Nene Fofana

Nene Fofana - 2016 Nominee
Position: Senior Technical Advisor Reproductive Health
Organization: PSI
- Created a holistic youth program to increase youth access to FP (radio, TV, peer education, facebook and service delivery) - Put youth at the forefront, program by the youth and for the youth – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I have been working in SRH for 10 years and FP for 5. I have had the chance to be involve in FP program planning, design, implementation and evaluation in Africa, South east Asia and Latin America. I have strived for quality of services offered and improved communication, especially when reaching out to youth i.e finding innovative ways to involve youth (male and females) so they take ownership of their reproductive lives. I am the most proud of my contribution to successful comprehensive SRH (with strong FP component) youth-led programs in Benin and Mali. These programs under PSI technical leadership have really applied the motto "by the youth for the youth"

What sparked your passion for family planning?

My life experience sparked my passion, being from a country/place in the world where natality/fertility is essential to a women life or being, I believe this social norm should not hinder women chances to grow, learn and accomplish what they are destined to be. The way to live in my society and not be at odd with the norm was to engage in improving women's health, and I believe FP is a strong component of that.

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

My biggest challenge has been engaging religious leaders in northern areas of a west African countries to accept the set up of an FP programs for hundred of women of their community. This experience made me realize how gender barrier, perceived norms and overall mistrust of FP could clutter the understanding of the most engaged religious/community leaders. Learning from this failure, I am still working to overcome this barriers by looking at ways to better engage religious/community leaders on this issue. They have rallied against HIV so they can do the same for FP!

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

Norms around services provision lack of task shifting), community/societal norms around FP (understanding, fear of side effects, not knowing where to go to get confidential services).

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

Demonstrate through the research project that i am currently working on that FP is not at odd with African culture/societal norms. I'd love the be able to craft messages that resonate with women and men personally, and above all engage youth (male and females) about the importance of understanding their options.

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