- Focus Areas
Youth More Important Than Ever as World Approaches 7 Billion
Today, UNFPA published their latest State of the World's Population. The report details some of the paradoxes faced in a world that now has among the largest elderly and youth populations in history. As the world approaches 7 billion people, Pathfinder stands strongly for the importance of investing in universal access to family planning and for the critical need to ensure adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive rights.
"Nearly half the world's population is under the age of 25—yet their needs are going unmet and their rights are going unfulfilled," Callie Simon, Pathfinder's Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Advisor said. "Around the world, we see young girls married, having children, and leaving school—that can have a devastating impact on their health, well-being, and their futures. We have to ensure young people have a voice and that we listen to their needs and support them in making healthy decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives."
The UNFPA report rightly states that young people have "hope, ambition and commitment to improve their own lives and those of their peers, neighbors, communities, and countries. Their success, however, will depend on their ability to take advantage of educational and economic opportunities as they arise and to overcome obstacles to their sexual and reproductive rights."
Pathfinder works in more than 25 countries to ensure that adolescents and youth have access to the information and services they need and live in communities that support their health and development—whether it is providing youth-friendly safe abortion care or fostering more gender equitable norms among young women and men. The UNFPA report highlights one such successful project, Geração Biz, that Pathfinder and UNFPA have provided technical assistance to over the last 10 years. Through a network of 5,000 peer counselors, Geração Biz reaches more than a million young people throughout Mozambique. The effort is breaking the silence around sexual and reproductive health care and providing non-judgmental confidential information and services to Mozambique's youth. Geração Biz, jointly implemented by the Ministries of Health, Education, and Youth and Sports, provides youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, school-based information campaigns about contraception and HIV prevention, and community-based information to reach young people who are not in school.
"If we can meet the needs of young people, we can shape the course of the future of our world," Daniel E. Pellegrom, President of Pathfinder, said. "Add to that universal access to contraception—for all people in their reproductive years, including adolescents—and we have a positive path then paved for our collective future."
For more information about Pathfinder's approach to to adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health, please visit: www.3BillionReasons.org