Ankita Rawat

2016 Winner

Position: Youth Champion Initiative Fellow
Organization: Feminist Approach to Technology

Ankita Rawat is a Youth Champion Initiative Fellow and a consultant for a campaign against early and forced marriage at Feminist Approach to Technology. She also managed the “Know Your Body, Know Your Rights” program that advances the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people by increasing their access to information and services at YP Foundation, a youth-led organization that empowers young people to take action on issues of importance to them.

“As a FP champion, Ankita is passionate and strategic. She advocates for comprehensive sexuality education, mobilizes youth, leverages media and digital stories, and is spearheading an innovation to improve quality of CSE for youth with disabilities.”

– Carol Larson, President at David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I am leading a community based project with adolescent and youth from in school and out of school which provides comprehensive sexuality education as well as technical training on digital story telling. It empowers young people to highlight their own issue around gender norms,sexuality, Sexual and reproductive Health and Rights through short films with the health service provider. These young people are leaders who are advocating for youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services from the Health service providers like Gynecologist, counselors, chemist, Asha workers and challenging the patriarchal notions exist in the health system. The youth has a right to access SR health services without being violated and discriminated on the basis of the age,gender and marital status.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

I remember my first introduction to CSE and Youth SRHR at The YP Foundation, where I realized that many adolescents and young people from different backgrounds face common issue i.e. taboo around sex; shame, fear and silence on sexuality , lack of right based education/information on SRH and AFHS/YFHS in our society. And I was one of them who had no CSE in school, shut to talk about my own sexuality, faced judgmental behavior from health service provider which scared me to death.

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

The biggest challenge I have faced are the Strong traditional belief of service provider on youth’s sexuality. So they always advice or scare youth to not have sex before marriage. The strategy to overcome it :
1. Build young people’s leadership and take charge of their own health lives
2. Provide CSE to youth
3. Train Youth on Digital Story telling and they can raise their voices / lobbying for YF SRH services with Health Service Provider

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

There are many challenges :
1. FP services are for heterosexual married couples
2. FP services neglects the need of Unmarried youth,LGBTQIA, Young People living with Disability.
3. Our laws and policies also act as barrier for a person below 18 years , LGBTQIA to avail FP services.
4. PL with Disability are not seen as sexual beings.
To address these challenges ,
1.Build a feminist perspective in our decision maker , gatekeepers
2. Involve neglected youth in policy making

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

In next five years, I want to reach out to as many young people and build their feminist perspective as well as leadership skills to initiate their own projects or movement on the areas of FP services and information and SRHR.