Women Deliver site visit: The National Family Planning Board

This post originally appeared on the Girls Globe site here. Reposted with permission.

By Diane Fender, Girls Globe

“Women have the strength and tenacity to overcome adversity and go on to live successful and happy lives.” -Napsiah Omar, Chair of The National Family Planning Board

These were the first few words spoken at the National Family Planning Board site visit to kick off Women Deliver today. As we learned about the board’s project initiatives, youth centers and family clinics, Omar’s words rang true. The National Family Planning Board was established in 1966 and since then maternal and infant mortality rates have decreased significantly. After chatting with Anjli Doshi-Gandi we were fortunate to take a tour of the fertility clinic and family planning office.

The highlight of the morning was visiting the board’s Kafe Teen Center. The Center is a place for youth to congregate- computers are on site for study purposes as well as a plethora of books and games which allow youth to build community with their peers. The center is warm and inviting with a home-like atmosphere. Beyond this the center also offers access to medical professionals including counselors and doctors which provide youth with a wide range of services related to their physical, mental and emotional health.

During our visit we were fortunate to meet seventeen year old, Shafiq who frequents the center at least twice a month. Shafiq emphasized his favorite aspect of the center as being a convenient place to study and build friendships with other youth. Youth like Shafiq, can freely come to the center without fear of judged by their peers. The wide-range of services offered empower youth to feel comfortable accessing the resources at the center. We were really impressed to see the board’s initiative to make youth a priority in the family planning process.