TWC Alumna Sarah Craven discusses MDGs with Ford Scholars

TWC Alumna Sarah Craven discusses MDGs with Ford Scholars

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Danielle Artis
November 25, 2013

The Fall 2013 Ford Motor Company Scholars sat down with TWC alumna Sarah Craven ('83), who is the Chief of the Washington Office at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). She spoke about her work and its impact on Millennium Development Goal #5, which aims to improve maternal health.

Craven was introduced by Ford Scholar, Mariana Quadros, who is a student at Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA) in Brazil and an intern with the World Resources Institute.


About the United Nations Population Fund


The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was created at a time when the world was focused on the burgeoning population growth and its effects. In 1994, during the Cairo Consensus, government representatives from around the world came together to brainstorm the most effective ways to address issues surrounding the increasingly high population and equipped women with options and tools to determine the size of their own families. The work completed during the Cairo Consensus created the blueprint for the UNPFA’s work. Craven explained to the scholars that maternal mortality can be decreased with:


  • Access to family planning
  • Training midwives
  • Spacing births
  • Addressing issues of child marriage (39,000 children under 18 married are married every day)
  • Ensuring the availability of low cost birth control
  • Providing health benefits

Student Q&A Session


Juliana Cardona, a student from Florida Southern College who is interning with the Trust for America's Health, asked if Craven advocates for her agency through direct lobbying. She replied that she works with non-governmental organizations as well as the United Nations and is not permitted to lobby.  Sarah works to bring in Parliamentarians and other members to experience the work of UNFPA first hand.


Abigail TerHaar, a student from Texas Christian University and an intern in Senator Mary Landrieu’s office (D- LA), asked how Craven’s office can “distribute contraceptives when certain cultural barriers exist?” Craven responded that it is necessary to deal with these sensitive issues head on and work within the cultural context. She mentioned her work with different faith leaders, the importance of being respectful of other people’s beliefs, and the notion that culture cannot tromp rights.

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