Position: Program Associate, Family Planning Project
Organization: Global Health Strategies
Current Location: India, Asia
Masters in Development and Labour Studies from School of Social Science, Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Youth Leader
    Awarding Organization:
    International Conference on Family Planning
    Date Awarded:
    November 18, 2018
  • Award:
    Vigilance Awareness Debating Cup
    Awarding Organization:
    Vigilance Department, Government of Odisha
    Date Awarded:
    February 2, 2015
  • Award:
    Best Debater Award
    Awarding Organization:
    The New Indian Express
    Date Awarded:
    October 4, 2014
75 Public Votes Reached!
Smita actively advocates for FP & SRHR and believes in bringing youth voice to the forefront. She represented India as youth leader at ICFP. With her on ground experience of engaging with CSOs & FP champions, she brings in creative & realistic ideas. – Sanjay Suman, Senior Manager, Family Planning Project at Global Health Strategies
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I believe that bottom-up strategies are more efficient in creating an environment conducive to improve access to FP services. I have been at the helm of identifying and cultivating a pool of community champions (religious leaders, ASHA/ANM, women group and self-help group members & youths). I have engaged with more than 150 community champions by training them to advocate for FP and further leverage platforms to generate awareness by utilizing IEC materials prepared by us. This has not only increased the demand in intervention areas but also helped address the myths and sensitize 4.70 million people of Bihar. I have advocated for issues around FP with government officials. I have facilitated media outputs around FP and utilized platforms like Sex o’clock News at ICFP for writing about FP

What sparked your passion for family planning?

I believe, FP is a cross-cutting health intervention. Working extensively with 150 champions&90 CSOs in Bihar(the 3rd most populated district in India) I realized that layers of ignorance about FP is much more than anticipated and numerous gaps in implementation further aggravate the crisis. India, where every 12 minutes a woman dies of pregnancy and childbirth complications, female sterilization is the preferred method (39%) and 0 male participation, the FP dynamics needs a revolutionary chang

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

I was the lead of several trainings of champions.They were sensitized on status of FP, FP methods & encouraged to advocate for FP. I have contributed in developing training modules &IEC material contents on FP; Flipbook&pocketbooks. The modules included role plays and case studies to make the training sessions interactive. The IEC materials have been helpful for the champions to disseminate FP messages and highly appreciated by the government officials like the MOIC of Health Centers

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? :

I believe in the power of champions to bring about a change in FP scenario. I would work towards expanding this pool with more youth champions. I would engage more with youths from rural areas to educate them through street plays and documentaries about the importance of having a planned&healthy family. I would utilize the platforms that 120 under 40 would provide, to share success stories and challenges so that it can be replicated in other areas to have remarkable outcomes as in Bihar.

Photos of the nominee in the field/at work
Orienting champions on using IEC materials like flipbook developed by GHS Training the family planning community champions to be the voices of change Interaction with community members addressing the myths and misconceptions around FP methods

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