On Wednesday 11th July the UK government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hosted the London Summit on Family Planning. The aim of the summit was to mobilise global policy and service delivery commitments to support the rights of an additional 120 million women and girls in the world's poorest countries to use contraceptive information, services and supplies by 2020. The conference was attended by ministers and presidents from countries such as Uganda, India, Malawi and Bangladesh, as well as representatives from donor communities.
Youth delegates with PM David Cameron, Andrew Mitchell and Melinda Gates
Photograph: Carl Court/AP
As part of a working group with Nike Foundation, Save the Children and IPPF, Restless Development hosted a lunchtime session with the international delegates to highlight the importance of youth involvement in decision making on and service delivery of family planning. In many of the countries being represented, the youth population is staggeringly high, and it is these young people who are most affected by the lack of access to youth-friendly family planning services. As part of the lunchtime session, delegates were invited into a pledging photo booth, where they could choose from four messages, such as ‘I chose my future, girls should too’, which they were then photographed holding to show their support. These photos are available to view on the No Controversy website at http://www.no-controversy.com/ .
Advocating for youth-led research and service delivery were six youth delegates, three of whom were former Restless Development volunteers. Jack, Jo and Maria, the Restless Development delegates, proudly wearing their Restless Development t-shirts, met and chatted to international delegates from across the globe, sharing their experiences and insight into the importance of involving young people as part of the solution to addressing the unmet need for contraception.
Taking their message right to the top, the delegates had the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister David Cameron, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell and Melinda Gates. After complimenting Jack, Jo and Maria on their Restless Development t-shirts, David Cameron was keen to hear about their experiences of youth-led family planning service delivery in India, Uganda and Tanzania respectively. In his address to the summit later in the day, David Cameron referred to his talk with the youth delegates and how they, as young people, were able to effectively spread messages about sexual and reproductive health and family planning to their peers. This meeting was an amazing opportunity for both the young delegates as individuals, but also for Restless Development to not only be represented at the highest level, but also be praised for the effective delivery of youth-led programmes.
The outcome of the day was a series of pledges by both donor countries and developing countries, such as India, which pledged to have universal access to family planning by 2020. Overall $4.6 billion was committed over the next eight years, which Andrew Mitchell said ‘will support the rights of women to determine freely, and for themselves, whether, when and how many children they have’.
The picture above was taken from a Guardian News article on the summit which can be read in full here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/jul/11/rich-countries-pledge-family-planning-women
And here is a picture of Jo, Jack and Maria (in the famous t-shirts!) with Nik, our CEO!