At Three-year Anniversary of FP2020, Celebrating Examples of Rights-based Family Planning in the Field

By: Beth Schlachter
Executive Director, Family Planning 2020

Three years ago, global leaders gathered in London with an ambitious goal. The occasion was the landmark 2012 London Summit on Family Planning. And the goal was to empower an additional 120 million women and girls to control their own fertility and have access to modern contraception, services and information by 2020.

Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) is the movement that was born out of that summit. Today, three years after London, the global partnership is making great progress. Development partners all over the world are working together to expand access to modern contraceptive methods. Countries are realigning their strategies to include robust rights-based family planning programs. And our Rapid Response Mechanism, which was launched just one year ago, is funding short-term projects that we hope will yield long-term results.

But progress is more than a numeric goal. FP2020 isn’t just about reaching 120 million women and girls; it’s about how we reach them.

Successful family planning programs are grounded in human rights. They are about listening to what all women want, no matter where they live, how old they are, or whether they’re married. And they are about empowering individuals with the means and the opportunity to make decisions about their own lives.

These concepts are spelled out in FP2020’s Rights and Empowerment Principles for Family Planning, which lists the 10 key principles of rights-based reproductive healthcare:

  • Agency and Autonomy
  • Availability
  • Accessibility
  • Acceptability
  • Quality
  • Empowerment
  • Equity and Non-discrimination
  • Informed Choice
  • Transparency and Accountability
  • Voice and Participation

Many of our global partners have embedded these principles in their work for decades. Therefore, in recognition of our three-year anniversary, we’ve asked FP2020 partners around the world to share stories that show what these principles look like on the ground. Over the next two weeks we’ll publish a new story each day, each one by a different FP2020 partner, each one illustrating a key principle in action.

These are just a handful of examples of the many heartening accounts of progress:  the doctor in Tanzania who’s raising the bar for quality healthcare in his community; the market porters in Ghana who are being empowered with access to contraception for the first time in their lives; the brother and sister in Burundi who are ensuring that young people have a voice in designing their own programs and services.

What comes through so clearly in these stories is that voluntary family planning—the right to decide for oneself whether and when to have children—is the linchpin for every other aspect of human development.

2015 is a big year for the global development community. With the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals this year, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development this week, and a soon-to-be-launched new Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to chart a course for the world we want.

Universal access to voluntary family planning—for everyone, everywhere—is an essential part of that vision. And FP2020’s goal of reaching 120 million women and girls by 2020—underpinned by the 10 principles elaborated in this blog series—will serve as an important milestone on the journey:  a journey to a world where women and girls are empowered, poverty is eradicated, and no one is left behind.