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Anna Gabriella Casalme

Anna Gabriella Casalme - 2019 Nominee
Position: CEO
Organization: Novelly
Current Location: United States, North America
MS Childhood Studies from University of Edinburgh
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    International Foundation Scholarship
    Awarding Organization:
    alpha Kappa Delta Phi International Sorority, Inc.
    Date Awarded:
    June 1, 2019
  • Award:
    Rotary Maternal and Child Health Scholarship
    Awarding Organization:
    The Rotary Foundation
    Date Awarded:
    September 10, 2017
  • Award:
    Global Alliance for Arts and Health Scholarship
    Awarding Organization:
    Global Alliance for Arts and Health
    Date Awarded:
    May 31, 2012
No matter her role, Anna has proven to be an innovative advocate of family planning access for youth. She is the CEO of Novelly, a non-profit that produces digital civic education products and is funded by the Gates Foundation and Power to Decide. – Sekulu Nyekha, Volunteer at International Youth Alliance on Family Planning, India
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I have demonstrated my passion for the sexual and reproductive health rights of youth in several ways. For my master's thesis at Edinburgh University, I spent the summer in Nairobi with the African Population Health Research Center, where I studied the relationship between the Global Gag Rule of the US and the reproductive health outcomes of adolescent girls ages 15-19 in Kenya. This, combined with my work on sexual violence prevention education for youth, enabled me to attend and present my work as a Youth Leader at the 2018 International Conference on Family Planning in Kigali. Most recently, my startup, Novelly, was named a Misk Grand Challenge winner for its potential impact on the ability of youth to achieve the SDGs, primarily gender equality and good health and well-being for all.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

When I was in the 5th grade, my teacher asked us to bring a newspaper article. I brought one about a girl in Pakistan fighting for the right to go to school. It was the first time that I learned that anyone could be denied an education because of their gender. Since then, I became constantly curious about ways that we can ensure that all girls and women have the power to shape their education, career, and lives. I have come to see family planning as a central part of gender equality.

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

I aspire to be as creative and innovative as possible in my family planning work, especially when working with youth. I serve as the Founder and CEO of Novelly, which was awarded an Innovation Next grant from Power to Decide. As part of this grant, we use human-centered design to create a solution that prevents teen pregnancy through digital storytelling. I prioritize youth-centered design throughout all of Novelly and am constantly seeking to learn from others on how we can better engage youth.

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? :

In the spirit of youth-centered design, I will use the $1000 grant to fund a paid internship for a high school student and onboard them onto the Novelly team. This is to help ensure that our end user is involved in the development and implementation of Novelly programming. I hope to leverage this new platform in order to find new partners and collaborate with others on amplifying youth advocacy.

Photos of the nominee in the field/at work
Anna Casalme with Youth Designers from St. Lucy's Priory High School

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