Sarmad Muhammad Soomar
Position: Nurse, Sr. Research Asst. / Member / Co-Chair Communications
Organization: Aga Khan University/ IYAFP/ Rho Delta Sigma
Current Location: Karachi, Pakistan
Bachelors of Sciences from Nursing , Aga Khan University Pakistan
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
Certified Master Trainer under project CREATE by YCI fellows, Funded by Packard Foundation & Public Health Institute California.
Advancing Excellence in Sexual & Gender Minority Health – Certificate Course through Scholarship at Harvard Medical School.
Research Ethics and Compliance Training by Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative.
Cyber/Online Safety (safety for online advocacy) by Digital Rights Foundation
Youth Champion and Travel Award
Asia Safe Abortion Partnership
December 1, 2018
Youth Delegate, Conference and Travel Award/ Video Contest Winner 2018
International Conference for Family Planning / IYAFP
November 1, 2018
Award for Merit and Distinction in Child Health
Aga Khan Univesrity, Pakistan
November 16, 2016
“Sarmad is strong advocate of SRH rights. Actively engaged at national and international FPRH forums. He was selected as young advocate by IYAFP and participated in ICFP 2018. I believe, he has great potential to contribute in field of FP.”
– Ghulam Yaseen Veesar, Deputy Director at Sindh Healthcare Commission
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.
Sexual Health and Family Planning is point of work for me since I was in my adolescent age. The quality of language and confidence that I received from my family to talk about these taboo topics, made me bring sensitive discussions to table. From mountains to deserts, refugees camps to emergency settings, I have provided not only physical care and awareness to young people but have supported them in their hard times of life when their rights are violated and provided them access to Family Planning services and methods for free. Talking to male tribal and faith leaders in interiors of my state was another challenging task and contribution I accomplished in field of sexuality and FP. Condom repository in my bag-pack is another activity that I do to provide free condoms where ever needed.
What sparked your passion for family planning?
My mother told me that “I was born because they had no condoms that day”. Sounds funny but brought me to a great journey where I felt if the couple is socially, economically and mentally not ready to care for the child (either married or not), it’s their right to not have a baby. Enjoying sex without fear of pregnancy and disease is another learning that I get from this experience and sparked me to tighten my belt and walk on this journey since an early age.
Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:
As a young leader and nurse in this field I mentor around 500 young people across the country who plan and coordinate under my mentor-ship several advocacy campaigns and programs to raise awareness about FP methods and services. Also, I take responsibility of coordinating budgeted or grant based educator and advocacy programs in Pakistan to inspire more young people to involve in this field and develop advocacy programs and tools for reaching more population.
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 grant will be utilized to develop laughter yoga clubs where adolescent and young people will attend wellness and emotional hygiene classes. Here they can ventilate their experiences and can get or book a free accessible family planning kit. The laughter club will have smiling tenders (youth advocates) who will support and provide these kits with a sexuality related emotional hygiene booklet. This will be a totally inclusive project catering all people requiring access to free FP services.