Long-time global advocate for family planning and reproductive health, Valerie DeFillipo, to lead Family Planning 2020 Partnership

Family Planning 2020 Reference Group selects leader with strong background in family planning expertise and global, multi-stakeholder partnerships.

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“As a long-time, global family planning advocate, Valerie understands the challenges women in developing countries face in planning their families,” said FP2020 Reference Group Co-Chair Dr. Chris Elias of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

WASHINGTON, DC (PRWEB) March 08, 2013

The Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) Reference Group announced today that Valerie DeFillipo has been named Director of the global partnership.

FP2020 was created 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, without coercion or discrimination, by 2020, continuing the momentum started at the ground-breaking 2012 London Summit on Family Planning.

Valerie DeFillipo brings technical family planning expertise, experience leading global multi-stakeholder partnerships, and a deep commitment to using FP2020 as a platform to strengthen existing structures providing family planning and contraceptives to vulnerable women and girls around the world. She is currently the President of the Friends of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

"I have been working closely with Valerie in her capacity as President of Friends of UNFPA and personally witnessed her outstanding commitment to reproductive health and reproductive rights for women and girls around the world,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the UNFPA and FP2020 Reference Group Co-Chair. “I have no doubts that she will bring all this commitment to life in her new role as Director of Family Planning 2020.”

“As a long-time, global family planning advocate, Valerie understands the challenges women in developing countries face in planning their families,” said FP2020 Reference Group Co-Chair Dr. Chris Elias of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “She knows the community and how to enhance its work in helping women overcome the obstacles to voluntarily accessing lifesaving information, contraceptives, and services.”

“This appointment on International Women’s Day, is significant. When I was in school, a friend had to drop out because she got pregnant, losing her chance at education. I recognized then that family planning and contraceptives were game changers. Contraception saves lives. It also changes lives. Imagine the potential that could be unleashed if women and girls had access to family planning when they wanted and needed it. Family Planning 2020 will make that vision a reality for the poorest women in the most vulnerable countries of the world,” said Ms. DeFillipo

In both domestic and international contexts, Ms. DeFillipo has contributed significantly to women’s health and rights. For three decades, she has influenced and shaped policy agendas, mobilized grassroots movements, and improved service delivery through the implementation of robust and inclusive programming.

Ms. DeFillipo’s professional focus has been on family planning and reproductive health, two areas about which she is passionate. She began her career at the Margaret Sanger Center in New York leading the implementation of programs before moving on to positions of greater responsibility and leadership, developing policy and advocacy strategies in the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and then the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) based in London.

Early in her career, Ms. DeFillipo was called upon to design programs and provide technical support to family planning clinics in Egypt, Jordan, and The Philippines. There she experienced first-hand the challenges women face in accessing family planning information, and in the delivery of family planning services and contraceptives: lack of education and awareness; shortages; lack of community support; traditional customs and beliefs; and legal barriers.

While at IPPF, Ms. DeFillipo was tasked with the objective of integrating communication, advocacy, and resource mobilization to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights enabling countries to own family planning. She was a key figure in organizing the Countdown 2015 Global Roundtable, the civil society review of the 10th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development.

As the Director of the Family Planning 2020 Task Team, Ms. DeFillipo will implement the vision set by the 18-member Reference Group and coordinate the inputs from the four technical Working Groups: Country Engagement, Market Dynamics, Performance Monitoring and Accountability, and Rights and Empowerment. The FP2020 Task Team manages the day-to-day activities of the partnership and is hosted by the United Nations Foundation. FP2020 tracks the financial, policy and other commitments made at the London Summit, linking with accountability processes for the UN Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child strategy. FP2020 monitors global progress towards the goal of reaching an additional 120 million women and girls with family planning information, services, and contraceptives by 2020, and ensures that services are provided voluntarily, in a manner that prevents coercion and discrimination, with respect for human rights.

“We are confident that Family Planning 2020 will help achieve real results for women and girls around the world. Valerie's experience and leadership will help us make the most of this unique opportunity and innovate the conversation about how to deliver reproductive healthcare in a way that is creative, cost-effective, transparent, and integrated with other leaders in the field, yet remains wholly focused on the needs of women and their families,” said United Nations Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin.

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