Rebecca Hope

Rebecca Hope - 2019 Nominee
Position: Founder and Executive Director
Organization: YLabs
Current Location: USA, North America
MBChB Hons from Medicine, University of Leeds
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
Master of Public Health (Global Health), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Master of Science, Paediatrics and Child Health, University College London
Bachelor of Science (Hons) International Health, University College London
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Frank Knox Fellowship
    Awarding Organization:
    University of Harvard
    Date Awarded:
    August 1, 2013
  • Award:
    Fang Ching Sun Award for promoting the health of vulnerable populations
    Awarding Organization:
    University of Harvard
    Date Awarded:
    May 30, 2014
  • Award:
    Cochrane Prize for Public Health
    Awarding Organization:
    UK Faculty of Public Health
    Date Awarded:
    July 20, 2006
Dr. Hope founded YLabs to advance reproductive agency, choice, and access through youth-driven design. For 12 years, she's been a leader in uniting design and data to build creative, nimble, youth-led approaches to SRH program design and evaluation. – Nicole Ippoliti, Technical Lead at YLabs
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

1. Redesigned youth reproductive health services in Kenya with Marie Stopes International, developing the Future Fab campaign which has increased seven-fold the number of adolescents accessing contraception nationally in MSI facilities. Reaching over 18,000 young people, it was recently recognized as one of Children’s Investment Fund Foundation’s “most successful adolescent sexual health programs in the world.”
2. Developed CyberRwanda, an award-winning digital education platform that teaches youth about how to prevent pregnancy and HIV and links them to private, trusted care. Designed with over 500 youth, it integrates employment skills training with family planning advice and will be scaled to reach an estimated 100,000 youth over the next 4 years.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Growing up in North-East England, despite free access to family planning, teen pregnancy was a major challenge. By age 16, one-third of the girls in my class had dropped out due to pregnancy. FP services were not enough; holistic approaches to support broader opportunity and aspiration are key. Building future-focused adolescent FP services that integrate economic opportunity and co-designing FP services with youth have been driving forces for my work across Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia.

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

1. Equipped and trained the FP sector on ethical and inclusive youth-engagement. Trained multiple actors in 15 countries over 5 years (PSI, MSI, Pathfinder, IPAS) on youth-centered design in FP services and co-authored ethics guidelines on youth-centered design.
2. Co-founded YLabs to catalyze investment and attention for adolescent health, working across the public health and design/innovation sectors. To date, we have engaged over 3000 youth in 15 countries in the design of FP services.

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? :

Mentorship from FP leaders was crucial in my career. I will use the platform to build a well-equipped, global community of practice to generate and share further innovation and evidence with adolescents, for adolescents. We need more investment in mentorship and training for young leaders to increase global access to family planning. I will use the grant to do a free one-day workshop on participatory design in East Africa for 30 young FP leaders, to support the next generation of FP pioneers.

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