Billie De Haas

Billie De Haas - 2019 Nominee
Position: Assistant Professor
Organization: University of Groningen
Current Location: The Netherlands, Europe
PhD from Population Research Centre, University of Groningen
75 Public Votes Reached!
Trailblazer researcher from Europe who researched in Africa. She has also shown great passion and leadership on the subject. She has taken leading roles in networking students and mentorship. Continues knowledge generation through research + networki – Roy Matangira, Volunteer at Celebration Ministries International
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

In Uganda, many young people are hesitant about using contraception, especially hormonal contraception. In my research on sexuality education, I found that many young people fear that using hormonal contraception may lead to infertility. Also, many fear that condoms are not reliable and are therefore reluctant to use them. In the case of school-based sexuality education, I found that schools are making students more vulnerable by denying them access to contraception and by providing incomplete information about their use. By working together with local NGOs and discussing my findings with the relevant Ugandan government departments, I hope my research findings will be used to improve young people's sexual and reproductive health and rights.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Participants have shared very personal, heart-breaking experiences with me. Many of those experiences related to their inability to use reliable contraception and the consequences they have gone through because of it. I find it difficult to realise all this hardship is unnecessary and I want to use my abilities as a researcher to contribute to better information and access to contraception for young people in Uganda and other restrictive contexts.

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

Last month I presented my research findings to the technical working group of the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports that is assigned to implement sexuality education in primary and secondary schools. I used many quotes from my participants to ensure their voices are heard by the policymakers.
Another example is the article I wrote about my research on the Conversation Africa to contribute to the societal debate.

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 would give the grant to a small local NGO based in Uganda that has highly trained sexuality educators and that is empowering students in schools on sexual and reproductive health issues via story telling sessions.

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