Illinois action blog

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Where in the world is Planned Parenthood?

One out of every five women in the United States has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at some point in her life. With a statistic like that, it’s easy to conceive of the impact that our health care, education and advocacy efforts have on people you see and interact with each day.
But the part of our work that more often goes unnoticed is the part that’s happening ten time zones and thousands of miles away. When we say that Planned Parenthood works to protect the health and rights of women everywhere, we really do mean everywhere – which is why last week marked the launch of Planned Parenthood Global, an initiative dedicated to building partnerships with and providing support to like-minded organizations in developing countries.

“We are an incubator, seeking innovative solutions from our partners on the ground and helping those ideas grow into national advocacy and health care campaigns,” said Latanya Mapp Frett, Planned Parenthood’s Global Vice President.

Planned Parenthood’s global reach began in 1971 as Family Planning International Assistance (FIPA), a program funded by USAID to improve reproductive health in dozens of countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. When the global gag rule dissolved FIPA in the 1980s, Planned Parenthood was forced to scale back its international programming, focusing on Sub-Saharan African and Latin American communities with the greatest unmet need. And now, as our international activities enter their fifth decade, Planned Parenthood has revamped our mission once again to focus on implementing programs that can successfully be replicated and scaled up across cultures.

So while we work hard to make sure you can see the impact of Planned Parenthood and the work that we do to keep women healthy here in Illinois, we think it’s important to tell you a little bit about what’s going on a few continents over. In northern Nigeria, for example, Planned Parenthood Global works with local religious leaders to promote contraceptive use to their congregations, breaking down the stigma that community members often attach to reproductive health care. In Kenya, we partner with a club that organizes soccer games for girls, helping them to integrate lessons on HIV and pregnancy prevention into team meetings. And in Peru, we help a local rainforest preservation group train health outreach workers in family planning methods, increasing access to reproductive health services in hard-to-reach communities. 

As part of the program launch, Planned Parenthood Global has released “Health Has No Borders,” a brochure that tells the stories what we’re up to in these communities and several more around the world. To learn more, check out the online version here.

To sign up for the Planned Parenthood Global newsletter, click here.

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