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London, UNITED KINGDOM – On July 11th, Nutrition International participated in a high-level panel entitled “Changing the Conversation: Enabling Family Planning for All” at the Family Planning 2020 Summit in London, England.

Moderated by Sara Pantuliano, Managing Director, Overseas Development Institute, the panel explored how voices and engagement from different communities and opinion makers can overcome barriers, including the cultural, social and religious norms that prevent communities from accessing the key services they need.

Panelists spoke about the innovative approaches they are taking at the national and community level to break down barriers to accessing family planning. From working with faith leaders, to empowering youth advocates, and using new forms of media, each shared how they are helping to overcome stigma and harness the power of local influencer to drive both increased supply and demand for services – and to change the way that women and girls are treated when seeking health services.

Luz Maria De-Regil, Director, Global Technical Services and Chief Technical Advisor at Nutrition International was invited to provide opening remarks to highlight the strong connection between family planning and nutrition. “Integrating nutrition into family planning programming makes sense, because they mutually reinforce each other. When delivered together, family planning and nutrition can exponentially strengthen gender equity, economic development, and poverty alleviation,” she said.

She also took the opportunity to announce a partnership between Nutrition International and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund ― through the Nutrition Leverage and Influence for Transformation (N-LIFT) initiative ― to provide services integrating family planning and nutrition to improve women and adolescent girls’ health.

Other speakers included the Honourable Tina Mensah, Deputy Minister of Health, Ghana, Cyrille Pierre, Director for Sustainable Development, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France, Joan Amanda Banura, Country Coordinator, International Youth Alliance for Family Planning, Uganda, Sanjib Saha, Research Manager, BBC Media Action and Rev. Canon Grace Kaiso, General Secretary, Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa.

Co-hosted by the UK Department for International Development, UNFPA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in collaboration with Family Planning 2020 ― and in close partnership with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Global Affairs Canada ― the Family Planning 2020 Summit gathered policymakers, donors, and advocates from around the world to discuss efforts to ensure that more women and girls around the world are able to plan their families and their futures.