Hope has many faces. It is the face of a woman in Tanzania who has borne seven children and finally, for the first time in her life, has access to modern contraception. It is the face of an Ethiopian teenager, married off as a child, who decides to postpone her second baby until she can finish school herself.
The message of World Contraception Day is empowering: "It's your life; it's your future; know your options." But let's take this to the next level. Let's come together to ensure that no one stops at knowing their options but that all of us, no matter where in the world we live, can act on this knowledge and freely choose when we have children and how many children we have.
One of the most surprising and to my mind worrying statistics I have come across recently is that 38% of the 220million women we need to support have actually used contraception before. That means that for whatever reason, having once been able to control their fertility these women have had their access to contraception blocked, and we have failed them.
In reality no-one is "pro-abortion," but rather we, along with the mainstream populace of the vast majority of the developing world, are "pro the right to abortion." Each woman should be allowed and empowered to make her own decision as to whether she continues her pregnancy - according to her health, her morals, her religion, her resources and all the other circumstances she finds herself in.
11 July, according to the UN, is World Population Day. The aim is to ensure universal access for the world's women to reproductive health services, including, in the fine print, voluntary family planning. In truth, the latter offers what is arguably the most cost-effective means of reducing human misery in the long term.
Over the years we have seen a lot of good, bad and ugly promises, campaigns and programmes. Some, such as increasing child vaccinations, have been very successful. But in the run up to the finish line for the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, we see that we are still way off key targets for women and children.
We know that there is a gap into which a minimum of 200million women fall because their needs for contraception are unmet. Getting condoms, pills and other supplies onto the ground is one essential part of what needs to be done to deal with this. But it is only one side of the coin. If women are to be able to make use of these then we need to also tackle the flip side of the coin - the gender inequality and unequal power relations between men and women which mean that women and girls often cannot decide when or whether they have sex, including whether contraception is used.