Photo by Pathfinder India

As early as the 1930s, Pathfinder’s founder began investing in contraception initiatives in India. Here, in 1966, mothers and children attend a family planning information session. A poster on the wall reads “a small family is a happy family.”

Photo by Simon de Trey White

Today, Pathfinder’s work in India focuses on advancing the reproductive health and rights of underserved and vulnerable populations, particularly young people.

Photo by Karl Grobl

“Adolescents are generally considered hard to reach and difficult to persuade to adopt healthy practices,” said Rema Nanda, Pathfinder’s Country Representative in India. “Pathfinder’s programs provide strong evidence that…

Photo by Karl Grobl

“When adolescents are provided with information about their sexual and reproductive health, they often make life altering decisions—about marriage, planning a family, and staying in school —that help them live healthy, productive lives.”

Photo by Simon de Trey White

The same courage and perseverance exists in many of the people Pathfinder serves across India, be it an expectant mother, making plans for a hospital delivery, or a sex worker, educating her peers about HIV prevention.

Pathfinder India is committed to accelerating and amplifying programs that support the right to sexual and reproductive healthcare and safe motherhood for all.

In recent years, India has experienced unprecedented economic growth and now ranks as the world's fourth largest economy.

Across the country, women and girls of all ages are still in urgent need of quality health services. Adolescents—a critical, growing segment of the population—continue to go without reproductive health information and services. Of a total population of 1.21 billion, adolescents (ages 10-19 years) constitute 20 percent, and investments in their health, education, and employment will shape the country's future. Young girls are especially at risk due to early marriage and early first pregnancy. Without knowledge of or access to family planning education and care, an early first pregnancy often results in another pregnancy shortly thereafter—starting a cycle of reproduction that can adversely affect the health and economic well-being of the entire family.

Forty-seven percent of women in India ages 20-24 were married before they turned 18.

Pathfinder has a long history in India, from projects testing contraceptive methods in 1953 to integrating family planning into existing social welfare programs in the early 1970s. In 1999, a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported the first large-scale intervention to address the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young adults in Delhi slums, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

Since then, Pathfinder's work has expanded to large projects addressing reproductive health and family planning; maternal and newborn health projects; and HIV and AIDS work. Pathfinder supports the Government of India and its partners to increase demand for family planning, reproductive health, and maternal health services, while equipping and empowering health care providers and communities to better address adolescent health, maternal child health, unsafe abortion, and HIV and AIDS.


Your gift of $25 or $50 can help improve sexual and reproductive healthcare in India by supporting our work with public, private, and community partners to make informed health-related decisions.

Our Projects


Matrika: Saving Mothers' Lives in India

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Maternal & Newborn Health Contraception & Family Planning

Pathfinder’s Matrika project brings improved maternal health care to three districts of Uttar Pradesh.


ANANYA: Shaping Demand and Practice in Bihar for Uptake of Priority Behaviors

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Behavior Change Maternal & Newborn Health Advocacy Contraception & Family Planning

ANANYA aims to empower women to make informed decisions about maternal and neonatal health.

Related Publications

August 2014

Research and Evaluation Working Paper Series

The purpose of the Working Paper Series is to disseminate work in progress by Pathfinder International staff on critical issues of population, reproductive health, and development.

December 2013

The Way We Live: Advancing Health & Rights Through Integration

In a year of remarkable achievement, including Pathfinder’s landmark victory at the US Supreme Court and our return to Bangladesh with a $53.8 million project, what was most exciting? The answer—integration—is the theme of Pathfinder’s 2013 Annual Report.

May 2013

PRAGYA: Multisectoral, Gendered Approach to Improve Family Planning and Sexual and Reproductive Health for Young People

PRAGYA, meaning "insight" in Sanskrit, is a mixed methods study commissioned by USAID and conducted by Pathfinder India to improve understanding of the effects of Phases I and II of the PRACHAR project.

January 2013

PRACHAR: Advancing Young People’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in India

This technical brief summarizes the evolution of PRACHAR, describes the intervention model and key evaluation results that informed each phase, and highlights next steps for dissemination and advocacy based on 11 years of project learning.

Related News

Delivering quality maternal health services in rural India, the role of the private sector

World Health Partners and Pathfinder International are partnering, using a social franchising approach, to leverage rural human resources in order to extend maternal health coverage.

Initiative Launched to Bring Down Maternal Mortality Rate in India

MSD for Mothers launched a new initiative to reduce maternal mortality rates in India this week, naming Pathfinder International as one of three nonprofit partners that will implement project activities.
Notwithstanding India's "rapid" economic growth, higher infant and maternal mortality rates are "robbing" Indian women and girls of their chances to make a contribution, National Commission for Women chief Mamata Sharma said today.
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