The UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA, announced on Monday the winners of it’s 2022 UN Population Award, with the individual prize going to a young trailblazing parliamentarian from Namibia, while the institutional award went to Indonesia’s National Population and Family Planning Board.
The individual laureate is Member of Parliament Emma Theofelus, who is currently the Deputy Minister of Information in Namibia and the youngest-ever winner of the Award.
The institutional laureate from Indonesia, BKKBN, is a non-ministerial Government agency that formulates national policies, implements family planning initiatives and mentors experts in the field of population dynamics.
Ms. Theofelus was recognized for her work advocating for women’s empowerment and adolescent sexual and reproductive health in Namibia.
Born in 1996, she is one of Africa’s youngest cabinet ministers, and has used her youth-friendly perspective, and her experience as an advocate for sexual and reproductive health, to directly address the country’s young people.
As a deputy minister, she has led the country’s public communication campaign on COVID-19 preventions in Namibia, and as a MP, she pioneered legislation for feminine hygiene products to be identified as a tax-free commodity.
Prior to her appointment, Ms. Theofelus was a member of the Namibia chapter of AfriYAN, a regional youth-led organisation, where she led pioneering efforts to fight teen pregnancy and protect young people’s sexual and reproductive health.
Family planning success story
In the institution category, BKKBN has been recognized as a shining example of successful, innovative and rights-based family planning initiatives in the Republic of Indonesia, which continued even during the COVID-19 pandemic, said UNFPA.
Amongst its many achievements, it has trained population experts, engaged with non-governmental and faith-based organisations on population issues, and developed programmes to assist families caring for older persons.
It’s played a leading role in advocating against harmful practices, helping to raise the minimum age for marriage for girls, from 16 to 19, in 2019.
About the award
The UN Population Award has honoured individuals and institutions for their outstanding contributions to population, development and ,reproductive health, since 1983.
The committee for the award in 2022 is chaired by Amal Mudallali, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations, and is composed of representatives of nine other UN Member States. The United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) represents the UN Secretary-General in the committee, and UNFPA administers the award.