Member Spotlight: Marie Stopes International

A Spotlight on Marie Stopes International

Enabling Safe Self-Care during COVID-19

For our second member spotlight, the Self-Care Trailblazer Group is focusing on Marie Stopes International (MSI), a global organization working to deliver reproductive choice for women. Learn more from Raveena Chowdhury, Head of Integrated Service Delivery as she discusses how MSI is working to deliver sexual and reproductive healthcare safely during the pandemic and beyond.

Tell us a bit about your organization!

Marie Stopes International is a global organization providing tailored contraception and safe abortion services to women and girls. Our local teams of professionals are passionate about the work they do in communities across 37 countries. The high-quality services they provide give a woman the power to choose if and when she has children so that she’s free to pursue her plans and dreams for herself and her family.

Our mission at Marie Stopes International is to deliver reproductive choice for women. Through the provision of high quality, safe reproductive health services for women and girls, we can support women to determine their own future, so that they can contribute to creating a better, more sustainable world for everyone.  

Why does MSI consider self-care to be a vital part of health care systems? 

For over 40 years, Marie Stopes International has led with the principle that women and girls should have access and choice regarding their reproductive decisions and related healthcare. As a result, Marie Stopes International is committed to de-medicalizing sexual and reproductive healthcare, ensuring our clients have the agency and support to determine their reproductive choices, safely. 

Our vision is that a quality self-care product is never more than one hour away for a client. That every woman and girl is able to access self-care at a convenient location, that she knows how to use the product and feels empowered to administer that self-care product safely. If she needs support or guidance, it should only be one contact away—where she can be referred for in-person care, if needed. To support this, MSI runs a network of contact centres across 27 countries, providing support for women who self-administer and handling over 1 million interactions across these centres since the start of 2020 alone.

The term self-care implies it’s the job of the woman, but in truth is that it takes partnership and vision for self-administration to happen safely. From enabling a regulatory environment where self-care products can be provided, to actually getting those products into the hands of women, self-care takes collaboration every step of the way, and MSI is proud to be part of partnerships such as SCTG to scale up self-care safely.

How does MSI believe self-care can be enabled during the pandemic?

As Marie Stopes International has reported in our frontline stories and impact, the current pandemic threatens access to sexual and reproductive healthcare globally.  As national lockdowns restrict movement, women face increased stigma for accessing services; and in diverting resources to their COVID-19 response efforts, health systems restrict access to essential healthcare, such as contraception and safe abortion.

We know from previous health crises that diverting resources away from reproductive healthcare can lead to additional deaths. During the Ebola epidemic, as many, if not more people died from increased barriers to maternal and reproductive healthcare than from the virus itself.

However, remote models of care such as telemedicine and self-administration offer routes for delivering sexual and reproductive healthcare safely during the pandemic. Evidence shows that self-administered contraception and abortion can be both effective and client-centered, and remote care can reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. However, for self-care to be enabled safely, MSI believes a strong continuum of care is needed, with four key elements:

  • Awareness: Women know what their legal rights are, which products to ask for and where to find them
  • Safe product: Women are confident they can access a safe, quality assured product
  • Support: Women know how and when to self-administer the product safely and what to expect
  • After-care: Women know what to do and where to go if they have questions, complications or require an in-person service. 

Under COVID-19, the scale up of self-care is not simply an opportunity, but a necessity. We need to jointly come up with solutions for self-care, be it for self-injectables, medical abortion, emergency contraception or even pregnancy tests, to help take the delivery of essential products out of healthcare facilities and into the hands of women.

To learn more about the challenges facing women under COVID-19 and the role self-care can play in getting reproductive healthcare into the hands of women, girls and other vulnerable populations, dive into MSI’s webinar, Choice in Her Hands: Enabling Safe Self-Care during COVID-19.  This webinar was part of MSI’s spotlight series, aiming to bring together voices from across the SRHR sector to explore key topics we are facing. Watch it here!

Want to learn more about the ways that MSI delivering sexual and reproductive healthcare through different self-care methods? Reach out to Raveena Chowdhury at [email protected] or check out our website for more details.


The Future of Work

With overarching commitments to flexibility in our work, and greater wellbeing for our employees, we want to ensure PSI is positioned for success with a global and holistic view of talent. Under our new “work from (almost) anywhere,” or “WFAA” philosophy, we are making the necessary investments to be an employer of record in more than half of U.S. states, and consider the U.S. as one single labor market for salary purposes. Globally, we recognize the need to compete for talent everywhere; we maintain a talent center in Nairobi and a mini-hub in Abidjan. PSI also already works with our Dutch-based European partner, PSI Europe, and we’re creating a virtual talent center in the UK.


Meaningful Youth Engagement

PSI is firmly committed to the meaningful engagement of young people in our work. As signatories of the Global Consensus Statement on Meaningful Adolescent & Youth Engagement, PSI affirms that young people have a fundamental right to actively and meaningfully engage in all matters that affect their lives. PSI’s commitments aim to serve and partner with diverse young people from 10-24 years, and we have prioritized ethics and integrity in our approach. Read more about our commitments to the three core principles of respect, justice and Do No Harm in the Commitment to Ethics in Youth-Powered Design. And read more about how we are bringing our words to action in our ICPD+25 commitment, Elevating Youth Voices, Building Youth Skills for Health Design.


Zero Tolerance for Modern-Day Slavery and Human Trafficking

PSI works to ensure that its operations and supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking. Read more about this commitment in our policy statement, endorsed by the PSI Board of Directors.



Since 2017, PSI has been a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, a commitment to align strategies and operations with universal principles of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Read about PSI’s commitment to the UN Global Compact here.


Environmental Sustainability

The health of PSI’s consumers is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. That’s why we’ve joined the Climate Accountability in Development as part of our commitment to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Read about our commitment to environmental sustainability.


Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity

PSI does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, disability, protected veteran status or any other classification protected by applicable federal, state or local law. Read our full affirmative action and equal employment opportunity policy here.


Zero Tolerance for Discrimination and Harassment

PSI is committed to establishing and maintaining a work environment that fosters harmonious, productive working relationships and encourages mutual respect among team members. Read our policy against discrimination and harassment here.

PSI is committed to serving all health consumers with respect, and strives for the highest standards of ethical behavior. PSI is dedicated to complying with the letter and spirit of all laws, regulations and contractual obligations to which it is subject, and to ensuring that all funds with which it is entrusted are used to achieve maximum impact on its programs. PSI provides exceptionally strong financial, operational and program management systems to ensure rigorous internal controls are in place to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse and ensure compliance with the highest standards. Essential to this commitment is protecting the safety and well-being of our program consumers, including the most vulnerable, such as women and children. PSI maintains zero tolerance for child abuse, sexual abuse, or exploitative acts or threats by our employees, consultants, volunteers or anyone associated with the delivery of our programs and services, and takes seriously all complaints of misconduct brought to our attention.


Diversity and Inclusion

PSI affirms its commitment to diversity and believes that when people feel respected and included they can be more honest, collaborative and successful. We believe that everyone deserves respect and equal treatment regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural background or religious beliefs. Read our commitment to diversity and inclusion here. Plus, we’ve signed the CREED Pledge for Racial and Ethnic Equity. Learn more.


Gender Equality

PSI affirms gender equality is a universal human right and the achievement of it is essential to PSI’s mission. Read about our commitment to gender equality here.


01 #PeoplePowered

02 Breaking Taboos

03 Moving Care Closer to Consumers

04 Innovating on Investments

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