2017–A Year of Challenges…and Successes

Even as 2017 proved to be a challenging year for progressive issues like ours, it was also a year when Population Connection’s donors, activists, volunteers, and supporters—people like you!—showed up in Washington, D.C. and communities nationwide to defend reproductive rights and demand protection for our environment. Together, we will keep fighting in 2018 and beyond for progressive action to stabilize global population and forge a more sustainable future for people everywhere.

Here are just a few of the ways Population Connection’s community of supporters came together to build momentum behind our agenda of zero population growth.



Population Connection and Population Connection Action Fund partner to mobilize grassroots support to fund critical family planning programs and to remove all barriers to comprehensive reproductive health care.

Capitol Hill Days

Our annual advocacy weekend, Capitol Hill Days, brought 352 people—our biggest turnout ever—to Washington, D.C. to lobby legislators fora greater investment in global reproductive health and family planning.  Activists met with nearly 200 congressional offices, and Population Connection donors provided funding for 300+college leaders to receive scholarships covering their travel to D.C.


The #Fight4HER campaign broadly aims to defend international and domestic family planning and reproductive freedom around the world. This year, we mobilized activists against Trump’s Global Gag Rule, and in support of the Global HER Act, which would permanently repeal this dangerous and deadly policy.

Field organizers rallied support for the Global HER Act in the Research Triangle of North Carolina; the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania; New Hampshire; Columbus, Ohio; Fort Collins and Denver, CO; and the Phoenix-Tempe area of Arizona.

Here are a few #Fight4HER highlights:

  • On International Women’s Day (March 8), 1,000 people attended a teach-in at Ohio State University.
  • On March 17, we teamed up with Planned Parenthood of PA to deliver 22,000 petitions to Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) office.
  • On March 31, activists in Colorado held an “award ceremony” for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) in front of his state office, presenting his cardboard likeness with the “Worst Women’s Advocate Award” for his terrible record on reproductive rights. They also delivered 1,200 petitions to his office.
  • On April 20, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen met with leaders of the #Fight4HER campaign at the University of New Hampshire and thanked them for defending reproductive health around the globe, and for supporting the Global HER Act, which she introduced in the Senate.
  • From October 20th to November 11th, we hosted two leadersfrom Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK), Melvine Ouyo and Amos Simpano. They traveled with Population Connection staff and human rights activist Lisa Shannon to our target outreach states to discuss the harmful impacts of Trump’s Global Gag Rule.
  • The FHOK speaking tour, No Options: Voices from the Front Lines of Reproductive Healthcare, started in D.C. with Capitol Hill visits, a briefing for partner organizations, , and a tele-town hall. The tour then continued on to Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado. The tour attracted press from various student newspapers, STAT News, and PRI’s The World.

As part  #Fight4HER’s goal of sharing the voices of those most impacted by U.S. foreign policy, author and activist Lisa Shannon has been working to collect stories of the women and girls most affected by Trump’s Global Gag Rule. She visited Kenya, Congo, and Somalia on behalf of Population Connection last spring, speaking with clinic workers and patients about their experiences, and the serious challenges posed by funding cuts for those clinics who receive U.S. dollars. (Note: Somalia doesn’t receive family planning assistance from the United States).

Her stories, photos, and video footage—made possible by Population Connection’s generous supporters—have been instrumental in demonstrating to Americans how incredibly detrimental United States foreign policy is when it comes to the health and lives of people across the globe. She has spoken at numerous events representing Population Connection, including at Capitol Hill Days, and has helped us generate media attention about the destructive impact of restrictive U.S. policies

Conservation Through Public Health Partnership

In 2016, Population Connection began a formal partnership with Conservation Through Public Health, a Ugandan organization that focuses on preserving Uganda’s threatened wild gorilla populations by addressing the public health needs of the surrounding human communities.

Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, CTPH founder, realized that wild gorilla populations were most threatened by contact with the human communities surrounding their habitat. She found that offering comprehensive public health services, especially family planning, greatly reduces the impact humans have on these endangered great apes.

The work of Dr. Gladys and her team is  embodies Population Connection’s mission—that stabilizing global population is the key to improving life for all of the planet’s inhabitants—making our partnership with CTPH a natural extension of our education and advocacy work.

From March 22-April 7, we hosted Dianah Nalwanga, Program Manager for Conservation Through Public Health, as the second phase of our exchange with the Ugandan organization (Our  Senior Director of Advocacy and Outreach, Rebecca Harrington, visited the program in Uganda in 2016 as the first part of the exchange). Dianah spoke on a panel at Capitol Hill Days and joined us in visiting #Fight4HER campaigns in Ohio and North Carolina. In North Carolina, she joined us for a petition drop to Sen. Tillis.



Teacher Training Workshops

A PopEd workshop was held in nearly every state in the U.S. in 2017. PopEd staff led workshops in Alberta, Arizona, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Along with our network of Teacher Trainer volunteers, PopEd led more than 700 workshops in 2017.

Updated PopEd Lesson Plans & Activities

  • We debuted a new edition of our bilingual activity guide, Nuestro Mundo, Nuestro Futuro/Our World, Our Future in the spring.
  • We produced a new website dedicated to our middle school curriculum, People and the Planet, previously only available on CD. It contains 41 teaching activities, 18 student readings, and 31 infographics, plus links to recommended websites and books for further exploration!

In 2017, we offered an online course three times for current middle and high school teachers from around the country. This course is available for graduate credit through the University of Missouri, Kansas City and provides educators with an in-depth background and lesson plan ideas on population, resource use and environmental challenges for their science and social studies students.

World of 7 Billion Middle & High School Student Video Contest

Nearly 3,000 teams and individuals dived deep into population issues to compete in this year’s World of 7 Billion Student Video Contest — the most ever! More than 5,500 students in grades 6-12, from 45 countries and 48 U.S. states and territories, created short videos exploring  population growth and its connections to ocean health, climate change, or rapid urbanization. We announced 18 winners in May with press coverage, social media, and other outreach. Press highlights included coverage by:

  • WISN-MKE ABC affiliate, Milwaukee, WI
  • KIFI ABC affiliate, Idaho Falls, ID
  • CBC News Network, Nova Scotia
  • The Chronicle Herald, Nova Scotia: “Horton student wins international first place for video on climate change”
  • CBC News, Saskatchewan: “Watch a Sask. grade schooler’s stop-animation plea to halt rising sea levels”
  • KIDK, Idaho Falls: “Local students internationally recognized for their first-place winning video on ocean health”
  • Post Register, Idaho Falls: “Compass students win international video contest”
  • Press Telegram, Long Beach, CA: “Lakewood middle school students earn honors in international video contest”
  • Kings County Register, Shorewood, WI: “Horton student wins first place video on climate change”

Conventions and Institutes

  • We hosted a booth at the National Science Teachers Association Convention in Los Angeles March 29 – April 2.
  • Over the summer, 127 Advanced Placement (AP) Institutes in 36 states included PopEd activities (a 60% increase over 2016). Most of these training events target teachers of AP Human Geography and AP Environmental Science. We also added 16 AP World History Institutes to our roster, in large part due to the relevance of our interactive site, WorldPopulationHistory.org.
  • We hosted two Leadership Institutes for new educators preparing to become PopEd facilitators in 2017. Our two-day summer event in Morrilton, Arkansas, attracted 28 university, K-12, and non-formal educators. Most of the participants hailed from Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, and Georgia. Our September Institute in Richmond, Virginia, brought 22 new trainers from throughout the state, with a few traveling from as far as Ohio and Kentucky.

International Engagement

Our Senior Advisor for International Engagement, Catherine Cameron, keeps us abreast of international happenings in the population and family planning field. In 2017, she represented Population Connection’s members at:

  • The 50th Session of the UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD)
  • A series of briefings/strategy sessions organized to take advantage of the fact the Global Financing Facility (GFF) Investors Group (the GFF governing body) was meeting during the World Bank spring meetings
  • The latest in a series of CSO consultations on the London Summit, co-sponsored by DFID (UK Department for International Development), the Gates Foundation, UNFPA, and the Canadian government. This was a follow-up to the 2012 London Summit, which launched FP2020. It is a one-day, invitation only event, whose goal is to revitalize/reassess commitments to FP2020, which is not on a trajectory to meet its goal of 120 million new users by 2020.

In addition, Catherine manages our partnerships with international agencies and organizations, such as the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC), UNFPA, Ipas, and International Planned Parenthood Federation, so that Population Connection can support initiatives to expand contraceptive access, break down barriers to reproductive health care, and share stories of those affected by policies preventing full family planning access around the world.

With Ipas, for example, Population Connection is helping to gather Nigerian’s stories about the effects of Trump’s Global Gag Rule(GGR); is supporting the dissemination of accurate information on the GGR’s implications for women’s health and rights in Nigeria; and is helping to educate Nigerians about the negative effects of the Global Gag Rule through outreach to media, civil society organizations and professional associations.

Member Engagement

Our new Membership Relations team got off to a spectacular start this year, organizing 209 members, who have volunteered at 111 events, in 84 cities, reaching an estimated 9,008 people! Here are some highlights:

  • Over 100 members volunteered on Earth Day across the country, hosting tables at 16 different Earth Day events and distributing literature at the March for Science. These dedicated activists reached an estimate 4,000 people in one weekend!
  • Throughout the year, members distributed information on population issues and shared family planning petitions at farmers markets and festivals across the country, from Portland, Oregon to Orlando, Florida. They collected over 1,200 petitions in 2017!
  • Members organized and participated in documentary film screenings and discussions in Portland, OR, Los Angeles, CA, Dallas, TX, and Reedley, CA helping their community make the connection between environmental and reproductive justice.
  • Members represented Population Connection at 11 workplace giving events this fall, encouraging state and federal workers to include us in their annual giving.

Members looking to get involved in your community can find resources at https://www.populationconnection.org/getinvolved/ and meet your local coordinator by emailing engage@popconnect.org.

John Seager-Connecting with Communities

Population Connection President and CEO John Seager continues to travel the country speaking to college students, religious congregations, and local groups. His speaking events in 2017—47 in all—took him to all four corners of the country and dozens of places in between.

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Since 1968, Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth or ZPG) has been America's voice for population stabilization—we are the largest grassroots population organization in the United States! As a 501(c)(3) charity, all donations made to us are tax-deductible.

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