“We’re calling all Canadians to help #Changethebirthstory!” – Hear from our inspiring Youth Advocates

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Youth advocates, Georgia and Diviya

Diviya and Georgia both are active members of multiple Plan International Canada youth initiatives including the Speakers Bureau. They are passionate about girls’ rights and believe that change is possible by amplifying the voices of youth.

We are incredibly excited to have been chosen as Youth Advocates for Plan International Canada’s newest campaign – Change the Birth Story. As young women who are passionate about social justice and equality for all, we believe that issues surrounding reproductive health are crucial and deserve the attention of the Canadian public.

Our goal is to educate YOU about this campaign and inspire you to support the meaningful work Plan International Canada is doing in partnership with the Government of Canada.

Here at home, news of a pregnancy is often accompanied with excitement, celebration and the joy of bringing a new life into the world. However, in developing nations complications surrounding pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death for women and adolescent girls.

Each year, 2 million girls around the world fall pregnant and 2.7 million newborn babies lose their lives.

Adolescent mother with baby

We believe all adolescent girls, women and babies have the right to be healthy and thrive. Plan International Canada is working to make that a reality by:

  • Improving access to quality healthcare services
  • Facilitating sexual and reproductive health education,
  • Creating gender-inclusive environments, and
  • Engaging men and boys.

For this project, they have programs in 5 countries and have a goal of reaching 4.7 million people.

Bringing the stats to life

In June, we attended the Change the Birth Story campaign launch event in Toronto. Youth advocates volunteered in multiple capacities for the night, including discussing our roles and excitement for the progress of maternal and newborn child health with the attendees.

Georgia getting event attendee to complete the endorse form

What really set the tone of the launch event were the posters showcasing the multifaceted stories of mothers and children in Bangladesh, Ghana, Haiti, Nigeria, and Senegal were placed around the room.

Attendee reading one of the stories places around the room.

We were excited to see the event begin with inspirational speeches on storytelling, delivered by Caroline Riseboro, the President & CEO of Plan International Canada; and Rebecca Asare-Djan, a Health Coordinator who works in Ghana. We were moved by Rebecca’s stories of adolescent girls and helping them gain access to the necessary healthcare resources required for a safe pregnancy.

Caroline and Rebecca standing in front of Plan International Canada banner

Caroline Riseboro and Rebecca Asare-Djan


A highlight of the launch event was the virtual reality simulations that transported guests into different worlds and furthered their knowledge the Change the Birth Story campaign. The VR technology immersed viewers in stories of young girls and men and boys in communities that have been impacted by Plan International Canada’s work.

We were especially moved by one story which recounted the journey of Mavis – an adolescent girl who became pregnant at age 17 in rural Ghana. She participated in one of Plan International Canada’s groups for young mothers, where she found a supportive community and bolstered her self-confidence.

Mavis holding her baby

The launch event was a wonderful success. And we were thrilled to see so many people sign their name to help change the birth story for millions of women and girls around the world. We are excited to keep the momentum going!

Join us in propelling the #ChangetheBirthStory movement forward by signing YOUR name on the endorsement form!

I stand with Canada to change the birth story because I believe that every adolescent girl, woman and child has the right to be healthy and to live a life free of discrimination.

Guest blogger | 5 years ago | « back