Going when and where the need is greatest
On March 14th 2019, Cyclone Idai hit the Sofala province, practically obliterating the city of Beira, home to over 500,000 people. A little over a month later on 25 April, Cyclone Kenneth followed with twice the destructive force.
Approximately 1,000 people lost their lives, and nearly two million people were left homeless. Over 37,000 homes and 17 health centers were damaged by strong winds and heavy rains. Clean water was scarce, and people were left sleeping in the streets.
Thanks to the generous support from individuals like you, we were able to support storm response efforts as well as continue our programs on the ground. Pathfinders are working tirelessly to provide support in Sofala and Cabo Delgado, two hard hit areas in the region. We are working with local governments to bring health centers back into operation and continue crucial family services.
Donations from Pathfinders like you are what made it possible for us to respond quickly to these unforeseen, catastrophic events and continue with our preplanned programs. Than you for sharing our commitment to providing women and girls everywhere with access to sexual and reproductive health. With your support, we can continue to respond where- and when- the need is greatest.
This spring I had the opportunity to visit pathfinder programs in Mozambique for the first time, and, like so many of my colleagues before me, I was blown away by the visible impact of our work. From its beginning as one office in Maputo in 1997, our operations in Mozambique have expanded to seven provincial offices and a staff exceeding 200 people.
Of the many people I met, twenty-year-old Lucia and her boyfriend Huldo stand out in my mind. Lucia and Huldo were the epitome of a young, bright eyed love. They had met about a year ago on a local train outside Maputo, the capital city. Having just finished their studies, both were considering attending university. Lucia had the ambition of becoming a pediatrician, and Huldo, an architect. Both were born in the aftermath of Mozambique's devastating civil ware and were- along with the rest of their generation- symbols of Mozambique's rehabilitation.
It was less than a week before Valentine's Day, and Lucia was visiting a health facility for the first time. Visibly nervous, she revealed her period was late. She had take "the test" but didn't know how to read the results. Sitting next to her, Huldo extracted the stick from his shirt's breast pocket and handed it to the provider.
A Safe Place
When they had questions about their pregnancy test, Lucia and Huldo decided to visit a youth friendly health clinic that provides sexual and reproductive health services exclusively to adolescents and youth. The separation of facilities helps remove a common barrier for teens; the fear of being recognized by community members and the stigmas associate with asking for services. Lucia and Huldo were two of the many young people that day seeking services at the facility, where pathfinder builds staff capacity to make youth feel welcome in a place that can otherwise feel intimating.
I was there when Sofia, the community health worker serving the couple, confirmed Lucia was pregnant. Sofia proceeded to provide information on the range of options for Lucia and Huldo to consider.
"I don't think I am ready to be a parent yet. I just don't think I'm ready," Lucia revealed candidly.
Huldo, on the other hand wanted to move forward with the pregnancy. Lucia received a routine pre-natal check-up and Sofia answered the couple's many questions about the pregnancy.
Our programming in Mozambique is designed to help break through barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services and allow couples like Lucia and Huldo to forge their own path to a healthier future. Grateful for he services and information they received, the couple left the facility with a lot to consider.
In a country where 25 percent of all deaths are attributed ti pregnancy, childbirth or unsafe abortions, Pathfinder's work to create national guidelines for comprehensive abortion care is critical.
But we must also work to address cultural norms and gender stereotypes. Girls are taught that menstruation is a disease and boys are told it is okay to beat women. These mindsets have attributed to 38 percent of young women experiencing physical violence and 17.5 percent suffering from sexual violence. Our programs are working to shift these harmful gender norms.
Throughout my week in Mozambique, I was struck by the absence of men at the youth-friendly health facility and learned that, while disappointing, it is not uncommon. Unfortunately, more of ten than not, women and girls like Lucia carry the burden of their situations alone. Pathfinder is committed to changing this social norm by supporting men and boys to take more responsibility and ownership of their own sexual and reproductive health.
Close to the clinic, Pathfinder implements the Junt@s program- now in its third year- that works with groups of young people, ages 10 to 19, to promote positive gender norms in primary schools through "health school corners." The programs results are obvious to the young people's parents, who started calling the school to ask why their usually reluctant teenage sons were eager to help cook the household meal!
Lucia and Huldo are just two examples of Pathfinder's Commitment to increasing access to- and meeting needs for- sexual and reproductive health and rights, and Huldo's presence might be a sign that gender norms are changing for the better.
As they left the facility, I shared with Lucia my hopes:
"When I return to Mozambique, I hope to see you achieve your goal of becoming a doctor."
I know the potential is there, and just one seemingly simple interaction with Pathfinder's work may have made all the difference in empowering her to unlock that very ambition.
Friends of Pathfinder
Nilza Santos was destined to be a Pathfinder
Nilza joined Pathfinder as an interim service provider in 2016. What was originally meant to be a two-week stint has transformed into a three-year journey
A passionate activist since her adolescence, Nilza previously worked in an organization closely connected to pathfinder. There, Nilza helped students make their voices heard and saw firsthand the importance of Pathfinder's work to champion sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide- to help women and men forge their own paths to a healthier future.
At Pathfinder, Nilza loves being immersed in such a dynamic environment. Every day brings new challenges and opportunities. She takes her role in the office seriously. As an administrator her support extends far beyond the front desk. Nilza is proud that she directly contributes to the advancement of pathfinder's mission. There is a person behind every accomplishment.
Nilza feels incredibly lucky to be part of such a motivated team. She embraces the connections that she has build in the office, and she has made friends with her colleagues from different backgrounds. her relationships have given her a chance to grown as a professional and to learn new skills.
As a woman, she understands how important it is to control one's personal life, including the decision to have children, Family planning can change the course of a life. Nilza is a strong advocate for breaking down barriers to access comprehensive women's health care.
Nilza holds Mozambique, her beautiful country, in a special place in her heart. Yet, there is still much work to be done. Sexual abuse remains prevalent, and far too many people face gender-based violence. Adolescents are forced to navigate unexpected pregnancies with limited resources. Nilza is confident that Pathfinder's programs can make important progress for women like her mother, sisters and friends.
Pathways To Hope
Tanzania August 2020
Next summer, travel to Tanzania with Pathfinder on a trip you'll treasure forever! Space is limited to reserve your spot soon!
Pathways to Hope experiences showcase the broad range of services and programming made possible by your support. These trips provide an exclusive look into our work in various environments, each tailored to hgihlight out meanignful investment in empowering health systems and comunities throughout the world.
This upcoming opportunity to Tanzania- uniquely offered to supporters of Pathfinder International- will place you in the heart of our programming. Participants will visit health care facilities in urban Dar es Salaam, see our work to support the Maasai community in rural Arusha, and learn how we address harmful gender norms on the island of Zanzibar.
Contact Aneesa Din at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.804.4564 for more information about this trip, or for information regarding future trips.
In 1957, Mrs. Gamble founded Pahtfinder International alongside her husband, Dr Clarence Gamble. Sarah frequently worked "behind the scenes" ensuring that projects stayed on track and goals were continuously met.
On 16 May, Parfait Désiré Zoungrana of Burkina Faso was awarded the Susan Bradley Gamble award fir, likr the award's namesake, his demonstration of courage, commitment and passion.
Parfait has excelled in his current role as Senior Accountant in Pathfinder;s office in Burkina Faso. But earlier this year, his health took a terrible turn. Living with diabetes, he encountered complications at the beginning of 2019 that led to the emergency amputation below the knee of his left leg. Throughout his recovery, he demonstrated his unwavering commitment. Despite Pathfinder's insistence that he rest and recover, parfait continued to work from his hospital bed. in his remarks he expressed his gratitude to his wife, who has been by his side in his recovery efforts and accompanied him in their first trip to the USA to receive his award.
The Susan Swift award is given to a staff members who exemplifies talent, extraordinary achievement, and considerable potential to further our mission.
This year's award was given to Worknesh Kereta, who has been a long-time contributor to the leadership and innovation of advancing adolescent youth sexual and reproductive health in Ethiopia. As Senior Adolescent and Youth Health Adviser, Worknesh is a true visionary. She plays an essential role in finding and maintaining funding and truly represents both talent and achievement. As the recipient of this award, Worknesh will have the opportunity to visit another country to share her knowledge and identify different approaches to advocating our mission.
We extend our gratitude to both Parfait and Worknesh, two of Pathfinder's many bright talents. Without Pathfinders like Parfait and Worknesh, who show continued commitment and courage to advance our mission, we would not be where we are today. Together, they symbolize what it truly means to be a pathfinder, and we cannot wait to see their future impact on the world.