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Chernor Bah

Chernor Bah - 2016 Nominee
Position: Associate
Organization: Population Council
Leading advocate for global education, girl champion & development professional. In 2012, he was appointed by the UN Sec General to serve as Youth Rep on the High Level Steering Committee for the Secretary General's Global Education First Initiative. – Ann Blanc, Vice President and Director, Poverty, Gender & Youth Program at Population Council
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

At age 15, I founded the Children's Forum Network, leading a campaign for our government to pass the first child rights act, made sure reproductive right issues were included in our Truth Commission recommendations and engaged young people of my country on promoting comprehensive reproductive health. At UNFPA first in the Humanitarian Response Unit and in Liberia - i led efforts promoting policy and programs that addressed family planning issues for young people. I have recently led protests against the government of Sierra Leone's ban on pregnant girls in schools and mobilized many organizations to provide comprehensive services to girls. I led efforts with others to successfully pass a Safe Abortion Act for the second time in our parliament. I am a lead campaigner for girls rights!

What sparked your passion for family planning?

My mother and my sisters. And the experience of war. As refugees I realized quickly the kind of unique challenges to their reproductive health needs and how these were often unmet. I also learned more about my grandmother- she had 12 children, only four survived. The more I reflected on these issues the more it became apparent to me that unmet family planning needs were indeed life and death issues.

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

I want to keep working to get every girl denied an education the right to education, irrespective of their pregnancy status. I want to enshrine that across Africa. I want to work towards making every pregnancy wanted, through the work we are doing at the Population Council with our partners in Sierra Leone and across the world. I also want to work towards changing the perception of the Sierra Leone society about the value of girls and what can be done to improve their position in society.

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