Imran Khan

Imran Khan - 2016 Nominee
Position: Founder and Chairperson
Organization: Youth and Gender Development Network, Pakistan
Mr. Imran has advocated for inclusion of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the national youth policy of Pakistan and written the first draft of youth policy Balochistan, which includes comprehensive chapter on family planning and SRHR. – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I started my activism for the inclusion of sexual, reproductive health and rights in the both national and provincial policies in Pakistan. During the formulation of national youth policy of Pakistan, I strongly advocated for the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health rights chapters in the policy and led the national forum identifying the needs of young people to include in the policy. In 2012, I wrote the first ever youth policy for government of Balochistan and presented the first draft to government officials and this also included chapters of sexual and reproductive health and rights. This is one of the biggest achievements including SRHR in the policy document in Balochistan Youth Policy. I also have represented Pakistan international family planning conference as youth champ.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Living a country where we don't have adequate health care specially for women and child. I have seen many women in my town and country dying giving birth and many women give birth to 8 to 10 children. There is no awareness, no education and no proper guidelines to educate men of taking equal responsibility. I feel it is important to advocate for family planning because for me it is not just only an awareness program or activity but it about saving lives - it is about equality and equity.

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

The biggest challenge I have faced in family planning efforts in Pakistan is that people thinks that it is a western agenda and it is about stopping or controlling Muslim population. I have seen that this mindset is not of an illiterate person but also who studied abroad and is qualified. I have seen that many policy makers are not sincere in making it happen. There is huge misinterpretation of religion.
To overcome these hurdles I also use religion to ensure it is not western agenda.

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

Like I said above that misinterpretation of religion and using religion as an instrument is the biggest problem. I believe that to overcome this it is important to make government accountable for their efforts and also involve civil society and train the civil society too as I believe that many people in the civil society are also sharing the same mindset even working for the same cause. It is important to have alternate platforms where people have easy and cheap access to contraceptives.

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

I believe that many investments have been done in Pakistan on different levels, the only investment which needs to be done and which I want to accomplish is to change the mindset, which is not easy but it important to challenge the mindset. I also want to accomplish advocating for cheap and affordable contraceptives and will push for more investments in the field family planning on grassroots level, where people can travel to cities and where it is the need of the time to invest and advocate.

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