The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) is a U.S.-based non-governmental organization whose mission is to promote the sexual and reproductive health and human rights of women and girls globally by shaping the development and implementation of U.S. policies. We envision a world where sexual and reproductive health and rights are universally recognized, and where comprehensive, integrated sexual and reproductive health services are accessible and available to all, free from coercion, violence, and discrimination.
- The Center for Health and Gender Equity (at that time the Health and Development Policy Project (HDPP), a project of the Tides Foundation) launched in March 1994 by Jodi Jacobson in response to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo.
- HDPP and Population Council co-convened the first meeting of the Working Group on Family Planning and Reproductive Health.
- As part of its post-Cairo accountability work, CHANGE began a case study in India to evaluate USAID's Innovations in Family Planning Project.
- HDPP officially changed its name to the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE).
- HDPP and Pan-American Health Organization organized a region-wide conference on model interventions on violence against women in reproductive health settings.
- As a result of CHANGE's evaluation of Mexico's adherence to informed consent, USAID began a global review of informed consent and choice in the summer of 1998.
- CHANGE initiated the Global Campaign for HIV/STI Prevention Alternatives for Women to raise awareness about and increase funding for microbicide research.
- In December 2001, CHANGE was certified as an independent 501 (c)(3).
- On January 14, 2002, CHANGE held its first board meeting and elected board members Regan Ralph, Valerie DeFillipo, Margaret Hempel, and Mary McCarthy.
- With the Communications Consortium, Feminist Majority, and WEDO, CHANGE issued scorecards on the Bush Administration's handling of global women's issues including international family planning, HIV/AIDS, the Millennium Challenge Account, and free trade.
- CHANGE began in-country monitoring of U.S. global AIDS funding, including a major monitoring trip to Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya.
- CHANGE launched the campaign and website PEPFARWatch.org to make the monitoring of PEPFAR easily accessible to the public. CHANGE also launched the Prevention Now! campaign and website on prevention technologies for women, such as female condoms.
- CHANGE conducted interviews in Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Thailand and Vietnam to assess the on-the-ground impact of the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath (APLO).
- CHANGE won the 12th Annual Mildred Robbins Leet Award from InterAction's Commission on the Advancement of Women in 2006.
- In 2007, CHANGE's Board of Directors hired Serra Sippel as its President.
- CHANGE moved its headquarters from Takoma Park, Maryland to its current location at 1317 F Street NW,
- In March 2009, the American University Washington College of Law and CHANGE
co-hosted a symposium, "Human Trafficking, HIV/AIDS, and the Sex Sector," including distinguished authorities, such as
- CHANGE embarked on a study tour in Ethiopia with three state legislators that
was documented in a short film, "Making Foreign Assistance Work for Women and Girls in Ethiopia." CHANGE organized subsequent speakers tours to Washington D.C. and Minnesota.
- CHANGE held its first-ever Healthy Future
Action Summit (HFAS) in May to mobilize a grassroots network of leaders in the U.S. to
advance comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in U.S. foreign policy
- Based on fact finding in Ethiopia, Dominican Republic, and Botswana, CHANGE published "Investing in Reproductive Justice for All" on advantages and challenges to comprehensive approaches to SRHR. CHANGE coordinated meetings with the White House and Congressional offices with civil society leaders from these countries.
- CHANGE hosted its first and second female condom advocacy workshops with local civil society groups in Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Swaziland.
- In March 2009, the American University Washington College of Law and CHANGE
- CHANGE began a three-year project to monitor, evaluate, and increase the U.S. Global Health Initiative's impact on SRHR in Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Nigeria.
- CHANGE released Female Condoms and U.S. Foreign Assistance: An Unfinished Imperative for Women's Health, which motivated OGAC to convene a rare interagency meeting to discuss the future of female condom programming with CHANGE and advocates from Zimbabwe and Zambia.
- Participants in CHANGE's Latin American and Caribbean Female Condom Advocacy Workshop catalyzed a major policy victory in Mexico when, after implementing their post-workshop advocacy plans, the Mexican government announced that it would begin distributing the FC2 female condoms.
- After years of advocacy by CHANGE and others, PEPFAR released a new prevention guidance to replace the Bush administration's "Abstain, Be Faithful, use Condoms (ABC)" approach.
- After years of CHANGE's female condom advocacy, USAID released new guidance recommending the female condom as an effective HIV prevention tool and cited CHANGE reports as its top two information sources. Later that year, the White House also revised its 2011 HIV/AIDS fact sheet to include female condoms as a core component of U.S. efforts to create an AIDS-free generation.
- CHANGE hosted 20 HIV+ women from the U.S. and the global south for an advocacy training, which culminated in meetings with OGAC, the Office of National AIDS Policy, and Congressional offices.
- As part of its numerous activities during AIDS 2012 in Washington D.C., CHANGE's bus shelter ads all over the city proclaimed, "Not Without Women," emphasizing the need for a woman-centered approach to HIV/AIDS. CHANGE hosted a communications and media training for women living with HIV in partnership with the U.S. Positive Women's Network and the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW).
- As part of the U.S. National Female Condom Coalition (NFCC), CHANGE founded the first ever Global Female Condom Day in September 2012.
- The Institute of Medicine released its 10-year evaluation of PEPFAR, finding CHANGE's advocacy for HIV prevention had impact on the ground.
- After years of disseminating analysis and evidence showing the negative impact of the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath (APLO) on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and the human rights of sex workers, CHANGE celebrated the Supreme Court's decision declaring the Oath to be a violation of the First Amendment.
- CHANGE and 30 Guatemalan civil society groups connected more than 200 youth from all over the country with high-level officials in the country's highly successful first youth summit to advocate for adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH).
- CHANGE launched a new education and advocacy campaign, "Break the Barriers: Stand with Women and Girls in Conflict and Crisis," to call on President Obama to issue an executive order guaranteeing U.S. support for comprehensive post-rape care, including safe and voluntary abortion services.
- On April 11, 2014, CHANGE led the call for the recognition of an International Day for Maternal Health and Rights to gain worldwide support for respectful maternity care.
- CHANGE ramped up pressure to ensure access to comprehensive post-rape care, including abortion, for women and girls with an ad in Politico signed by diverse faith leaders; a petition to the White House that secured 6,000 signatures in the first 24 hours; and a powerful video demonstrating the need for U.S. leadership that was shared on Facebook more than 200 times in the first 48 hours alone.
- In December 2014, CHANGE - and more than 20 human rights, faith-based, women's rights, and youth organizations - hosted a rally in front of the White House, calling on President Obama to break U.S. political barriers to comprehensive post-rape care that includes safe abortion. More than 275 individuals and organizations around the world joined our call on Twitter, generating nearly 3 million impressions.
Originally founded as the Health and Development Policy Project in 1994, CHANGE was created in direct response to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. This landmark meeting of approximately 180 countries, including the United States, produced a human rights framework for development assistance that –for the first time—promoted the universal sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. Since then, CHANGE’s mission has been to ensure that the U.S. remains accountable for its commitment to that framework, and that sexual and reproductive health and rights are reflected in all U.S. foreign policy and programming.
CHANGE became an independent nongovernmental organization in 2001, and its policy work has expanded to include gender integration and HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, female condom programming, and grassroots mobilization. Its main focus remains on advocating for the clear and consistent support of sexual and reproductive health and rights in all U.S. foreign policy and programming.
In the past several years, CHANGE has begun to build and mobilize a significant base of U.S. supporters, drawing from and building bridges among diverse U.S. constituencies such as students, reproductive justice advocates, faith-based organizations, HIV/AIDS groups, and women’s organizations.
Our Work Today
Today, CHANGE’s emphasis is on promoting a comprehensive, human rights-based framework for U.S. sexual and reproductive health policies and programs. The framework addresses family planning, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, and maternal health. As part of this effort, CHANGE seeks to remove the ideology-based and counterproductive restrictions in U.S. policy, such as the Global Gag Rule, that hinder comprehensive approaches to sexual and reproductive health.