Brian Mutebi

2016 Winner

Position: Features Writer, Girls Rights Campaigner
Organization: The Daily Monitor

Brian Mutebi, a features writer at The Daily Monitor, is the founder of Education Development Opportunity, Uganda (EDOU) and the architect of the Brian Mutebi Dream Scholarship Fund, which gives scholarships to orphaned and vulnerable children, gender-based violence (GBV) survivors and teenage mothers. He is an award-winning journalist and girls’ rights campaigner featured on Women Deliver’s global “15 Journalists, 15 Voices for Girls and Women” list. He was named “Commonwealth Young Achiever” by the Commonwealth Youth Council UK, and described by Women & Girls Hub as “one of Africa’s leading women rights crusaders” for his extensive writing and advocacy for girls’ and women’s rights.

Through his insightful and well researched articles, Mutebi has brought to national and international attention SRHRs issues for adolescents and teenage mothers in Uganda, refugees, women with disabilities and those in hard-to-reach areas, which has increased advocacy for increased uptake of family planning services.

Prossy Nakanjako, Senior Programmes Officer, External Communications, Media & Public Relations at United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

Through well researched media articles, I demystify cultural beliefs undermining uptake of family planning services. In Uganda where abortion is illegal, I have written articles to demonstrate that use of contraceptives helps in averting deaths due to unsafe abortions I have brought to national attention family planning issues affecting the most vulnerable women with disabilities and in hard-to-reach areas My articles have boasted advocacy efforts to increase uptake of family planning services and promoted the health and rights of girls and women. For this work, in 2015, I featured on Women Deliver global list of “15 journalists, 15 voices for girls and women”, and named “Commonwealth Young Achiever” by the Commonwealth Youth Council UK.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

I grew up in a community where people believed use of contraceptives causes children disability. Women had no choice in determining the number of children they should have. In my journalism work, I encountered deep-seated resistance to family planning services where men cut their wives with razor blades to remove implants and girls, because of lack of access to contraceptives, die from unsafe abortions. I decided to use a pen to take up the case for family planning services.

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

Challenge: Misconceptions, cultural and religious beliefs against family planning. Action: I do explanatory and campaigning journalism to promote the understanding of reproductive and maternal health issues and demand for modern family planning services. I founded the charity, Education & Development Opportunity – Uganda (EDOU) through which run the “Let Girls Be Girls” campaign advocating for girls health and rights and preventing teenage pregnancies.

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

Challenge: Limited access to information and family planning services for adolescents, rural and urban poor. Solutions: Targeted advocacy and sensitisation to increase demand for and supply of modern contraceptives, advancement and mainstreaming of SRHRs in policy and planning, women socio-economic empowerment and gender based violence prevention. Strengthen role of the media in providing information, advocacy and influencing policy for accelerated access and use of family planning services.

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

Implement project “Track Women in the Media” to track and document media coverage of women’s health & rights and establish an online resource centre on family planning & reproductive health and GBV in Uganda. This will aid programs development and targeted advocacy for increased demand for and supply of modern family planning services, and contribute to reducing Uganda’s unmet need of family planning from the current 34% to 10% and increase the national contraceptives prevalence from 30% to 50%.