Francis Oko Armah

Francis Oko Armah - 2016 Nominee
Position: Programmes Assistant-Curious Minds/ Women Deliver Young Leader/Youth Ambassador
Organization: Curious Minds Ghana
He is a sexual/reproductive health advocate and has worked with organisations like DKT International, Marie Stopes International and Dance4life on sexual/reproductive health, family planning and access to safe abortion. A peer educator and expert in SRHR issues, Francis has been engaged in many field works and carried out many projects. He really represents the new generation of FP leaders. – Eugene Tetteh Odoi, An Advocate at Curious Minds Ghana
Community outreach programs in advocacy on SRHR issues including the family planning. – Joana Obeney, Student at Curious Minds-Ghana
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I served as a Peer Educator at Ipas Ghana under the Reducing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity (R3M) Project where I provided FP counseling and referrals to young people. I am a Youth Ambassador for the NoYawa Youth Project (implemented by MSI Ghana, DKT Ghana and Grameen Foundation) where I train peer educators, school counselors, lead national school campaigns on Sexual & Reproductive health Services with a focus on contraception. I distributed FP commodities to retailers & heath facilities and also contribute to development of Behavior Change Communication materials to promote FP usage among young people, organised fora on SRHR/FP &
Contributed to revised Adolescent Reproductive Health policy of Ghana to include CSE and FP and also lead media (radio) campaigns to promote SRH services/FP

What sparked your passion for family planning?

High rates of maternal mortality and teenage pregnancy in my community brought my attention to family planning; then I developed the desire to empower women to decide when to have children and the number of children they want to have safely sparked my passion to save lives through FP. This is due to the lack of basic knowledge on SRH and contraception surrounded by myths and misconceptions about FP. Details here

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

Openly prevented from providing counseling and referral services for young people, women/ girls because SRH not considered for young people especially young men like me
Strategically, media campaigns on radio were targeted at the communities and it served as entry points liaising with community gatekeepers. Informal capacity/team building activities with values clarifications on the challenges and roles all stakeholders including men can play to solve the pertinent development issues with FP

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

Although progress has been made to improve the policy environment, cultural and religious barriers has long been a big challenge that contributes to several challenges in advancing FP services.
Progressively expanding advocacy to reach larger networks of faith base organisations, understanding people’s diverse cultures and actively engaging them through all processes to advance FP bridges the gab and breaks the barriers. This helps scale up FP services within religious and cultural settings..

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I want to spark the interest of the youth population in Ghana to join the FP movement as they plan their future, promote and use FP commodities, while telling real but powerful success stories of dividends reaped from investments in FP.
I want to build the capacities of more young people on the policies and global strategies that advance FP to enable them contribute their voices into shaping the global discourse on population and development. I want to leave a legacy in this regard.

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