “Egyptian Women Speak Out,” a program that imparts communication skills women can use with their husbands, and also helps them develop ideas for income-generating projects.
At home and abroad, Pathfinder collaborates with coalitions to promote positive policy change and serve as watchdogs to policy implementation. In Mozambique, Pathfinder is leading a coalition that advocates for decriminalization of abortion with Parliament.
In India, young people speak to a local leader, demanding that he enforce laws prohibiting child marriage. Pathfinder works to amplify the voices of youth, providing opportunities for them to engage with policymakers to defend their health and rights.
In Pakistan, Pathfinder collaborates with governments to increasing the number of community health workers trained in numerous aspects of family planning counseling, information dissemination, and door-to-door service delivery.
Pathfinder's advocacy is focused on improving the US and global political environment for sexual and reproductive health programs. As part of our work, Pathfinder provides timely information to policymakers and key constituencies about the importance of sexual and reproductive health services. Pathfinder utilizes research findings, data, and programmatic expertise to advocate for policies and budgeting decisions that promote the best public health practices.
Pathfinder has three key areas of advocacy work:
In the United States, Pathfinder is known as one of the few US Government-supported organizations that actively promotes a progressive sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda. Using private donor support, Pathfinder advocates with US decision-makers for support of international family planning and reproductive health assistance.
Pathfinder has advocated for the reversal of harmful policies and when necessary, has challenged those policies. Pathfinder brought the US Government to court over restrictions put in place by the Global Gag Rule. The courts recognized the right for US-based nongovernmental organizations to use their private funds without any government interference. It also clarified that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is permitted to provide support for postabortion care services.
Pathfinder continues to stand strong in opposition to domestic efforts that constrain sexual and reproductive health and rights. This is particularly important since the United States is a leading donor for family planning and reproductive health programs worldwide. US foreign assistance policies-under which Pathfinder and our local partners operate-not only set the stage for US funding, but for other international commitments, as well.
Globally, advocacy is urgently needed to accelerate progress on delivering sexual and reproductive health services to the hardest to reach and most marginalized populations. In the first decade of the new millennium, sexual and reproductive health and rights-and especially family planning-suffered a loss of momentum in both funding and priority. It is just now catching up, but there is a long way to go. Pathfinder's leadership and active participation in multiple global coalitions and task forces enables us to amplify our voice to inform and influence multi-lateral institutions, such as the UN and World Bank, and to influence and advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda.
Pathfinder's field advocacy is focused on supporting and mobilizing our field offices to advocate for better sexual and reproductive health and rights policies and programs within their respective countries. Pathfinder works to improve governmental policies and to support local civil society organizations to become engaged in and influence national and international policy debates. Field advocacy is crucial to improving the health and lives of the people Pathfinder serves in the countries where we work.