Empowering young adolescents in Madagascar to reach their full potential

Friends of PJL Madagascar's primary purpose is to support comprehensive sexuality education across Madagascar that will enable youth to reach their full health and leadership potential. 

Our Focus

Reducing the Vulnerability of Adolescence

Young adolescents in Madagascar experience some of the worst sexual and reproductive health outcomes in the world: one in three Malagasy girls will become a mother before age 18, and nearly half will be married as children. These poor outcomes are perpetuated by a lack of essential knowledge on puberty and sexual and reproductive health as well as harmful gender attitudes among adolescents.

A Strategic Investment

Comprehensive sexuality education that reaches adolescents from a young age is a strategic investment that has been proven to improve educational attainment, employment opportunities, health outcomes, and overall well-being throughout the life course. However, young adolescents in Madagascar do not have access to this education either at or outside of school.


We provide funding and fiscal sponsorship to thoroughly vetted programs in Madagascar that provide comprehensive sexuality education and holistic support services to adolescents.

We prioritize funding programs in rural, hard-to-reach communities, as adolescents from these areas are particularly vulnerable and lack essential knowledge and attitudes around sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Meet Projet Jeune Leader

Projet Jeune Leader (PJL) is one of our local partners based in Madagascar. This youth-founded, youth-focused organization is working to ensure that every adolescent in Madagascar has essential knowledge, skills, and support through comprehensive sexuality education. 

They have pioneered a model to bring high-quality and holistic comprehensive sexuality education to young adolescents across rural Madagascar, for the first time, through a holistic program that includes:

Projet Jeune Leader Madagascar is certified as equivalent to a U.S public charity (equivalency determination undergone by NGOSource)


Friends of PJL Madagascar is registered as a 501(c)3 organization in the United States (EIN 92-0283849). We are overseen by a five-member Board of Directors.

Wendy Turnbull

Board President

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Wendy is a seasoned strategist and committed advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the U.S. and globally. Over nearly three decades, she has worked to advance contraceptive choice, adolescent access to SRHR information and services, public financing for family planning, and universal health care.

During her time at PAI, Wendy managed grantmaking programs designed to provide rapid, flexible financial and strategy support to CSOs across Africa and Asia engaged in SRHR advocacy and accountability efforts at national and subnational levels. This work also involved encouraging funded organizations to nurture their in-house advocacy and communications expertise, invest in coalitions and the power of collective action, and practice the principles of good governance. Before joining PAI, Wendy was a registered federal lobbyist for the Guttmacher Institute and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, advocating for women’s health and rights with the U.S. Congress and Administration.

Nicole Cheetham

Board Vice President

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Nicole Cheetham is the Director of the International Youth Health and Rights Division at Advocates for Youth. She has more than 20 years of experience working in international public health and provides technical assistance and training to partner organizations in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean in support of adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights program design and implementation. Core areas of expertise include school-based and out-of-school sexuality education, community mobilization, peer education, youth-friendly services, parent-child communication, and youth-led advocacy. Nicole leads the organization’s international efforts on comprehensive sexuality education and directs the AMAZE Initiative, which develops short, animated sexuality education videos for adolescents and resources for parents and educators in collaboration with organizations around the world. She has authored numerous assessments, teacher training modules, scripted lesson plans, and technical guidance. Nicole holds a Masters of Health Sciences in International Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of American Sexuality Education, and speaks English, Spanish and French.

Sarah Jonson

Board Treasurer

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Sarah Jonson works at the International Youth Foundation (IYF), a global organization whose mission is to connect young people with opportunities to transform their lives. As IYF's Technical Advisor for Youth Agency and Engagement, Sarah is responsible for providing strategic leadership for the organization and supporting existing projects and business development efforts in the areas of youth agency, leadership, civic education, and meaningful youth engagement.

Sarah joined IYF in 2017, bringing her experience and passion for youth workforce development, technical and vocational education and training (TVET), and gender mainstreaming. She has since worked closely with teams and projects from around the world. Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts in business from William and Mary in 2011 and a Master of Arts in public and international affairs from Virginia Tech in 2016, but is equally proud of and appreciative for the education she has received from the various people and places she has worked with and in throughout her career.

Wendy Benzerga

Board Secretary

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Wendy Benzerga has over thirty years of experience in health program design, management, and evaluation with expertise in HIV prevention and treatment, sexual reproductive health and family planning, maternal child health, and malaria as well as community engagement and local capacity building. Wendy joined USAID in 1999 and served in Madagascar, South Africa, and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) as the Health, Population, and Nutrition Office Team Lead, HIV Prevention Advisor, and the USAID Country Office Director for the PEPFAR program respectively. She is currently the Health Team Lead for USAID/Jamaica. In the 1990’s Wendy worked for Family Health International managing HIV prevention programs in Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, and Niger, and she provided technical assistance to programs in Tanzania, Haiti, Zambia, and Rwanda. She also served the US Government as a VISTA Volunteer in rural Colorado and for the Peace Corps in Cameroon in the 1980’s. She has a Master of Science Degree from American University in Organization and Behavioral Science. She is proficient in French.

Janet Fleischman

Board Member

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Janet Fleischman is independent consultant and has worked for numerous nongovernmental organizations addressing policy and programmatic issues around sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, maternal health, and Covid-19, as well as education for girls and economic empowerment for women. Janet is a senior associate with the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she focuses on women’s global health and U.S. policy. She has authored dozens of reports and articles, hosted podcasts, and produced and directed several videos. From 1983 to 2003, Janet worked for Human Rights Watch, as a researcher on Eastern Europe and Africa and then as Washington director for Africa.


We are deeply grateful to our donors who share our belief in the power of comprehensive sexuality education to transform the lives of young adolescents in Madagascar.



Lisa and David Issroff

$5,000 to $24,999

Anonymous donor advised fund at The Chicago Community Foundation



Elsie Freudenberger

Janet Fleischman and Joel Solomon

Kaye Edwards