Maryam Aly

2019 Winner

Position: Health Communication Coordinator

Organization: Population Council

Current Location: Egypt, Africa

Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and Biotechnology from German University in Cairo

“Helped tailor and implement approach for outreaching young people with FP/RH messages (Bootcamp for factory workers – integrated livelihood &FP for young people in urban Souhag) and sharing the model in 2 international conferences (ICFP- SBCC summit)”

Norhan Bader, Monitoring and Evaluation at Population Council

Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I joined the Population Council early 2017 as the coordinator of a large USAID funded project focusing on expanding the role of the private sector in addressing FP needs of Egyptian young people. I’ve managed to coordinate & support the implementation of this project’s activities, namely; training more than 180 young factory workers as peer educators, more than 100 physicians, 100 nurses & 300 pharmacists, developing FP curricula & training videos to be used for training, creating & sustaining the digital platform “Ma3looma: Family Planning” providing specific FP information, and conducting advocacy meetings with key stakeholders and key players in the private sector such as pharmaceutical companies as well as developing policy briefs.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

I distinctly remember a man shoving his pregnant wife through the doors of the pharmacy where I worked back in 2015 shouting, “Get this woman something to stop the bleeding. If she’s giving herself a miscarriage, I’ll bury her here”. That “woman” was barely 16 years old with very little understanding of what was going on. I noticed how women tend to have unequal power in sexual relationships & access to health information. That’s when I knew I wanted to focus my efforts on advocating for FP/RH.

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

Ensuring sustainability and creating active agents of change beyond the project’s lifetime has been my aim while working at the Population Council. Through mentoring and regular meetings with our local partner NGO staff and several peer educators that focused on highlighting their role in their communities and among their co-workers, they have turned into agents with a sense of social responsibility that drive change.

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? 

As a community pharmacist, the lack of knowledge regarding emergency contraception was underscored several times. Most people mistakenly think that EC is abortive and against religious teachings, only being used by unmarried women. I intend to use this platform and grant to advocate for the use of emergency contraception and to reduce the stigma surrounding it through raising awareness. Another part of the grant will be used to enhance my advocacy skills through courses and trainings.