September 30, 2015

Real People, Real Stories of Family Planning

Written by Beth Schlachter, Executive Director, Family Planning 2020

Originally published on Medium. Reposted with permission.


Heny Rosdiana has a secret weapon to encourage couples to try an IUD: her husband. “Some clients wanted to hear directly from my husband on whether or not there are side effects,” she explains. “I think this approach is quite effective because couples can obtain comprehensive information on IUDs directly from users.”

A midwife in her Indonesian village, Heny is one of the many individuals working around the globe to improve access to family planning and empower women and girls. Hers is one of the stories that will be documented and shared through the new photo blog Family Planning Voices (FP Voices).

Inspired by the popular storytelling blog Humans of New York, FP Voices will feature photos and quotes from real people behind the family planning movement. Created by the global partnership Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) and The Knowledge for Health Project (K4Health) from USAID, the series is launching in advance of the International Family Planning Conference this November. Over the next year, FP Voices aims to capture a rich melting pot of voices from around the world.

The counterpoint to statistics without context and lengthy reports, this series demonstrates how a face and a few words speaks volumes. In one powerful snapshot, we learn why these local champions of family planning do the work they do, we experience their challenges, and we share in their hopes for the future.

Take Moriam Olaide Jagun, a program manager with USAID in Nigeria who was motivated to widen family planning access after seeing a teenager lose her uterus to gangrene after a botched abortion. Society failed that young woman, Moriam says.

Wherever she is now, I wonder how she is doing. If everybody had been doing their duty, she should have been able to access contraceptives and we would have prevented that incident.

As we mark World Contraception Day on September 26,  FP Voices aims to share the stories of real people, especially those in developing countries where supply shortages and logistical challenges present strong barriers to delivering the contraceptive information and services many of us take for granted.

As the world welcomes the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals, we recognize the universality of these stories, and the centrality of family planning to every single development issue.

We must continue to tell the stories of the millions of women and girls worldwide who want to use contraception but cannot access it. Their ability to choose a suitable method and decide when and if to have children has significant implications, not just to that woman or girl, but also to the wider family, community, and nation.

We hope these stories will resonate with you and your work. We hope you’ll become a regular reader and feel moved to share these with others. And, finally, we hope that the common threads of purpose, commitment, and humanity will captivate and inspire our community.

Visit FP Voices at or via #FPVoices