4 Innovations That Are Reducing the Shame of Menstruation

By Noha Zeitoun, Content Intern, PSI Finally, a women’s cycle has made the news cycle. For roughly 250 million adolescent girls in the world living in poverty, having a period means having to carry a heavy burden of shame. In addition, a shortage of sufficient clean water, toilets and sanitary products in schools can limit their

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Access to Contraception

From St. Louis to Liberia, Myths About Youth and LARCs Persist

By Andrea Mooney, Communications and Knowledge Management Advisor, PSI and Rena Greifinger, Technical Advisor, PSI As Massa Harris passionately addressed the crowd at the “For Youth, a Healthy Option With LARCs” symposium, she spoke about the difficulties young Liberians face in accessing contraception. “So many things stop young people from accessing family planning,” she said. “Lack of information, lack of

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Supporting Sexual Assault Survivors in Zimbabwe

By Kumbirai Chatora, Director of Social Marketing, PSI Zimbabwe April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month to raise awareness about sexual violence and engage communities on how to prevent it. According to the WHO, an average of 30% of women globally who have been in a relationship report having experienced some form of physical or sexual

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4 Critical Ways to Thwart the Spread of AIDS Among Teens in Africa

Last week, a coalition of leading global health organizations came together last week to launch a new platform aimed at the number one killer of adolescents in Africa: AIDS. “AIDS is the leading cause of death among adolescents in Africa. Globally, two thirds of all new infections among adolescents were among adolescent girls. This is

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When Girls Matter Everything Changes

By Oscar Abello When journalist Holly Gordon started researching the best interventions to solve poverty today, she and her team weren’t looking for a gender-specific or sector-specific solution. But they couldn’t avoid one: girls’ education, which became the clarion call in the documentary Gordon’s organization of the same name ultimately produced, Girl Rising. Gordon, now

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The economic case for contraceptive choice

By Karl Hofmann, president & CEO, PSI The headlines from India last November seemed anachronistic: “Web of Incentives in Fatal Indian Sterilizations” and “Deaths Put Spotlight on Indian Sterilization Camps”. The days of forced sterilisation must be behind us, aren’t they? Isn’t demographic pressure taking care of itself in the 21st century, through economic growth

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Tampax, toilets and shark tanks

Inspired by the ABC reality TV show Shark Tank, PSI’s corporate partnerships team recently conducted its own version of the contest. Teams of PSI staffers presented five ideas to three judges, Sumathi Balasubramanian, senior manager, initiatives for girls and women, PSI; Marcie Cook, senior regional director, Asia and Eastern Europe, PSI; and Adeeb Mahmud, director, FSG. The

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Action to #BringBackOurGirls


Over 270 Nigerian girls between 15 and 18 years old were kidnapped from their school two weeks ago by Boko Haram militants, a terrorist group whose name translates to “Western education is sinful.” The school’s principal, Hajiya Asabe Ali Kwambula, told the New York Times yesterday that 53 girls managed to escape while 223 are still missing. The girls have reportedly been taken to a terrorist camp deep in the forest, although new reports have come in this week from remote villages that some of the girls have been “auctioned off to Boko Haram members for 2,000 Naira” — about $12 — for forced “marriages” or sex slavery.

Nigerians have been holding mass protests this week calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to deploy every means possible to find the girls. You can join the international call to action to bring back the girls by supporting two petitions that have been building momentum.

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Contraception changes everything


Access to contraception is something we often take for granted in the United States. But 222 million women in the developing world – who have an unmet need for contraception – still can’t get it. How can contraception radically change their worlds?

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The Top 10 Global Health Moments in 2013

By Karl Hofmann, President & CEO, PSI


The end of each year provides the opportunity to reflect on what transpired and what was accomplished. Global health saw plenty of victories and setbacks in 2013. Drug resistant TB, slowing donor funding, new outbreaks of polio and a devastating typhoon showed how easily progress can stall.

Amid these challenges emerged a changing global health landscape. The old way of doing things is now, more than ever, on its way out. In the next five years, the range of actors that are engaging and making a difference in addressing global health issues will continue to broaden and expand, even as the underlying health challenges narrow, and as The Lancet recently described, converge.

The infrastructure that developed over the last 50 years to tackle global development – the United Nations, donor agencies, international NGOs, other intermediaries and host governments – now finds itself working more and more with corporations, impact investors, next generation philanthropists, and socially networked individuals. This burgeoning ecosystem of development actors generates unprecedented attention and potential resources to address global poverty. Getting the roles right for these and other players might have a lot to do with whether we can end extreme poverty during our lifetime.

These are our top 10 moments for global health in 2013. Top 10 lists inevitably leave lots out. What did our global health and development leaders miss? Let us know what you think and share a few of your predictions for 2014.

1. Typhoon Haiyan

We include Haiyan not only for the unimaginable devastation it caused but as a reminder that when the media attention wanes and the world moves on, the health needs of the people affected will still be great.

“We will continue to serve these communities’ immediate needs, as well as long-term needs including child and maternal health; nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene; and mental health services.” – Nancy A. Aossey, President & CEO of International Medical Corps

2. Malala Yousafzai’s Ripple Effect on Family Planning

The impact of Malala Yousafzai’s efforts on education is obvious, less so is the impact she will have on the reproductive health of girls and women. If Malala has her way, girls will not only be better educated, they will have healthier families, build stronger communities and contribute to more robust economies.

3. Polio Movement Celebrates Successes, Faces Setbacks

The world is watching how the polio community will overcome conflict and violence to eradicate polio by 2018.

4. Global Leaders Show Unprecedented Support for Maternal and Child Health

In September, The World Bank, UNICEF, USAID, Norway committed $1.15 billion over the next three years to advance progress toward Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, and to get essential services and medicines to women and children who need them most.

5. Women Philanthropists Align for Health and Rights of Girls and Women

Women philanthropists are catalysts for new, innovative ways to deliver life-saving health products that will improve the lives of girls and women throughout the world. They are engaged and here to stay.

6. Gender-based Violence Movement Sees Tipping Point

World leaders acted on their commitments to eliminate gender-based violence, signaling a tipping point in the fight. Momentum is behind the movement. This is an issue to watch in 2014.

7. Under Mark Dybul’s Leadership, the Global Fund Is Back and Better than Ever

An impressive level of financial commitment from existing and new donor governments sends a strong signal.

8. Global USAID-Walmart Partnership Solidifies Long-Developing Trend

Public-private partnerships are not new. It is the magnitude of USAID’s partnership with Walmart that made us stand up and take notice.

9. Drug Resistance Threatens TB Progress, New Drugs Show Promise

By many measures the world is making great progress against TB – the rate of new cases has fallen worldwide and new drugs are in development – yet drug resistance seriously threatens that progress.

10. Women Deliver Conference Secures Bold Commitments for Girls and Women

More than 5,000 people gathered at Women Deliver in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to promote the health of girls and women, adding additional momentum to what economists, government donors, philanthropists conclude: when you invest in the health of girls and women, you lift.

Read the latest edition of PSI’s Impact Magazine here.

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Birth Control is Good for the Economy. Here’s How.

“For every $1 we invest in family planning, we save $4 in other areas like education, public health, and water and sanitation,” says the  Population Action International. A new inforgraphic from PAI shows just how much birth control can support the global economy (beyond its obvious benefits for women, girls, children and family).


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Sec State Kerry Welcomes International Family Planning Conference Attendees

US Secretary of State couldn’t make it to Addis Ababa for the International Family Planning Conference, but he did send along this recorded message. Watch him here and read what he said below:

Good afternoon. I’d like to welcome the thousands of you from governments around the world, NGOs, public and private organizations, and elsewhere, who are taking part in the third biennial International Family Planning Conference. I’m really sorry that I couldn’t be with you in person in Addis Ababa, but I want to tell you that, as both the U.S. Secretary of State and the father of two extraordinary young women, I am exceedingly grateful for your hard work and dedication to this cause. Millions of women, men, and children have better lives today thanks to the work that many of you have done for decades.

In 1994, when I was a U.S. Senator, I attended the historic International Conference on Population and Development. What was clear back then is still clear today: that challenges like reproductive health care and family planning are bigger than the political boxes that some try to force them into. These are basic human necessities that hundreds of millions of women are forced to go without. For some, it’s because they can’t afford or don’t have access to these services. For others, it’s because their husbands or their communities simply don’t support their use.

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