Laraib Abid

2017 Winner

Position: Founder
Organization: Mashal
Current Location: Pakistan, Asia

MPhil Gender Studies from University of the Punjab

Additional Degrees and Certifications:
1- Health Rights, Advocacy & Communication E-Course I by Women Deliver in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson, Norad (2016)

2- Project Design and Management, Grant seeking proposal Development & Completing project proposal by Women Deliver in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson, Norad and Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation (2016)

3- UN Women Safe City Idea award by CIRCLE Organization (2016)

4- Digital Storyteller E-course by IREX and US State Department (2015)

Awards Received:

Young Leader
Awarding Organization:
Women Deliver
Date Awarded:
April 10, 2015

Emerging Young Women Leader
Awarding Organization:
Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies
Date Awarded:
April 5, 2017

Youth Icon Award
Awarding Organization:
Youth Resource Club
Date Awarded:
August 13, 2015

After studying Culture and Gender at the University of the Punjab and Sociology in Emporia State University under US State Department’s UGrad exchange program, Laraib Abid decided to address issues that have embedded fear in people. Her journey started with Oxfam Novib, and she successfully led the “My Rights, My Voice” campaign based on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Under the umbrella of this campaign, she strived to address health issues that are considered taboo to talk about. In 2016, Women Deliver selected Laraib as one of “200 Women Leaders”; as part of this group, she was invited to Denmark to share her work with people around the globe. In 2017, UN Women chose her idea about women’s safety and awarded her a cash prize. Her ideas and campaigns helped her to be in the pool of Young Talent in the UNLEASH Innovation Lab for Sustainable Development Goal Health forum in Denmark, and the US State Department has granted and certified her twice for her ideas and implementations. Laraib received the “Youth Icon” award from International Rescue Club (IRC) Organization and “Hero of Pakistan” from Samaa TV. Her university selected her to represent the institution in Pakistan Youth Congress. In 2017, she has continued her work breaking stereotypes by launching of “Mashal,” an organization she administers that endeavors for sexual and reproductive health and works to eliminate the discrimination based on gender.

“Instead of relying on words, Laraib dared to challenge the status quo of fundamentalist society & founded “MASHAL” after degree in Gender Studies. Mashal endeavours for healthier and lively world with emphasis on women’s health. She pioneered & administered, “My Rights My Voice” campaign & also represented Pakistan in Young Leader by Women Deliver

– Hussain Anwar, Researcher at Centre for Governance and Policy

Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I implemented My Rights My Voice, that was based on SRHR & issues. Training sessions and campaigns made me realize how much awareness is still needed and how people still suffer because of lack of facilities and knowledge. According to (2015 est.) there are 178 deaths/100,000 live births. Campaign was implemented in 2 urban & 2 rural areas of Pakistan where girls and boys were direct beneficiaries. Parents and teachers were also involved. Almost 5000 direct and indirect beneficiaries were engaged with the aim of giving a platform to initiate their own campaigns keeping in view their SRHR issues. According to The News article In the last 68 years Pakistan’s population is likely to be increased to 300 million by 2050. It is not hard to imagine the consequences because of scarce resources.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Knowing a lot of people who are living below the poverty line, this is a very important factor in their lives where the lack of planning restricts them to have a quality life as the availability of resources is not adequate for such big families. They suffer in terms of education, food and shelter. People should break this stereotype of taking this as a taboo and should make people aware about the problems and its solutions. My spark were the case studies formed in MRMV that showed helplessness.

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

I worked as a National Program Manager for My Rights My Voice. Managing the interventions, supervising the reports and visiting the places made me more empathetic that why and how people are facing such issues. The current stats and population explosion depicts how our society is suffering. People do not talk about sexual health, menstrual problems and puberty issues that leads young people to horrible problems. Being part of Asia Safe Abortion from Pakistan chapter we share training on SRHR.

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?

Targeting the young people from the areas where they think it is a stereotype this grant will be used to talk about ‘Taboos’. Religious scholars will be on panel so that people will not backlash considering something anti religious. Proper modules will be formed and delivered in order to have a positive effect till policy level. A campaign under MASHAL is already finalized with the theme of keeping health and religion aside. These campaign and sessions will be implemented on National level.

Video Introduction

Photos of the nominee in the field/at work