Program Designed to Help Expand Pool of Expert Practitioners in the Field of Population and Reproductive Health 

MacArthur has announced a grant of $690,000 over three years to Pathfinder International for a new leadership training program for individuals to help reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and improve young peoples sexual and reproductive health in Nigeria.

The new program, which is the successor to the Fund for Leadership Development a program started in 1994 by the MacArthur Foundation to help expand the pool of expert practitioners in the field of population and reproductive health will train between 12-15 individuals, aged 25-35, each year. 

In helping to build a cadre of skilled practitioners, Pathfinders new leadership training program will be an important contribution to the Nigerias efforts to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and provide sexuality education to all young people, said Jonathan Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. An indicator of the quality of health services, and in effect, the level of development in a country is a low rate of maternal mortality and morbidity. To achieve this, it is important to equip people with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to make wise choices related to their sexual and reproductive health. Pathfinder International, with its long track record in running successful training programs in the field, is well-positioned to help Nigeria build leadership to ensure this happens.

With grant funds, Pathfinder International will hold quarterly training activities to expand participants knowledge on issues related to maternal mortality and morbidity and young peoples sexual and reproductive health. Trainings will also include sessions on advocacy strategies, leadership development, strategic planning, communications, and conflict and change management. Mentors will be appointed to each participant to provide advice for career development and support for carrying out projects. Taking advantage of Pathfinders resources, participants will have the opportunity to network with colleagues who have received fellowships through the Ford Foundations International Fellows Program and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation International Family Planning Leadership Program, both of which are administered by Pathfinder. Pathfinders new program will also work to strengthen connections between new participants and individuals who had received funding through MacArthurs Fund for Leadership Development. Since 1994, 136 individuals working on issues related to population and reproductive health in Nigeria including activists, health practitioners, academics, legal practitioners and journalists received grants through the Fund for Leadership Development. The Pathfinder leadership training program begins in 2005.

Support for Pathfinder International is made through the MacArthur Foundations Population and Reproductive Health grantmaking program, which makes grants related to population and reproductive health issues in India, Mexico, and Nigeria, as well as to international organizations working to establish global norms and policies regarding population and reproductive health. The objectives of the Foundations population and reproductive health grantmaking in its three focus countries are to decrease maternal mortality and morbidity and to advance young peoples reproductive and sexual health and rights. In Nigeria, the Foundation is supporting efforts that contribute to the federal governments goal of reducing maternal mortality by 50 percent by 2006. The Foundation also makes grants to help implement the federal governments national sexuality education curriculum.

About Pathfinder International:
Pathfinder International provides women, men, and adolescents throughout the developing world with access to quality family planning and reproductive health information and services. Pathfinder works to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS, to provide care to women suffering from the complications of unsafe abortion, and to advocate for sound reproductive health policies in the U.S. and abroad.

Population & Reproductive Health, Health, Nigeria, Population