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Kobe Smith

Kobe Smith - 2019 Nominee
Position: President/Youth Director
Organization: Youth Advocacy Movement of the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA)/International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR)
Current Location: Guyana, South America
Bachelor of Laws from University of Guyana
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
Former Candidate, International Relations - Bsc. - University of Guyana
Anti Money Laundering Foundations Certificate - Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS)
Associate's Degree in Business Studies (CAPE) - Caribbean Examinations Council
Women Deliver Digital University Certificate (Training in Advocacy, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Gender Equality and Proposal Writing)
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Duke of Edinburgh - International Award for Young People (Bronze Standard)
    Awarding Organization:
    The Duke of Edinburgh's International Awards Foundation
    Date Awarded:
    October 26, 2013
  • Award:
    National Youth Award 2017 – In recognition of dedicated volunteer service in promoting health education.
    Awarding Organization:
    Government of Guyana, Department of Youth
    Date Awarded:
    November 10, 2017
  • Award:
    Women Deliver Young Leader
    Awarding Organization:
    Women Deliver
    Date Awarded:
    January 18, 2018
75 Public Votes Reached!
Kobe advocated for a National Reintegration Policy in education for adolescent mothers including CSE at the 161st OAS Periodic Hearing in Washington DC in 2017. As such Guyana's policy was finalised in 2018 with GRPA being an implementing partner. – Dona Da Costa Martinez, Executive Director at The Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I have led advocacy campaigns and facilitated sessions on Comprehensive Sexuality Education, which targeted more than 5000 young persons, since 2013 when I joined the GRPA, a member of IPPF. Community engagements on SRHR are conducted in rural areas with the UNFPA - Youth Advisory Group, where I serve as a member . On March 22, 2017, with regards to local and international advocacy, I participated in a Hearing of the 161st Ordinary Period of Sessions at the Organization of American States - IACHR in Washington D.C., where I called for the inclusion of Comprehensive Sexuality Education into the schools' curricula and the implementation of a national reintegration policy for adolescent mothers in Guyana. As such, GRPA was invited to be an implementing partner for the finalised policy.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Coming from a family history of adolescent pregnancy and reproductive health cancer, I immersed myself into family planning and SRHR when my mom died after fighting cancer for her life. I am confident that if she was exposed to sexual and reproductive health information and services, she would be alive today. After her passing, something sparked in me. I knew I had to work to ensure women, like my mom, who lacked the access and resources, have access to SRH information and services.

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

I helped to lead the #BodyBoss campaign which aimed to engage young people in contraceptive use as a means to reduce unintended pregnancies and STIs, reaching more than 4000 youth. The campaign included radio and television programs and the use of social media. After the local successes in SRHR, I was elected as youth director at IPPF/WHR and alternate youth director at IPPF Governing Council, where projects and programs are developed to target more than 200 million people globally.

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? :

The $1000 grant will be used to support a Youth for Family Planning Initiative for rural adolescent mothers and young men to have access to reliable contraceptives and family planning information. The aim of the project is to empower adolescent mothers, while promoting gender equality through the engagement of men and boys, since they are not always included in family planning and SRHR. The investment in contraceptives will provide dual protection against both unintended pregnancy and STIs.

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