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Melissa Fairey

Melissa Fairey - 2017 Nominee
Position: Project Manager / Founder of York Region Sexual Health Empowerment Network / World Contraception Day Ambassador / Young Leader
Organization: Women Deliver / SEC/ Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network / Young Canadian Roundtable for Health
Current Location: Toronto, Canada
Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree from University of Guelph, International Development
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
Leadership Management Certificate, Harvard School of Business
Global Business Certificate, Harvard School of Business
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Award
    Awarding Organization:
    Government of Canada, Governor General
    Date Awarded:
    October 10, 2015
  • Award:
    Governor General of Canada Volunteer Medal
    Awarding Organization:
    Governor General, Government of Canada
    Date Awarded:
    November 20, 2016
  • Award:
    World Contraception Day Ambassador
    Awarding Organization:
    Women Deliver / Bayer
    Date Awarded:
    July 30, 2016
Melissa is a World Contraception Day Ambassador, Women Deliver young leader and founder of the York Region Youth Sexual Health Empowerment Network. She is also country coordinator for Commonwealth Peace Ambassadors, member of YRCH for youth health. – Anna K, Supervisor at Geo Gov
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I was named 2016 World Contraception Day Ambassador and founded the York Region Youth Sexual Health Empowerment Network through a $5000 USD grant from Women Deliver/Bayer. I created a website platform, e-book in multiple languages, podcast and workshop series focused on providing sustainable and inclusive sexual health resources to rural and isolated regions in York Region. This included distributing over 750 e-books and over 1000 youth affected. I was also a part of workshops, three speaking engagements and numerous community engagement and community partnership meetings.
I am also a Women Deliver Young Leader, A World At School Global Ambassador, Country Coordinator for Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network and research contributor International Youth Action for Family Planning.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

As a young woman who grew up in the Catholic school system without sufficient sexual health education I witnessed first hand the ramifications for SRHR practices that are not inclusive or comprehensive. I advocated for the access to sexual and reproductive health as a result of this and to ensure that young people are able to have autonomy over their own bodies. This includes access to safe and accessible abortions, contraception and sexual health resources for all sexualities and genders.

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

I display leadership through my family planning work by being an advocate and voice for safe and accessible abortion, contraception and resources. This includes founding the York Region Youth Sexual Health Empowerment Network, where I solely created websites, language transcribing and hand delivered resources to isolated and rural areas without sexual health clinics. I have remained deeply committed to the importance of family planning initiatives and ensuring that they are accessible and free.

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? :

If I was selected as winner, the $1000 grant and platform would go toward continuing to develop sexual and reproductive health toolkits to grow the York Region Youth Sexual Health Empowerment Network. It would include the ability to create more resources, workshops and travel to remote and rural communities who do not have access to sexual health services. It would also provide a necessary expansion into various other rural, isolated and indigenous communities in York and surrounding areas.

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