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Elisha Opiyo

Elisha Opiyo - 2019 Nominee
Position: Sexual and Reproductive Health Program Coordinator, Family Planning Trainer
Organization: Lwala Community Alliance
Current Location: Kenya, Africa
Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and international relations) from Rongo University, Kenya.
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
Diploma: clinical medicine and surgery
AT: Kenya medical training college
Gave me the clinical background and management of various illnesses, I also acquired knowledge on family planning services including family planning service provision, counselling and management of side effects.
75 Public Votes Reached!
Elisha designs & leads Lwala's SRH programming, hosts a health-focused radio show, and provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Health. His work has led to a 300% increase in contraceptive uptake amongst Lwala communities. – Ash Rogers, Executive Director at Lwala Community Alliance
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I came up with the concept for “SRH advisory committees” which catalyze key stakeholders in the community to spearhead advocacy at grassroots level. I created this because of resistance to family planning services by the community – teachers checked if girls were using family planning and forced them to discontinue their method, chiefs and religious leaders spoke negatively about family planning in public forums, I identified local leaders and conducted a training in which dispelled myths now they are family planning advocates.
By empowering local stakeholders to lead family planning sensitization, , we have created significant positive results including – an increase in couple years protection from 3,500 in 2012 to over 14,000 in 2018 and a 48% reduction in teen pregnancy.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

I became passionate about family planning after growing up in a community in which teen pregnancy was common and big family sizes created economic burdens that kept people in poverty, many families could not afford school fees or hospital bills. The memory of a mother who had 8 children with sickle cell disease and could not afford their care but refused to use family planning has stuck with me. I have devoted my career to changing people’s perception about family planning to prevent such cases.

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

I lead a team of 52 youth peer providers, 201 Community Health Workers, and 60 SRH advisory committee members. I also work with many healthcare providers at 7 health facilities to create demand and advocate for family planning services. As a leader I empower my team to advocate for reproductive health and mobilization community members to seek family planning. I embrace new ideas, innovations, and inventions through continuous consultation with the community and the teams I work with.

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 will strengthen grassroots advocacy by forming SRH advisory committees in remote areas through partnership with the Ministry of Health. I will partner with and empower natural community structures to lead their own family planning initiatives and promote family planning within their own community, I will work with more health facilities to provide robust contraceptive services and create spaces for youth to feel comfortable accessing them.

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