“It’s my destiny to fight for a better life for women”

Fadoua Bakhadda

Fadoua Bakhadda, Regional Director of the Arab World Region (IPPFAWR), describes her journey to IPPF.

My passion for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is deeply personal. My great-grandmother died giving birth to her 11th child because she had no access to family planning. This was the spark that started my journey to fight for SRHR, because it affects everyone – regardless of their nationality or age. These rights are the basic needs of all human beings.

In 2000, I left home in Morocco to study medicine in Senegal, but in my second year I became very ill with typhoid and had to return home. I told myself that if I survived this, that I would give back to others. I indeed survived, and returned to my education, graduating in business. After that, I quickly returned to my promise of helping people. 

In 2012, I joined the Moroccan Family Planning Association (AMPF) as Executive Director. The organization was almost bankrupt, but through my business experience I treated AMPF as a social enterprise and things quickly turned around. When I left my role there, the income was three times what it was. They now have 73 staff, over 82 volunteers, and 909 young members.

Fadoua Bakhadda

Taking on a new challenge

Whenever one of my children asks me why I left AMPF to join IPPF as the Regional Director of the Arab World Region (IPPFAWR, based in Tunis), my answer is: “It’s my destiny to fight for a better life for women.” To a young child, this sounds strange – but my life has been a fight for other lives.

My main challenge in the job is to empower a whole region with 13 Member Associations (MA) and one partner. My earlier experience at AMPF shows me that every MA’s key to success is about management and leadership that convert efforts into results in the field, whatever your main work is. 

Today, after five months of work at IPPFAWR, management assessment is a region culture that is in the process of implementation. My vision for the region is about ACTION – which stands for Accountability; Coverage; Transparency; Integrity; Optimization & opportunity; Never leave anyone behind. 

Pushing boundaries

I am proud of the path I created and followed, and for the support and opportunities IPPF has given me in my new role. I’m also proud of the commitment from IPPF to invest in and amplify female leaders within the organization through it's Women in Leadership Initiative. 

My hope is that women see my story and are inspired to stay true to their vision, that they never settle for less, and that other leadership roles for women continue to push boundaries.