Superheroes for Family Planning

Over 3700 delegates from 110 countries have come to Kigali to attend the fifth and largest ever International Conference on Family Planning reviewing and rejuvenating their commitments for Investing for a LifeTime of Returns.  

What an apt city to host this conference where the remarkable citizens have demonstrated renewal and resilience with an unfaltering optimism of the possibilities beyond. The iconic Kigali Convention Centre is a fitting venue to host this event invoking the spirit and pride of Rwanda and demonstrating modernity through complexity. This week will review and reflect our progress towards the FP 2020 commitments and guide our course to achieving the goal of 120 million more women and girls’ access to contraceptives by 2020. The event is extremely rich with 15 spotlight tracks representing 170 sessions and over 1600 oral and poster presentations.

The opening of the event was a welcome from key dignitaries and leaders from Rwanda and globally including donors and messages via video. We were made to reflect on what it takes to be a champion and what is our “superhero power” for family planning. Progress has been made with 317 million having access to modern contraceptives which much higher then it has ever been. However, an estimated 214 million who want to prevent pregnancy do not have access. 

Honourable Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to reproductive rights and choices and highlighted multiple facets including child early forced marriage, and gender-based violence. Over 600 youth participated in a pre-conference and inspired us with their voices and lens of issues that matter to them. Young people want us to engage and invest in them for the future for a lifetime of returns. I was left inspired and rejuvenated to be part of this remarkable movement of champions to fight for rights and choices that can change the world. Join me on this journey and be a superhero! 

Tariq Bhanjee is a Public Health and International Development Consultant with over 18 years of experience helping organizations design and mobilize resources to support programs for impact.  For more information about this blog, you can contact him at tariqbhanjee@yahoo.ca.