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The world is changing and we have a clear path

By Collin Mothupi, Pathfinder Board Chair

As the new Board Chair of Pathfinder International, I couldn’t be more excited about our direction, our energy, and our commitment to serving the reproductive health needs of women and girls around the globe.

I am a son of Africa, a refugee, and now a healthcare business leader in the United States. I cherish every moment of my life and experience. I want to give back to the world, to make it a better place. That is why I love Pathfinder. My mission is Pathfinder’s mission: to mobilize communities most in need to break through barriers and forge their own path to a healthier future.

The world has been a chaotic place the last few years, no more so than for those citizens who live in the 20 countries where we live, work, and serve our local communities. The global pandemic, political unrest, climatic, and economic strains have added even more pressure on the lives of everyone. For girls and women, these days have been even more challenging.

Our role to change lives, unlock human potential, and create more opportunity for girls, women, and their communities through better health and reproductive freedom has never been more vital or necessary. I am happy to report that Pathfinder is ready for today’s heightened challenges and I am confident that Pathfinder will meet the times in which we live.

My confidence is based on the strength of our leadership, the perseverance of and contributions of Pathfinder, and the values we live and work by. Over the past five years, Pathfinder’s CEO, Lois Quam, has helped to shift Pathfinder clearly and decisively toward a service model that is more country led.

Pathfinder’s past two Board Chairs I have had the opportunity to serve with have worked to advance Pathfinder’s current mission and create a stronger and more resilient organization. Richard Berkowitz, a noted OB-GYN physician, laid the foundation for greater country leadership through the launch of the “One Pathfinder” initiative – an effort to invest in employee empowerment, skill training, and leadership.

Our immediate past Board Chair, Roslyn Watson, a business leader from Boston, worked to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusivity in our leadership structure and teams around the world. This includes a Global Leadership Council made up of representatives of the regions where we work, the most diverse board in our history, and policies and systems that further gender equity and inclusion.

Our 1,300 staff globally have stepped up to help us deliver extraordinary results under difficult circumstances. Over the past two years, we’ve worked with public health systems around the world to ensure women have access to the essential reproductive health care they need, despite a global pandemic. We’ve had to be creative and nimble, deploying new digital technologies, working closely with local partners, and responding to a pandemic while strengthening health systems to be resilient in the face of future shocks and emergencies. Balancing all of this while also prioritizing the health and well-being of those same staff responsible for this incredible work. Pathfinder has never been more relevant in the context of today’s challenges.

This is Pathfinder’s 65th anniversary year, and it’s something to celebrate. We’ve evolved over time to be a truly rights-based organization—one that supports even the most marginalized communities to lead lives of their own choosing. We continue to adjust as we celebrate our 65th year. We will take this opportunity as a time to examine our past—openly and with great sensitivity—and explore the most impactful way forward to meet the needs of the communities we serve. I very much look forward to playing my part in walking this path.