Haroon Janjua

Haroon Janjua - 2016 Nominee
Position: Investigative Journalist
Organization: Nikkei Asian Review
2016 Leading Change Journalism Bursary 2015 Global Media Awards Winner, Population Institute 2015 UNCA Award Winner 2015 Winner IE Business School Prize for Economic Journalism in Asia – Jennie Wetter, Director of Public Policy at Population Institute, Washington DC
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I've been writing on various population issues including FP in Pakistan over last 5 years. Newspapers have always a greater number of circulation and are read by large portion of the public. In countries like Pakistan, where the literacy rate is very low, this type of writing proves to be a long lasting asset in changing public behavior. I have worked in the remote areas of Pakistan for crating awareness on FP and breaking cultural and religious barriers in achieving FP. My article "Population Explosion" won 2015 Global Media Award from population Institute Washington, DC in the best opinion piece category. While my piece "Dealing with population issues" in the Daily Times got first prize from Population Council Islamabad.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Pakistan is the six most populous country in the world facing plethora of issues simultaneously. Gender inequality contributes to Pakistan’s high fertility rate and the perpetuation of poverty. The large unmet need for FP in Pakistan, shows how cultural and religious norms prevent many women from using a modern method of contraception. It compelled me to obtain a more comprehensive approach to FP, so I adopted the approach that would address the cultural and informational barriers in FP.

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

Pakistan's population explosion may become a threat to the very existence of the nation. The religious and cultural barriers among the largely illiterate population primarily among women have subjected to broader threat of explaining FP in Pakistan as they are not so empowered and rely on male spouses for birth spacing and no. of children. so I have addressed the religious and cultural barriers and motivated women that it had nothing to do with religion and culture and it was indeed a challenge.

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

The larger unmet need in Pakistan and religious indoctrination related to FP same as with Polio vaccine remains biggest threats. The birth complications are due to inappropriate spacing and lack of FP services. The under five mortality rate is highest in Pakistan, UNICEF revealed that a baby dies in every 3 minutes in Pakistan. In Tharparkar, a desert region in Pakistan had witnessed deaths of 2000 children in last 5 years I have worked there and found that FP is the real issue for these deaths

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

Through the power of the pen and research stories, I will highlight issues faced by people stricken with poverty, and vulnerable communities facing hardships within their lives in Pakistan with the focus on women and promotion of FP among masses to avoid loss of babies lives. Through in-depth reports in print and online media the objectives of FP will be achieved on the grounds of raising a voice to policy level.

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