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#NextGenerationIsNow: Coming Together to Elevate Young Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Leaders

Now is the time to ensure young leaders are resourced, engaged as co-leaders, and positioned for success.

Media Contact: Laurel Lundstrom, [email protected]

Washington, DC, September 23, 2021—Pathfinder International, Girl Up, the Guttmacher Institute, and Women Deliver are thrilled to announce the launch of #NextGenerationIsNow, a year-long campaign that will elevate young sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) leaders. Through continued discussion and amplification of young leaders, the campaign aims to promote global, multi-sectoral, and multi-generational conversations; drive increased resources for youth-led solutions; and, call for the inclusion and co-leadership of young people as key stakeholders during policy-making decisions. 

“We are grateful for this powerful new partnership that is supporting today’s young leaders with the tools and allies they need to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights for generations to come.”

– Lois Quam, President and CEO, Pathfinder International 

Many young people face huge barriers to accessing the SRHR services they want and need. Out of 32 million adolescent girls and young women aged 15–19 in low- and middle-income countries who want to avoid a pregnancy, 14 million have an unmet need for modern contraception—that is, they want to avoid a pregnancy but are not using or do not have access to a modern method. At the same time, young leaders working to address the SRHR issues that affect them lack the support, resources, and information they need to successfully drive new solutions. More than half of the world’s population is under 351, and over the next two decades they will represent the majority of decision-makers. It is vital young leaders have the tools they need now to close SRHR gaps for generations to come.

“Young people possess the experience and expertise to forge solutions to the challenges that affect them and their communities. By amplifying the voices of young leaders, we can help elevate them to positions of influence and power. Women Deliver is proud to join this impactful partnership to help young leaders speak up, challenge norms, collaborate, and build networks to advance their SRHR. When young people are meaningfully engaged in decision-making, they change not only their own lives, but also the systems in which their lives are situated.”

– Kathleen Sherwin, Interim President & CEO, Women Deliver

Recognizing this challenge and building from commitments made alongside young people and SRHR during the Generation Equality Forum, Pathfinder International, Girl Up, Guttmacher Institute, and Women Deliver have come together to launch the #NextGenerationIsNow campaign. Through the campaign, partners will provide platforms—across events, social media, and partner networks—for young SRHR leaders from around the world to drive conversations with SRHR stakeholders and ensure their voices are heard at key policy windows and advocacy opportunities during global conveinings and commemorative days.  

We will launch the campaign during a kickoff event at the UN General Assembly titled,  “#NextGenerationIsNow: How Young Leaders Are Increasing Access to Contraception.” Young leaders will take the stage at this event with a dynamic panel and a fireside chat with a Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition leader, ARROW. 

“We must ensure the voices of young people, particularly from the Global South, are taken into consideration when making policy decisions and that interventions are evidence based with funding that is sustainable and cost-effective.”

– Chioma Okafor, Member, Pathfinder Acacia Circle  

In addition to SRHR, young leaders will focus on other pressing global issues, including the impacts of COVID-19 and intersections between climate and health.  

We’re calling for allies—including peer organizations, governments, and the private sector—to show your commitment to elevating the voices and needs of young SRHR champions. Learn more about how to become a partner in this movement.

We’re also calling young SRHR activists to connect with us! Tag #NextGenerationIsNow across social media and throughout campaign events to make your voice heard, or sign up here to join our list and stay up to date on ways to get involved.  

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Pathfinder International is driven by the conviction that all people, regardless of where they live, have the right to decide whether and when to have children, to exist free from fear and stigma, and to lead the lives they choose. As a global health organization with locally led, community-driven programs, we support women to make their own reproductive health decisions. We work with local partners to advance contraceptive services, comprehensive abortion care, and young people’s sexual and reproductive rights in communities around the world—including those affected by poverty, conflict, climate change, and natural disasters. Taken together, our programs enable millions of people to choose their own paths forward. 

Girl Up is a global leadership development initiative, positioning girls to be leaders in the movement for gender equality. With resources in six languages and 4,000 Girl Up Clubs in nearly 125 countries, we’ve trained 75,000 girls of all backgrounds to create tangible change for girls everywhere. Girl Up provides leadership training and gives girls tools to become gender equality advocates and activists. Through our programs, girls broaden their social impact skill set, benefit from a platform to tell their stories, and apply STEM for social good. Our girl leaders create real policy change at local and national levels, help raise millions of dollars to support United Nations programs that reach tens of thousands of girls around the world and build community-based movements. Girl Up was founded by the United Nations Foundation in 2010 and continues to work across a global community of partners to achieve gender equality worldwide.

Guttmacher Institute is a leading research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) worldwide. The Institute envisions a future in which all people can realize their rights and access the resources they need to achieve sexual and reproductive health. This vision is aligned with a progressive and evidence-based definition of SRHR, grounded in human rights, which holds that sexual and reproductive health is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity but a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in all aspects of sexuality and reproduction. 

Women Deliver is a leading global advocate that champions gender equality and the health and rights of girls and women, in all their intersecting identities. Our advocacy drives investment—political and financial—in the lives of girls and women worldwide. We harness evidence and unite diverse voices to spark commitment to gender equality. And we get results. Anchored in sexual and reproductive health, we advocate for the rights of girls and women across every aspect of their lives. We know that investing in girls and women will deliver progress for all.