Aisha Memon

Aisha Memon - 2019 Nominee
Position: President & Co-Founder | Peer Educator
Organization: Baithak - Challenging Taboos & SPHA
Current Location: Pakistan, Asia
MS in Social Policy from University of Pennsylvania
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
International Women's Health & Rights - Stanford University (Feb, 2019)
The Basics of Sexual Assault Advocacy and Community Response - Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (July, 2018)
Pennsylvania Certified Domestic Violence Advocate - The Pennsylvania Coalition against Domestic Violence (June 2018)
Training in Social Entrepreneurship Course - Global UGRAD Pakistan (August 2017)
Women’s Empowerment: Global Challenges, Opportunities and Success Stories - International Women's Empowerment Conference (March, 2016)
Human Rights, Liberalism and Secularism - Frederick Norman Foundation (November, 2014)
Navigating and Thriving Through the Challenges of Student Health Leadership - Missouri Partners in Prevention (April 2013)
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Fulbright Scholar
    Awarding Organization:
    The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State
    Date Awarded:
    July 21, 2017
  • Award:
    Community Development Initiative Award
    Awarding Organization:
    IREX (International Research & Exchanges Board)
    Date Awarded:
    March 17, 2017
  • Award:
    ICFP Youth Moderator & Speaker
    Awarding Organization:
    Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health
    Date Awarded:
    July 7, 2015
75 Public Votes Reached!
By challenging societal norms and advocating for women’s access to SRHR through her innovative work in the community, sound research, and leadership; Ayesha has empowered thousands of women in rural areas of Sindh, Pakistan to make healthy choices. – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

Most of my work in family planning has been related to education, awareness, and advocacy in rural Sindh, Jamshoro. In 2015, I conducted a survey on barriers to Family Planning Sindh, Pakistan to initiate an evidence-based, educational health drive with local partners and a team of medical doctors and lady health workers. The campaign educated 2000 women about misconceptions, methods, and services of FP, and contraceptive use.

My most recent initiative is ‘Baithak-Challenging taboo’ that aims to bring taboo topics of sexual and reproductive health, toxic masculinity, and domestic violence into the mainstream conversation. So far, the project has empowered 1000 women in 12 villages and aims to empower 5000 more women by December 2019.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

During my undergraduate, I interacted with women at health camps who had distorted concepts about religion and FP and a conversation with a classmate who was stressed because she had developed UTI. 2 different groups; one that didn’t even know they had rights and the 2nd, the highly educated but didn’t have proper sex education.
Some research on how FP affects every aspect of a woman and her family’s life and how stigma around it is making the situation worse made me switch my career to health

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

Approx. 48% women in Pakistan have no say in their health matters, MMR is 178 deaths/100,000 live births, and 75% of new born deaths are due to preventable reasons. In a response to mobilize communities to increase awareness and access to FP services, I led an interactive training project ‘HEAR (Health, Education, & Rights) for Her’ in 2017 where I mentored 500 girls in public schools with knowledge, leadership, and confidence to work as change agents for health in their community.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work? :

I’ll use the grant to maximize the impact and effectiveness of my advocacy work. I and my team at 'Baithak' will make educational videos in our local language Sindhi which will be screened in sessions and made available online for any organizations that are working in FP. We'll use the grant further used to in our prevention project, 'Healthy Masculinity Initiative' to educate young boys about healthy masculinity, SRHR, and affects of partner violence on a woman’s and child’s health.

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