Nigerian appointee will keep the spotlight on youth issues at highest levels of leadership in the global partnership.
Washington, D.C. (April 5, 2016) – Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), the global partnership that supports the rights of women and girls to decide, freely, and for themselves, whether, when, and how many children they want to have, is pleased to announce that Margaret Bolaji will serve as the newly appointed youth seat representative on FP2020’s Reference Group.
Bolaji, from the Osun State in Nigeria, is Research Associate at the Population and Reproductive Health Initiative at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Kaduna State, Nigeria, and Vice President of the UNFPA Youth Advisory Group.
The newly established seat offers a unique opportunity for meaningful participation for young people at the highest level of FP2020’s governance. The Reference Group provides overall strategic direction for the global partnership, which works with a broad array of partners and stakeholders to secure the rights of women and girls to access a full range of contraceptive supplies and information in FP2020’s 69 focus countries.
At age 27, Bolaji has demonstrated a strong passion and commitment to increasing family planning access for those who are most in need. She has served on a youth advisory group to UNFPA in Northern Nigeria to ensure that the priorities of young people in her community are reflected in UNFPA programming, and has spoken publicly on these priorities at the 2016 International Conference on Family Planning and the inaugural Nigerian Summit on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) Accountability earlier this year.
“I am incredibly honored to join the global leaders in family planning who preside on FP2020’s Reference Group,” Bolaji said. “The importance of having young people’s voices at the table for these critical, high-level conversations must never be underestimated. We must be able to control our reproductive futures if we are to be a force in shaping the future of our planet—this is our right and our need.”
Bolaji was selected from a pool of 94 applicants from 38 countries. FP2020 launched the application process in March upon announcing the new cohort of Reference Group members.
As the newest member of FP2020’s governing body, which comprises 18 members representing multilateral organizations, civil society, developing countries, donor governments, and the private sector, Bolaji will play a prominent role in helping shape FP2020 ‘s direction.
The establishment of the youth seat underscores FP2020’s deep commitment to increasing engagement with young people at all levels. FP2020 recently unveiled its new strategy for 2016-2020 to prioritize areas of work with the greatest impact, a key outcome of which is a sharpened focus on young people, adolescents, and marginalized populations to ensure they have access to a broad array of high quality contraceptive services, supplies, and information.
The Reference Group is co-chaired by Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, and Dr. Chris Elias, President of Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“We are thrilled to welcome Margaret to the Reference Group, and look forward to having her passion, insights, and experience help inform and guide our efforts,” said Drs. Osotimehin and Elias. “It is important that young people are part of the global conversation about their contraception and family planning needs, so solutions are designed with them rather than for them.”
The world’s youth population is the largest in history – totaling some 1.8 billion between the ages of 10 and 24—and many live in the world’s poorest countries. Their potential is too often hindered by extreme poverty, stigma or discrimination, or lack of basic information about or access to reproductive health.
Furthermore, complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading killer of adolescent girls in developing countries. Empowering young girls and adolescents through access to contraceptive information and supplies can help change the social and cultural norms of communities, and have a powerful ripple effect across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, generating myriad benefits to women, families, communities and society in terms of health, energy use, educational opportunities, and workforce opportunities.
For more information contact:
Communications Director, FP20202