The western African nation of Niger is one of the poorest countries on earth. It also has one of the highest fertility rates in the world, and an extremely low rate of contraceptive use among the population who needs it most — young women.
In rural Niger there are millions of girls like "Fatiya".
At the age of 15 Fatiya was forced to leave her home and school to marry a much older man from a neighboring village.
Now Fatiya is at the bottom of the household's hierarchy. Below her husband, mother-in-law, and multiple older co-wives.
She is being pressured to prove her fertility with early and frequent childbirth.
Fatiya, like most girls in Niger, has entered a cycle of early & frequent childbearing, poor health & malnutrition, and risk of early death.
And like most young married girls in Niger, her future is not hers to choose.
But it doesn't have to be this way. The power of contraception can mean the difference between life & death & hope for a better future.
Regional & National governments implement policies & strategies that support young people’s sexual & reproductive rights.
Healthcare providers are trained to give high-quality services for contraception, maternal &newborn care without judgment or bias.
Girls get encouragement from their mother-in-law and co-wives.
Girls get encouragement from local and religious leaders who have significant influence over their lives.
Girls get encouragement from a support group of their peers.
Girls get encouragement from their husbands. The couple needs counseling to improve spousal communication and encourage joint decision-making on household matters — including contraceptive use.
Pathfinder works with local governments, communities, and health systems in Niger to improve access to contraception, promote healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, and save the lives of young mothers and their newborns.
With these powerful support systems in place, Fatiya and girls like her across the developing world are finding their voices. They are taking control of their health and futures.
Worldwide, more than 3 million unintended pregnancies were averted through Pathfinder’s contraception programs this year, including those in Niger.7
For more than 10 years, we’ve pioneered contraceptive programs for young married women and first-time parents.Learn More