IPPF honours outstanding contributions to sexual and reproductive health and rights

IPPF honours outstanding contributions to sexual and reproductive health and rights

IPPF works in over 170 countries through its 152 Member Associations, with a global staff of 30,000, and millions of volunteers. Every three years, IPPF honours individuals and organisations from within the federation who have made outstanding contributions to the cause of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

The IPPF Awards are determined by a panel of six Governing Council members (one from each region). Nominations come in from all over the world, in the following five categories: Outstanding Contribution to SRHR (for someone outside of IPPF), Individual Staff Member, Volunteer, Member Association Collective Contribution and Individual Youth Contribution.

This year’s winners have just been announced:

Outstanding Contribution to SRHR - Her Excellency Advocate Bience Philomena Gawanas

Bience has been a champion of women’s rights in Africa as well as in her own country, Namibia, and tireless in her efforts in favour of sexual and women’s and children’s health and rights.

During her time as the Commissioner of Social Affairs of the African Union (from 2003 to 2012) a major achievement of Bience’s was the development of Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, making sure that IPPF was fully involved in the development of this ground-breaking policy framework for SRHR in Africa.

Bience also launched the African Union’s Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA), mobilizing global, regional and country-level support and refocusing attention on women’s health. She was subsequently responsible for monitoring progress in the implementation of CARMMA by Member States and reporting to the African Union Assembly of Heads of State.

Staff Member - Galina Chirkina

Galina Chirkina has been the Executive Director of the Reproductive Health Alliance of Kyrgyzstan (RHAK) since its establishment in 2001. She has been a brave and inspirational leader, not only in Kyrgyzstan but also for her fellow MAs in Central Asia.

Galina has prioritised giving voice to young people, enroling them as activists, and providing them with SRH information and services. Since 2013, RHAK has promoted the creation of youth friendly medical services in government and private clinics, in partnership with Ministry of Health.

Galina also initiated the creation of National Safe Abortion Coalition in Kyrgyzstan (SA Coalition) in 2009. Thanks to the efforts of the Coalition - which includes CSOs, pharmaceutical companies, professional associations and state healthcare organizations - medical abortion became widely accessible and affordable for Kyrgyz women.

Volunteer - Lene Stavngaard

Lene has served the Federation as a volunteer at the grass roots level with Sex & Samfund, the Danish MA, as well as with the European Network and the Governing Council.

Lene was first introduced to the world of SRHR through a peer education programme on sexuality at her high school. She began teaching the programme and after the funding ran out, continued on her own initiative. This led to her involvement with IPPF and she was elected as a youth representative at the Regional Council in 2005. At 24 years old she was elected as an ordinary member of the Regional Council in Europe and from there, went on to become Regional Vice President and then Regional President, the youngest person to ever hold this position.

Lene carved the way for young people’s involvement in governance at IPPF and has been pioneering in her work to ensure that young people play an active and meaningful part in IPPF decision-making.

Member Association - The Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Associations (PFPPA)

Since its establishment in 1964, the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA), its staff have worked ceaselessly to promote sexual health and rights in the country. They have done this by enlisting the support of influential community leaders, religious leaders, professionals, media agencies and journalists, role models and community volunteers to support their work and vision.

Over the past few years they have implemented bold programmes to further the SRHR of women and young people. They have taken a harm reduction approach based on human rights and public health principles to prevent unsafe abortion through policies, programmes and practices. They also proactively and systematically address sexual and gender based violence through five service delivery points on the West Bank and in Gaza, providing women with screening, counselling and support services.

They have enlisted youth volunteers as change agents and peer educators in their community. By training local community based organization representatives, they have also built the skills and knowledge of community leaders to deliver positive comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) messages in their organizations and increase awareness in their communities.

Finally, through networking, lobbying and garnering the support of local and governmental organizations PFPPA has succeeded in introducing emergency contraceptives and implants to the country.

Youth Volunteer – Priya Kath

Priya has been a youth volunteer with the Family Planning Association of India since 2009 and has worked consistently to build the youth movement at national level. She successfully advocated for the implementation of CSE in the school curriculum and trained more than 500 young people on SRHR and CSE during her tenure as a youth volunteer in the MA’s governing board, at both branch and central levels.

Priya’s passion and dedication towards the realization of SRHR has helped her build and strengthen partnerships with other organizations, where she was able to integrate SRHR with other issues affecting young people. One example is her work as the youth champion and adviser of the Girls Not Brides Secretariat, which works towards ending child marriage globally. She has advocated tirelessly for the integration of child marriage and sexual reproductive health because of its direct impact on the health of the child.

Priya is one of IPPF’s 10 Joining Voices Champions on Family Planning, as well as the youth adviser to the IPPF abortion stigma group, and was selected as a member of the FP2020 Expert Advisory Group.