Reproductive health information and services are fundamental to health, well-being and opportunities for women and young people. Yet throughout the world, women and youth do not have access to quality reproductive health care. Gender inequity, societal norms, culture wars and the priorities of policy-makers all contribute to these health disparities. More than 220 million women worldwide want, but do not have, access to modern contraceptives. Far too many girls under the age of 18 marry and begin bearing children. The majority of unsafe abortions occur in the developing world. All of these factors contribute to the nearly 290,000 maternal deaths each year. There are now more young people than ever before in world history, most of whom are in the developing world, and they do not have access to the sexual and reproductive health information and services they need and want. To improve their wellbeing on all fronts—social, economic, psychological, health—they will need reproductive health care along with opportunities such as education and employment. Our ability as a global community to meet the reproductive health needs of our women and youth will impact the course of their lives.
The Packard Foundation’s funding in this program area supports efforts to expand access to and improve the quality of essential services, including comprehensive sexuality education, voluntary family planning/contraception, and safe abortion. We focus our efforts in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the United States. In each region, we make grants to strengthen service delivery, build leadership and advocacy capacity, and shift social and cultural norms that prevent women and youth from seeking the services they need to make healthy reproductive decisions. We use the evidence and experience we collect to forge partnerships with global research and advocacy organizations, especially youth-led networks, and to shape the discourse at the regional and global levels.
The Change We Seek
The Population and Reproductive Health program seeks to promote women’s reproductive health and rights and to stabilize population growth. The health and well-being of women, youth and their families improves when they have access to reproductive health information and services. In turn, when women and families are healthy, their communities are stronger, economic opportunities are greater and countries can better meet the needs of their people.
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