ASK AN EXPERT: Sarah Craven, Director of UNFPA’s Washington, D.C. Office
Sarah and her team demonstrate to members of Congress and other change-makers how UNFPA empowers women and girls to live with health, dignity, and opportunity. She recently answered questions about the impact of the U.S. government’s refusal to support UNFPA.
What is one example of how the United States has helped women through its past support of UNFPA?
In 2016, UNFPA used U.S. funds to build the only maternal health clinic in Jordon’s Zaatari Refugee Camp, where more than 77,000 Syrians live. Today, more than 12,000 babies have been born safely—without a single mom dying. I wish the U.S. still supported that effort.
How is the Trump administration’s refusal to support UNFPA affecting women in a country like Yemen, home to our world’s worst humanitarian crisis?
Women are dying unnecessarily in Yemen. Since the U.S. hasn’t supported UNFPA’s lifesaving work there since 2017, we’ve been forced to suspend 80% of our programming. This includes prenatal care that expectant mothers had been receiving. By the time women were ready to deliver, this support was no longer available. Some women, like Mariam, did not survive childbirth because of complications that a doctor or midwife could have addressed.
What would you say to convince someone who was thinking about supporting UNFPA?
UNFPA is the most important UN agency you have never heard of. But once you learn about its work, you can’t help but want to get involved! I know that readers of this newsletter are donors, and I am deeply grateful for their partnership. Together, we will ensure that women and girls have a fair chance in life.