Our Mission and History
Since 1994, CHANGE has advocated for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls worldwide.
The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) is a U.S.-based non-governmental organization whose mission is to ensure that U.S. foreign policies and programs promote women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health within a human rights framework. CHANGE believes that every individual has the right to basic information, technologies, and services needed to enjoy a healthy and safe sexual and reproductive life free from coercion and preventable illness. CHANGE envisions a world where sexual and reproductive health and rights are universally recognized and sexual and reproductive health care is accessible and available to all.
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.