Youth Engagement In Family Planning Programs, Advocacy Essential To Reach FP2020 Goal

Global Health NOW: Family Planning, Future Planning
Jose G. “Oying” Rimon II, director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health and senior scientist in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“Engaging young people in family planning programs and advocacy is essential to achieving the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) goal of enabling 120 million more women and girls to have voluntary access to contraceptives by 2020. … Why is it so important to engage youth? For one thing, the world’s population of young people (between the ages of 10 and 24) is at a historic high, with the majority — nearly 90 percent — living in the developing world. We know that approximately 16 million adolescent girls ([between] 15 and 19 years old), mostly in low- and middle-income countries, give birth each year; complications during pregnancy and childbirth are a leading cause of death for girls in this age range. … There has been concern that as the older cohort is aging out of the field, there may not be a critical mass of up-and-coming leaders to take over. 120 Under 40 [a competition that the Gates Institute launched last year to shine a spotlight on young family planning champions worldwide] gives us a way to draw attention to these young leaders driving the field forward, and to provide them with a platform for their voice and a grant of $1,000 to continue their work…” (9/28).