Since 1957, Pathfinder International has maintained an unwavering belief in the right of women and families to have access to contraception and to quality reproductive health care. Pathfinder’s founder Clarence Gamble, a pioneer in family planning and maternal health, introduced contraception to more than 60 developing countries, including some where Pathfinder is still engaged today.
Pathfinder works in remote locations, under the most difficult conditions, serving the most vulnerable people. They collaborate with governments, NGOs, and community- and faith-based organizations to make contraception available and provide the quality care needed to ensure safe childbirth and healthy families. Working in countries with high prevalence of HIV and AIDS, they provide a continuum of HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment services and are expanding the integration of these services into reproductive health and family planning programs. Though controversial, they support safe abortion care in countries where it’s legal, provide reproductive health services to commercial sex workers and adolescents, and advocate for sound reproductive health policies in the US and abroad.
Pathfinder’s work focuses on overcoming barriers and is based on developing long-term relationships, not only with clients, but with entire communities. Working in traditional societies, they understand that changes in attitude and behavior must have the support of religious and community leaders, the guardians of local culture. They train doctors, nurses, midwives, traditional birth attendants, community-based health workers, and teachers. At the same time, they build the capacity of our partner organizations to make them stronger, more effective, and able to thrive independently once our support has ended.
WHAT THEY DO
Pathfinder International is dedicated to providing high quality reproductive health and family planning services that improve the lives of women and their families throughout the developing world.
By developing diverse local partnerships, promoting community participation, and strengthening the capabilities of individuals and organizations, they are building the foundation to improve the health of the most vulnerable members of society.
Fifty years ago, Pathfinder began pioneering work to bring family planning to the developing world. Today, providing couples with the resources they need to choose when and how often to bear children remains a critical aspect of our work, though in recent years, they have also responded to the world’s new reproductive health challenges, including the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the unprecedented number of adolescents now entering their reproductive years.
AREAS OF INVOLVEMENT
Reproductive Health and Family Planning: Promoting women’s opportunities to choose when and how often to bear children and to reduce the dangers of death and severe illness they face through pregnancy.
HIV/AIDS: Integrating HIV/AIDS awareness, counseling, and testing into reproductive health and family planning programs; expanding testing for HIV, the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and community home-based care for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
Safe Motherhood: Supporting a continuum of care so that women have access to help at every point during pregnancy and childbirth—from the household to the hospital.
Adolescents: Reaching young people with information and services that focus on delaying childbearing, increasing the use of contraceptives, and preventing sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.
Advocacy: Working to improve the policy environment for international family planning and reproductive health programs in the US and with governments in developing countries.
Abortion and Postabortion Care: Reducing maternal mortality by improving women’s access to safe abortion and postabortion care.
Community-Based Work: Engaging communities at the grassroots level to foster cultural acceptance of family planning and deliver reproductive health care to some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Partner Support: Building the capacity of local organizations to expand reproductive health services and take ownership of projects that are responsive to the needs of the communities they serve.
Social Change: Working with communities to explore traditional norms and values and collaborate to affect positive change in their societies.