Project Description


Pathfinder International, a well-respected Massachusetts-based international NGO focused on sexual and reproductive health in developing countries, sought a new strategy to better position itself as a thought leader in the industry and attract new donor relationships.

Melwood brought to the task its decades of media relations experience combined with its senior leadership’s deep international development experience. Shortly after our work began, newly elected President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded the Global Gag Rule. Pathfinder suddenly needed to carefully message its position on this difficult topic fast and help explain to reporters the severity and importance of the situation.


Knowing the Global Gag Rule reinstatement was in the works months before it was ordered, Melwood worked with Pathfinder’s staff to develop a strategy and core list of messages for Pathfinder. Melwood then began pitching Pathfinder as a resource to journalists covering the topic, from women’s rights reporters and international development writers to foreign affairs journalists. Melwood also drafted an op-ed about the Global Gag Rule to demonstrate Pathfinder’s position as a global thought leader and further leverage media coverage.

When news of the rule’s reinstatement broke, Melwood went to work, releasing Pathfinder’s statement, placing the op-ed with Reuters and coordinating minute-by-minute updates with the Pathfinder legislative team to quickly retool the statements and quotes to adequately respond to the expanded rule.


Between October 2016 and February 2017, Melwood placed 24 pieces for a total circulation of 271 million and more than 816,000 shares. Most importantly, Melwood helped Pathfinder establish itself as a go-to resource for journalists writing on the sexual and reproductive health space, clarifying a complicated issue and positioning the organization as a source for high-quality stories on the issues facing women and girls around the world. Through this effort, Melwood was integral in helping Pathfinder remind the public and donors of the organization’s role as a trailblazer throughout its history, and as a thought leader today.