How Young People Want You to Shift Power

By Amanda Burgess, Advance Family Planning, United States; Angeline Mutunga, MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership, Kenya; Carina Ubisse Capitine, The African Women’s Development and Communication Network, Mozambique; Claire Mathonsi, Advocacy Accelerator, Kenya; Goodness Ogeyi Odey, International Youth Alliance on Family Planning, Nigeria; Mwenya Chiti, Phakama Africa, Zambia

Colonialism and its legacy are part of our shared human history. The social structures, funding models, and knowledge generation practices that define global health are rooted in a history of inequality, exploitation, and racism. For the family planning community, this is a history of coercion, population control, and eugenics. This history may not be un-done and prior calls to challenge this legacy have fallen short. Now is the time to boldly move forward to address the underlying systems of oppression, to shift power, and to create a more equitable world. 

At the core of our focus: what can the family planning community do to shift power and accelerate efforts to advance equity in global health now?  

There are four key questions we will explore at the Shifting Power and Advancing Equity in Global Health pre-conference on Nov. 14, 2022: 

  1. What historical legacies in family planning and development do we need to unpack as a community before we can move forward? 
  1. What can donors and partners do right now to deliver on the promise to meaningfully move leadership and development funding to local experts? 
  1. How can we minimize operational barriers–like institutional architecture, funding models, and leadership–to help individuals, organizations, and donors act more equitably? 
  1. What is the current state of power dynamics at play at the global, regional, national, subnational, and community levels? 

Shifting power requires each of us to approach this work courageously, honestly, and humbly. It requires self-reflection and a commitment to engage in open and honest dialogues. It also calls us to more equitably partner with the communities we serve. We believe that everyday choices and actions will create the world we want to see.  

This International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) community dialogue takes place in person from 7:30am–12:30pm at the Royal Cliff Grand Hotel in Pattaya City–thanks to the support of our generous sponsors the Transforming INGO Models for Equity (TIME) initiative, the Advocacy Accelerator, and the Guttmacher Institute. We hope this event is only the beginning of a growing movement to address power shifting and increase equity within the family planning community. 

We invite you to share your voice and join us to address racism, shift power, and challenge structural inequality in family planning and global health. If you are interested in remaining engaged in this work sign up to stay in touch here. For more information on the pre-conference check out the website

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This article is a part of PSI’s ICFP 2022 Impact Magazine. Explore the magazine here.

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