Introducing the 120 Under 40 Video

Today, we launch a new video about 120 Under 40! The video gives an overview of the project, and features footage and interviews with a number of the 2016 winners.

Reminder: Nominations Open March 22

Nominations for 2017 will be accepted beginning March 22. Mark your calendars now, and start thinking now of who you’ll nominate, and who can nominate you!

Hello from Berlin!

This week, 120 Under 40 staff are in Berlin, Germany, for the World Contraception Day Annual Partner Meeting, hosted by Bayer. 

World Contraception Day takes place every year on September 26. Its annual worldwide campaign draws attention to contraception, especially young people’s need to access contraceptive and reproductive health information, services and supplies. 120 Under 40 is a supporter of World Contraception Day.

This year, World Contraception Day and the Your Life campaign celebrate 10 years! Stay tuned for more news about the 10th anniversary.

News & Notes from the 2016 Winners

Margaret Bolaji, Nigeria, got a shout-out from Melinda Gates in a video accompanying the 2017 Gates Letter.

Among Margaret’s many activities is ongoing work with the Adolescent Girls Initiative, a UNFPA program that aims to keep girls in school and provides them with extra classes on literacy, health and vocational skills, conducted in designated “safe spaces.” 

As Margaret writes, “The median age at first birth in northern Nigeria is 15.2 years. The onset of menarche is often viewed as readiness for marriage and childbirth. These girls are married and become mothers and coupled, with limited access to contraception. This leads to women and girls with high parity and short birth spacing.” As part of the program, Margaret provides sexual and reproductive health information to over 3,000 marginalized adolescent girls from 9 rural communities in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria.


Ankita Rawat of Feminist Approach to Technology, India, was selected as one of nine awardees of the 2016 Quality Innovation Challenge, organized by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation and hosted at the 2016 International Conference on Family Planning. Rawat received $100,000 for her project, Development of an Innovative Toolkit for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) of Youth with Disabilities. As she wrote in the project proposal, the sexual and reproductive health and rights of youth with disabilities are too often misunderstood or rejected. “In India, comprehensive sexual education is still not accepted as a need and added in the education system. The idea that youth with disability can also be sexually active, have desires and may face issues around their sexual and reproductive health and rights is thought to be radical.”

After completing a needs assessment and field visits, Rawat will begin developing the toolkit, which she envisions as a collection of useful apps, toys, audio and video materials. It will be targeted at educators working with youth in Guwahati and New Delhi, India, who are between the ages of 15 and 30 and have visual, speech and hearing, and locomotive disabilities. Educators will also be provided a teaching curriculum and training to aid them in effectively using the toolkit.

Ankita was also recently featured on FP Voices, along with fellow 120 Under 40 winners Paul Nyachae, Brian Mutebi, Marvin Masalunga, Tlaleng Mofokeng, Rakibul Hasan and Isaac Ejakhegbe.


Vithika Yadav of Love Matters India was among the winners mentioned in an article about 120 Under 40, published on February 1 in The Jakarta Post. The story highlighted Vithika’s commitment to provide “accessible, non-judgmental information on sexual and reproductive health and rights through the digital platform Love Matters India.” 

Vithika was also recently named one of the “16 Indian Entrepreneurs Who Wooed Us this Year with their Success Stories” by, a website dedicated to coverage of women’s issues in Jaipur, India. And she was featured in an article titled “This Human Rights Activist is Disrupting India’s Sexual Health Education with a Unique Online Platform.” The article described Vithika’s path to founding Love Matters, and its raison d’etre: “There is a lot of shame and stigma associated with [sexual health] and we are giving our target audience — young people — a space to talk about things. We use pleasure as a hook to have difficult conversations with millions of young men and women around the world and we realised that people were seeing pleasure as a welcome mat to discuss even bigger issues like sexual rights and gender rights.”

For additional articles and stories about the 2016 winners of 120 Under 40, visit Media Coverage

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