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Dear Pathfinder Community,

This past year has been fraught with epic health challenges, economic hardships, and painful events—demonstrating the continued force of systemic racism and racial inequality. We have been called on as never before to face ourselves and work in solidarity to create a more just and equitable world.

This has been true since our founding 64 years ago. Since the beginning, we have fulfilled our mission by deploying local country teams who know the communities they serve. Embedded in the cultural and religious fabric of their communities and trusted partners to their local health systems, Pathfinders adapt in real time as crises unfold. They respond to the actual needs of women, girls, and the communities around them. This model has delivered incredible value over time—and never more so than this past year when Pathfinders supported the delivery of high-impact services as COVID-19 profoundly changed every way we lived and worked.

At Pathfinder, our work to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights is grounded in equity.

These urgent times call for us to move with speed and intention, ensuring our future reflects the insights and opportunities the pandemic has revealed. As Pathfinders, we want to shape the way sexual and reproductive health and rights work evolves and deepens in the years ahead—supporting resilient health systems that can continue to serve women and girls during crises.

To do this, we have expanded our Management Team, which now includes a broader representation of staff. The Management Team will incorporate a racial justice lens into its examination of our processes and structure. It will also continue to explore ways in which Pathfinder offices outside the US can have an even greater voice in decisions that affect them.

Our Board has turned a hard lens on itself, committing to transform from largely US-based and international nongovernmental organization representation to greater representation from countries in South Asia and Africa. We are actively seeking new members with deeper geopolitical perspectives, and increased geographical, racial, and professional diversity. We recently welcomed two superb new members to our Board:

Dr. Kavita Patel

is a primary care physician and policy expert, with appointments at the Brookings Institution and the Bipartisan Policy Center.

She serves as an advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services, and during the Obama administration, played a critical role in health care reform.

Dr. Priya Agrawal

is an obstetrician and gynecologist and global women’s health expert. She is currently Managing Director for Merck in South Africa and a Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization. Dr. Agrawal’s work has been recognized by the Harvard School of Public Health, the Trent Cancer Registry in the United Kingdom, and the National Patient Safety Agency, and she was recently honored with the Forbes Impact Award in Advocacy.

Our plan is to continue to add additional Board members in the coming months as we refresh our governance and meeting practices. 2020 has been one of the most challenging years imaginable, but it has also provided significant opportunities for positive change. I am tremendously proud that as Pathfinders we are poised to meet this moment by working together to advance equity within our organization and around the world.

Roslyn M. Watson, Board Chair

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