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Women Deliver 2019: Power. Progress. Change.

A living mural painted by conference attendees depicting their ideas of power. Advocates sharing their stories on the PowerTalks stage. Groups speaking in every language from Spanish to Swahili. A performance by the Indigenous people whose land the conference was hosted on. Conversations and connections and laughter.

Welcome to Women Deliver, the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women in the 21st century.

From June 3-6, 2019, twenty-eight Pathfinders from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, India, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, and the United States participated in Women Deliver, in Vancouver, Canada.

Throughout four days of plenaries, breakout sessions, networking, performances, and even a street fair, Pathfinders engaged in the conference theme of power, progress, and change; exploring how our mission is at the heart of creating change and driving progress.

It was a packed week for our team, with sessions starting as early as six in the morning and going until ten pm. Our Pathfinder booth was a crowd favorite with its interactive #ThePowerOf photobooth, complete with contraceptive props and a steady dose of empowerment!

Pathfinder was everywhere: Estrella Alcalde, Project Director in Mozambique, delivered a moving PowerTalk about empowering adolescent girls and young women in Mozambique to exercise sexual and reproductive health rights, including access to contraception, live free from sexual and gender based violence, and choose when and whom to marry.

Dr. Kidest Lulu, Deputy Country Director in Ethiopia, presented a poster exploring Pathfinder Ethiopia’s work on gender mainstreaming in the health sector; our PHE (Population, Health, and Environment) Advisor from Uganda, Modest Kinawa, shared how our PHE work uses integrated approaches to empower women while also adapting to the degraded natural resources of the Lake Victoria Basin.

We hosted a standing-room only conversation on the lessons learned from some of the largest family planning programs, including our own Evidence to Action Project, USAID’s global flagship for strengthening family planning and reproductive health service delivery. After opening remarks by Rita Badiani, E2A’s Project Director and Ellen Starbird, Director of USAID’s office of Population and Reproductive Health, the discussion reviewed past successes and challenges and what must be done next to reach global family planning goals. Representing E2A was Technical Director, Eric Ramirez-Ferrero.

We participated in the Midwifery symposium, and two events on cervical cancer prevention. Dr. Mengistu Asnake was featured on WD Live—broadcast inside and outside the conference! Tricia Petruney, project director for Act With Her, contributed to a plenary session about improving the lives of women and girls through holistic and integrated programming.

The week was significant for our industry. We united with thousands of women’s equality, health, and rights leaders of all ages from hundreds of countries to ensure that we are standing up for women everywhere. Our Pathfinders invested every spare moment in forging innovative partnerships with people and organizations who share our values. Together, we can reach those who need us the most, faster and more effectively. Thanks to all who visited our booth and attended sessions featuring Pathfinder, and thank you for reading about our favorite moments. The work ahead of us is not easy, but we left Vancouver inspired and even more prepared to champion sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world.