Country-level Champions: Zambia Drives Progress for Women and Girls

March 16, 2015

Contact: Ariana Childs Graham, Associate Director
Reproductive Health, Aspen Global Health and Development
+ +1.202.721.5585

The Aspen Institute, the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, the Permanent Mission of Zambia to the United Nations, Plan International USA and the U.S. Agency for International Development

Washington, DC, March 16, 2015 – The Aspen Institute Global Health and Development, the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, Plan International USA and the U.S. Agency for International Development hosted a dialogue with the Honorable Nkandu Luo, Minister of Gender and Child Development of Zambia, and Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator for Global Health and Coordinator for Maternal and Child Survival at the U.S. Agency for International Development. The conversation was moderated by Peggy Clark, Vice President of Policy Programs and Executive Director of Global Health and Development at The Aspen Institute.

Watch the full conversation:

As the new global development agenda takes shape, leaders must consider global priorities for maternal and child survival and what is needed to drive progress for women and girls at the country level. This conversation explored the impact of public sector leadership for reproductive health, opportunities to build support across ministries and other public offices, as well as meaningful engagement of civil society in informing policy and funding priorities.

“Empowering girls and women with modern contraceptive methods is very important, and it helps. You empower women, through education and better health, and everything else, from the environment to the economy, works better.” said Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez.

Zambia is a prime example of strong public sector leadership for reproductive health as it tackles the most pressing needs for women and girls including family planning and reproductive health, child and early marriage, and gender-based violence.

“Zambia is very committed to the reduction of maternal deaths and child deaths through the promotion of reproductive health rights. Our major focus is on girls and children, because we believe that investments in children will give us a healthier population in Zambia, and this has strong implications on economic development.” The Honorable Nkandu Luo added.

In September 2015, Member States of the United Nations will decide on a new set of global goals to guide policy, programming, and funding for sustainable development. These Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) will follow the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015. Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are fundamental human rights and drivers of progress that are central to achieving many sustainable development priorities. These include maternal and child health, education, poverty eradication, women’s empowerment, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health established by the Aspen Institute in 2010, is composed of sixteen sitting and former heads of state, high-level policymakers and other leaders who build political leadership for increased financial and technical support for reproductive health. The Council works to revitalize political commitments to reproductive health by increasing awareness of reproductive health issues, supporting the effective use of donor resources, and championing policies dedicated to achieving universal access to reproductive health.

The Permanent Mission of Zambia to the United Nations joined the United Nations on 1st December 1964 after gaining its independence on 24th October the same year. Since then, Zambia has and continues to be an active member of the UN. Zambia plays a critical role in promoting international peace and security, human rights, gender equality and democracy, the rule of law, and good governance. Zambia forms part of the international community supporting sustainable development through the promotion of environmental sustainability, social development, and economic growth.

Plan International USA is part of the Plan International Federation, a global organization that works side by side with communities in 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children and their families. Plan works at the community level to develop customized solutions and ensure long-term sustainability. Our solutions are designed up-front to be owned by communities for generations to come and range from clean water and health care programs to education projects and child protection initiatives. For more information, please visit

U.S. Agency for International Development is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. USAID’s mission statement highlights two complementary and intrinsically linked goals: ending extreme poverty and promoting the development of resilient, democratic societies that are able to realize their potential. We fundamentally believe that ending extreme poverty requires enabling inclusive, sustainable growth; promoting free, peaceful, and self-reliant societies with effective, legitimate governments; building human capital and creating social safety nets that reach the poorest and most vulnerable.


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