Expanding contraceptive access
and choice for teen mothers in nicaragua

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Caitlin Heising

Caitlin is a leader in next generation (next gen) philanthropy. Passionate about human rights, she currently works for Article 3 Advisors, a nonprofit human rights and strategic philanthropy consultancy. Caitlin is also a 2016 Research Fellow at Institute for the Future, where she will collaborate on research projects exploring the future of philanthropy and next gen giving. Caitlin is the Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Human Rights Watch Young Professionals Network, and is a member of several young philanthropy groups, including Spark, Nexus, and the Gates Foundation’s Giving Pledge Next Generation Network.

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The Issue

Almost a quarter of teen girls in Nicaragua are pregnant or have given birth, which endangers their lives and traps them into cycles of poverty.

These teen mothers are more likely to become pregnant again soon after they give birth. Social stigma, poverty, and a lack of access to sexual and reproductive services, information, and products are all factors that contribute to so many Nicaraguan girls having children before they are ready. Unintended teen pregnancy not only prevents girls from finishing school and earning a living, it also puts them and their babies at risk of complications from pregnancy and childbirth.

Pilot And Learn

This project will establish and demonstrate the sustainability of a model clinic that addresses the sexual and reproductive health needs of teen mothers, including access to a wide range of contraceptive methods.

The model clinic will be designed specifically with the needs and preferences of teens in mind and aims to remove barriers to access by maintaining after-school hours, offering telephone and walk-in appointments, and short wait times. The clinics will provide teen mothers with a core package of essential services relevant to their daily lives, including tools and resources to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health. Functioning as a center of excellence, the clinic will train other health care providers on providing tailored services to teens.

Leverage And Scale

Once proven, the model of a financially sustainable clinic providing health services specifically targeted at teen mothers has enormous potential to be replicated across Nicaragua and the broader region.

The pilot will generate important evidence on the clinic business model and how best to address barriers that prevent teen mothers from getting the sexual and reproductive health products and services they need. Armed with these insights, PSI will work with governments and other donors to expand the model to other clinics and advocate for policies to improve the life-chances of teen mothers in Nicaragua and Central America.