Robert Aseda

Robert Aseda - 2016 Nominee
Position: Policy and Partnerships Officer
Organization: Network for Adolescent and Youth of Africa
Robert has contributed to a progressive policy environment in Kenya by working with government to develop and implement family planning policies. He has also served as Kenya advisor. He writes and speaks family planning in Kenyan dailies and media. – Tess Pairon, Advocacy Officer at dance4life
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I have contributed to development and dissemination of the National Family Planning Guidelines and the Adolescent Reproductive Health Policy in Kenya. I have also supported counties in developing their FP implementation plans. I have also developed position papers on family planning, supported county technical working groups and governments to develop county specific policy briefs and held advocacy forums to advocate for increased budgetary allocation to family planning. I have also served as Kenya advisor to the UN Commission on Population and Development. I am also a social commentator on family planning in the media. I also serve as the chairperson of the National Youth Consortium that aims at meaningfully involving young people in policy processes at the national and global level.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

I grew up in a rural area where boys and girls started having sex early, girls got pregnant young, and got married off immediately. For fear of rejection, many others risked their lives procuring unsafe abortions. Many married women gave birth every other year to children they couldn’t properly take care of and risked conditions like prolapse and fistulas. I was moved to be a voice of change in my home. My mother told us about family planning and how it could help. I have never looked back.

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

In 2014, the Reproductive Health Bill was presented to the Kenya Senate. It called for increased access to family planning for young people. My organization was at the forefront of advocating for the Bill. However, politicians, religious and cultural leaders ganged to oppose family planning attempts for young people claiming it would lead to immorality. We are now reaching out to opposition through forums, media and consultations to show why investing in family planning is a development issue.

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

There is high unmet need for family planning among young people especially sexually active unmarried young people. Family planning services are thought to be a reserve of the married. However, due to early sexual debut, there is need for family planning programs targeting young people in non-judgmental setting. Communities need to be provided with information to change attitudes on family planning. Government must also increase budgetary allocation to implement family planning FP commitments

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

I want to contribute to a society where the critical role of family planning is appreciated through increased budgetary allocation for implementation of international and national commitments. I also intend to work with counties in Kenya to establish and strengthen Family Planning Technical Working Groups to spearhead and consolidate family planning efforts by CSOs, governments and academia. I also intend to work with them to develop and implement five year costed implementation plans.

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