International Women’s Day 2018: #PressforProgress

This year, we recognize the women around the world who help us press for progress in their communities.

Make a change

Help empower women worldwide with access to life-changing reproductive health care.

Donate Now

At MSI, we go where no one else will go – to places some think of as unreachable. How do we do it?

On International Women’s Day, we recognize the thousands of women across the globe who make our work happen. Every day, they’re pressing for progress in their communities, so that more women and girls can have children by choice, not chance.

Our new video gives you a peak into their world in Burkina Faso, where MS Ladies are making real change. MS Ladies are midwives or nurses who receive training from MSI country programs, and then deliver family planning care directly in their communities.

The local MS Lady could be your sister, aunt or neighbor – someone who knows your community and how to meet the needs of women in that unique place.

One MS Lady, Arlette Naba, explains how she does it in Burkina Faso:

"There is a real closeness with the women. We try to get closer to the women who are really in need of family planning."

Because stigma and misconceptions about contraception often prevent women from accessing our services, MS Ladies travel wherever they’re needed to deliver services in discrete environments.

They help us reach women and girls who might not otherwise come to a traditional clinic by going to villages, high schools, local health centers and even clients' homes.

Prepared for a power outage, MS Lady Julienne counsels a client with her headlamp at the ready.

Another MS Lady in Burkina Faso, Julienne, explains:

“The women I serve are not the kind who worry about what kind of moisturizer to use to get a nice glow. They are submissive women who don’t have the last word in their households.”

Living and working alongside the women in their community, Julienne and Arlette see the suffering that the lack of information and access to family planning cause. They are determined to do what they can to make women’s lives better.


“The story that really stays with me is a 13-year-old girl called Doris,” says Julienne. “Her mum was one of my clients and accompanied her to receive a family planning method. Despite being illiterate, she understood the importance of family planning for her daughter. Her one wish was that her daughter’s life would be better than hers.”

As for the year ahead, Arlette says her aim is "to reach as many women as I can who don’t have access to family planning.”

Today and every day, we’re grateful for the extraordinary courage and determination of MS Ladies who travel the extra mile – often literally – to reach the women and girls who need us most.

Our Global Impact Last Year


women using a MSI
method of contraception


unintended pregnancies


unsafe abortions prevented


pregnancy-related deaths prevented