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Jimmy Wilford

Jimmy Wilford
Position: Executive Director
Organization: Students and Youth Working on reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT)
The Nominee has led SAYWHAT in advocating for the development of an ASRH strategy which provides minimum packages for health facilities to provide contraception services for adolescents in Zimbabwe. – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I have created a space for young people to discuss matters related to their sexual and reproductive health concerns including access to reproductive health commodities and services such as contraceptives. I have established an organisation (SAYWHAT) which has ensured the mainstreaming of family planning issues affecting young people in sub national, national, regional and international spaces. To date I have facilitated for the participation of young people in strategic platforms which discuss and define priority areas for young people in relation to family planning such as the National Technical Working Group on Comprehensive Condom Programming. Under my guidance, the year 2015 saw the establishment of the Southern Africa Regional Students And Youth Conference on SRH

What sparked your passion for family planning?

The lived realities and experiences of young people in Zimbabwe whose access to SRH Services including Family Planning Services and information has always been characterized by stigma, discrimination, and lack of financial resources to purchase. I observed unintended and unplanned pregnancies resulting in unsafe abortions within the tertiary institutions. This has resulted in some young people dying in the process. I decided to take action by creating this platform for the young people.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

Despite providing information on FP to young people, that process has not matched with the provision of the services within the targeted communities. Failure to provide FP services within the communities has also been as a result of deeply rooted challenges amongst which include restrictive policies on SRH information for adolescents, limited resources for the institutions of higher learning or government to bring the services to the communities through mobile service provision as well as stigma

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

Policy is a major barrier as the responsible authorities are undecided on the proposed comprehensive sexuality education within schools. This is resulting in many young people failing to access the services that they would need. The service providers should be youth friendly services and stop being judgmental to the young people in need of services. There is need for the responsible authorities to urgently ensure that young people are introduced to age appropriate sexuality education.

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

Advocate for FP policies that are informed by the lived realities of young people. To influence for increased financial and technical investment in Family Planning interventions targeting young people through both mobile service provision and facility based service provision. Break the silence on sex and sexuality so that family planning discussions will not attract some labels on young people. Young women be given an opportunity to make a choice on their lives especially on pregnancy.

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