Ankita Khanna

Ankita Khanna - 2019 Nominee
Position: iyafp country coordinator- India
Organization: iyafp
Current Location: India, Asia
ankita is a young a advicate for SRHR and is passionate about creating equitble access to SRHR services for everyone. – Christelle Favre, IYAFP country coordinator at IYAFP
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

- As the India Country Coordinator for the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning, I developed a network of youth nationally for sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) and family planning (FP) advocacy. I also Initiated a story-telling campaign to bring together and amplify youth voices, in order to capture the challenges and enablers of youth efforts in accessing sexual and reproductive health and family planning services in India.

- I also served as the Asia Youth Panel Member for Restless Development’s assessment of FP2020’s Meaningful Adolescent and Youth Engagement to provide research support, guidance and advice in the development of youth engagement strategy for FP2020 partnership.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

As an advocate for women’s rights and having worked extensively within rural and semi-urban communities in India, it was natural for me to notice the challenges women faced in accessing their sexual and reproductive health rights in these communities. Often, women talked about the challenges they faced and how they lacked the agency to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. This often manifested in pregnancies that they did not want. While sex determination tests are banned in India, through my work, I came across women who had been tricked, beaten or even drugged into undergoing the procedure – leading to female infanticide. Further reading and review of NFHS data revealed to me the manifestations of gender inequity in SRHR and FP in India and the urgent need to address it.

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

I was very lucky to be offered the opportunity to pilot Sex O’Clock News (a quick snippet newsletter focusing on SRHR and FP) at ICFP 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. I co-led a team of young women from various parts of the world, who are also advocates for SRHR and family planning. We reached 800+ subscribers within a week with whom we shared youth focused SRHR and FP information from the conference.

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? :

Social inequity, inadequate representation and lack of leadership opportunities prevent youth from actualizing sexual and reproductive health rights, which in effect, translates into the inability to access family planning services. If I am named a winner of 120 under 40, I will organize workshops for youth to network and access SRHR and family planning information, while ensuring adequate representation for youth from minority communities. In these workshops, I specifically aim to focus on representation because youth that do not have access to the right language or the right networks often find themselves at a disadvantage in accessing such opportunities, which in turn becomes a roadblock to their representation in wider discourse and advocacy. Through such workshops, I also aim to empower youth by providing them training to for collecting quantitative and qualitative data to better represent their lived experiences. This would enable us – the youth – to strengthen our advocacy efforts while ensuring the interests of diverse communities have equitable representation, regardless of our backgrounds and privileges.

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