Mexican Institute for Family and Population Research

Mexican Institute for Family and Population Research
Mexican Institute of Family and Population Research
Formation 1985
Location Mexico City, Mexico
President Susan Pick

The Mexican Institute of Family and Population Research (Instituto Méxicano de Investigación de Familia y Población) or IMIFAP-"I want to, I can" is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Mexico City, Mexico. Founded in 1985 by Susan E. Pick of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the organization functions as a center for teaching, research, and consulting in the fields of public health, population, and individual and community welfare. A certified Civil Association within Mexico, IMIFAP-"I want to, I can" focuses in the areas of health, environment, nutrition, and sexuality education, microenterprise development, and addictions, cancer, HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancy, and violence prevention. The organization's mission is to create and implement programs which contribute to sustainable human development in order to allow individuals to take control of their own health, productivity, and lives.[1][2]


Theoretical Framework

IMIFAP’s "I want to, I can" programs are targeted to strengthen individual and community capabilities and to promote in participants´ personal changes in behavior, norms and attitudes as the route to human and community development. In order to achieve this goal, the Framework for Enabling Empowerment (FrEE)[3] has been developed to guide the creation of each new program. FrEE stresses four objectives: facilitating the acquisition of knowledge, life skills and opportunities for reducing psychosocial barriers such as shame, guilt, fear, and social pressure to conform; encouraging individuals to experience that behavior changes are possible and under their control; strengthening these activities with teachers and local community promoters, advocacy with local public officials, and dissemination of information to the broader public in both official and indigenous languages; and conducting programs in an interactive fashion, supported by educational and promotional durable materials and in small groups.[4]

Main objectives

  • Strengthen human capabilities, especially those related to health, education, and productivity.
  • Facilitate psycho-social skill building and life skills development from childhood through adulthood.
  • Design, implement, and evaluate comprehensive health, education, and productivity education programs supported by scientific research.
  • Establish partnerships with NGOs, governments, businesses, and communities.
  • Search for prevention-focused sustainable in accordance with community needs.
  • Instigate social change directed towards promoting well-being and active participation in the communities in which we work.
  • Replicate and extend the advances of IMIFAP´s programs in other regions.


In the 1980s, research in Ciudad Netzahualcoyotl, a shanty town on the outskirts of Mexico City, showed that although most women thought positively of the use of contraception between these ideas and their practices. Sex education programs present within Mexico at the time were basic and technical; the focused on population control. Research showed that as a result, the women of Ciudad Netzahualcoyotl lacked knowledge of contraceptives, had minimal decision making and communication skills, and felt fear, shame, and powerlessness over their decisions. These findings inspired Susan Pick to create a program that change as started with an individual gaining control over his or her life.

Based on these findings, IMIFAP-"I want to, I can" was founded by a group of social psychologists, led by Susan Pick, to continue this work. IMIFAP-"I want to, I can" applies social psychological research to sustainable development programs to make the program more holistic, sustainable, and effective. Over the 25 years that IMIFAP’s "I want to, I can" programs have been operated, each program has focused explicitly on individuals’ needs and behaviors. Designed in a participatory manner, each program is reflection based and focuses on reducing psycho-social barriers to change. Through the past two decades, IMIFAP-"I want to, I can" has shared its research with the development communities, through publishing 200 articles and 240 books, the development and implementation of 15 types of health programs, and the creation of a life skills text book that a substantive portion of school-aged children use in their classroom.[5]


IMIFAP’s signature program, Yo quiero, yo puedo (“I want to, I can”), provides program participants with scientifically validated knowledge and life skills in interactive and participatory workshop settings. The I want to, I can life skills training program is based on IMIFAP’s experience in the field since its founding in 1985. It operates under the assumption that, once individuals acquire a sense of personal agency, they will impact the broader community context. "I want to, I can" life skills training is for: adolescents, men, women, teachers, health personnel, pharmacists, government officials, domestic workers, and many other groups of people.[6][7]

All I want to, I can programming covers three universal themes: 1) Life skills, 2) Health education, and 3) Civics and Ethics Training. Each focused program includes specialized material on the subject. Focused programs include comprehensive community development, hygiene and sanitation, substance abuse, cancer, HIV/AIDS, family planning, disaster relief, violence prevention, parenting, quality of health services, citizenship and culture of legality, school performance, microenterprise development, nutrition, parenting, and obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease prevention. I want to, I can programs use a closely accompanied cascade methodology, whereby IMIFAP trains community health personnel, teachers, and community leaders; these individuals are then charged with replicating the program among community members to achieve maximum impact. IMIFAP has adopted a cascade health training system in order to promote local ownership and long-term sustainability of its programs.


  • 1984 The Mexican Institute of Family and Population Research (IMIFAP) is founded.
  • 1985 IMIFAP undertakes its first study, on prevention of unwanted pregnancies in adolescence.
  • 1986 IMIFAP develops and validates its first measurement scales.
  • 1987 IMIFAP begins the development of a series of 101 books on family, life and health education for children ages two to twelve.
  • 1988 IMIFAP develops its first program and training manual, entitled “Planning Your Life”, and with it operationalizes Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach.
  • 1989 IMIFAP research shows that providing participatory, reflection-based programming to adolescents increases the likelihood of behavioral change as compared to traditional programs.
  • 1990 IMIFAP develops its first program for parents, entitled “Learning to be a Mom/Dad” IMIFAP research shows that providing sexuality education programs before adolescents have sex increases the likelihood that they adopt safe sex practices. The research also shows that unprotected sex and substance abuse have similar predictors in terms of skills possession. As a result IMIFAP develops its first multi-thematic program.
  • 1991 The Mexican Ministry of Education commits to the nationwide training of its secondary school teachers in “Planning Your Life”.
  • 1992 IMIFAP launches its first international program, training NGOs from across Latin America.
  • 1993 IMIFAP addresses a congressional committee meeting on the need for sexuality education, and a clause is included in Article 7 of the General Law of Education to the effect IMIFAP develops its first video, entitled "Talk to Me About 'That'", to inform parents of the importance of sexuality education and communication.
  • 1994 IMIFAP launches its first program with physicians IMIFAP expands its programming to address HIV/AIDS.
  • 1995 IMIFAP participates in the World Health Organization’s Program on Mental Health and recognizes life skills as central to health promotion programming.
  • 1996 IMIFAP restructures its programs to create “I want to, I can”, today IMIFAP’s signature program
  • 1997 IMIFAP launches its first program outside of Latin America, undertaken in Greece IMIFAP convenes the first Regional Psychology Congress for Professionals in America: Linking Science and Application in Psychology, together with the IUPSYS and IAAP.
  • 1998 IMIFAP expands its programming to address violence.
  • 1999 IMIFAP develops the “Civics and Ethics Formation” secondary school textbook for the Mexican Ministry of Education. The textbook reaches over 11 million students.
  • 2000 Queen Silvia of Sweden presents IMIFAP with an award for its program “I want to, I can … prevent substance abuse” IMIFAP extends its programming to rural communities.
  • 2001 IMIFAP launches its first program with traditional healers
  • 2002 IMIFAP launches its first microenterprise program IMIFAP launches its first program to comprehensively target students, adults and microenterprise initiatives. Entitled “Comprehensive Community Development”, the program reaches 150,000 beneficiaries.
  • 2003 IMIFAP expands its programming to address cervical and breast cancer.
IMIFAP launches its first program with rights for domestic workers.
IMIFAP applies its conceptual model to make recommendations for improved decentralization of the health, education and social sectors in Mexico.
  • 2004 IMIFAP undertakes the development of an early life skills curriculum as an HIV prevention strategy.
  • 2005 IMIFAP expands its programming to cover all three years of preschool.
  • 2006 IMIFAP expands its programming to address diabetes.
IMIFAP launches its first program targeted to migrant communities.
  • 2007 IMIFAP begins work along the US-Mexico border, addressing obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
IMIFAP launches VenAtrevete, an HIV/AIDS prevention initiative and website specifically for adolescents.
IMIFAP serves as consultant to the Mexican Congress on violence prevention.
IMIFAP develops a hygiene, personal agency and empowerment model for DICONSA, a branch of the Mexican Ministry of Social Development .
IMIFAP develops and publishes a scale to measure agency and empowerment and better understand the changes brought about in program participants.
  • 2008 IMIFAP expands its programming to address school performance.
  • 2009 IMIFAP designs and implements nationally a program on nutrition and empowerment, targeting Mexico’s poorest 300,000 homes.
IMIFAP develops one-minute video “Prevention of Partner Violence” that is aired in movie theaters across Mexico as part of the Cineminuto program.

External links


  1. ^ [1], 27-4-2011. Retrieved 3-8-2011.
  2. ^ [2], Pick, S., Givaudan, M. & Poortinga, Y. (2003). “Sexuality and life skills education: Multi-strategy interventions in Mexico”. American Psychologist, 58 (3), pp. 230-234.
  3. ^ [3], Pick and Sirkin. "Breaking the Poverty Cycle". Oxford University Press, 2010
  4. ^ [4], Pick, S., Givaudan, M. & Poortinga, Y. (2003). “Sexuality and life skills education: Multi-strategy interventions in Mexico”. American Psychologist, 58 (3), pp. 230-234.
  5. ^ [5], IMIFAP´s articles.
  6. ^ [7], Llevan programas del DIF igualdad, progreso y paz social: Lourdes Salinas. El Imparcial. 28-3-2009. Retrieved 2-8-2011.

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