Tasneem Kakal

Tasneem Kakal - 2019 Nominee
Position: Advisor SRHR
Organization: KIT Royal Tropical Institute
Current Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
MA in Development Studies from International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
Advanced Master in International Development, Radboud University
BA in Economics & Sociology, St. Xavier's College, Mumbai
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Best Research Paper Award for 'A Tale of Two Sisters: Socio-Economic Consequences of teenage childbearing in South Africa'
    Awarding Organization:
    International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague
    Date Awarded:
    December 12, 2014
  • Award:
    Women Deliver Young Leader
    Awarding Organization:
    Women Deliver
    Date Awarded:
    January 31, 2018
  • Award:
    Scholarship to NYU Stern Business School for a Leadership Programme
    Awarding Organization:
    NYU Stern Business School
    Date Awarded:
    February 5, 2011
75 Public Votes Reached!
Tasneem conducts research on youth’s SRHR globally for evidence-based programming. She synthesized findings from 7 countries on child marriage, teenage pregnancy and FGM/C, giving insights on key trends to our donor, partners and communities. – Lindy van Vliet, Director Health at KIT Royal Tropical Institute
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

At KIT, I have designed and supported 20+ mixed methods research studies on youth and SRHR across 11 countries in Asia and Africa. In 3 years, I have co-trained and strengthened capacity of youth researchers in 5 countries. I work with partners like Plan and Rutgers to inform their programmes with evidence from the 20 reports and other knowledge products I have published. Prior, I was crucial in building the Research Academy at Oxfam Novib to co-create applied research with Dutch students, including gender issues. As a fully funded student, I did a mixed-methods study on teenage childbearing in South Africa, for which I was awarded by the Institute of Social Studies (ISS); and explored the use of assisted reproductive technologies in Mumbai, an under-researched issue as a BA student.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

I was working in community development since 15, co-leading youth-run projects. I realized that women’s worth and their participation in community development rested on harmful beliefs on gender and sexuality. I also discovered how my own access to public spaces was influenced by my gender, revealing the systemic nature of gender discrimination. This was my calling to create a gender-equal world, when I started diving deeper into unpacking how youth navigate gender norms and exercise their SRHR.

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

At KIT, I have synthesized findings from 7 countries in Africa and Asia on child marriage, FGM/C and teenage pregnancy, resulting in one of the first documents discussing the inter-links between the three. As an advocate, I want to ensure that research is disseminated and relatable to wider audiences to mobilise support. Hence, using storytelling and opinion pieces, I write for KIT, Girl’s Globe, and my work has been (re)published on Girls Not Brides, Share-Net International and Justice Hub.

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? :

As a prospective PhD candidate focusing on child marriage and youth sexuality, I will use the award to better understand how social media is disrupting SRHR behavior of youth in Indonesia. This is crucial to understand youth agency in the context of child marriage in Indonesia. I will involve youth researchers and the research will give key insights into how digital technologies can enhance SRHR of youth.

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