Position: Founder and Executive Director
Organization: AfyaElimu Community Based Organization
Tom Oludhe is the Founder and Executive Director of AfyaElimu Community Based Organization (CBO) in Siaya County, Kenya. The CBO’s mission is to empower community members embrace “bottom up” development initiatives through community conversation groups, partnerships and collaborations with a focus on health, education and agriculture. Through his organization, he has increased access to family planning information and services for over 1,000 poor adolescent girls and young women. He is also a member of the Siaya County Technical Working Group on family planning and is a country coordinator for the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP).
“At only 30 years, increasing access to FP information and services to girls, boys, men and women at the target traditional grass root level is a personal sacrifice. He is a young male champion.“
– Priskila Arulpragasam, Trainer on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights at Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.
I contributed to the increase in uptake of long term FP methods as a demand creation officer
Founding a community based organization that works on community health promotion has increased access to FP information and services at the grass root level to over 1000 poor, literate and illiterate adolescent girls and young women.
My membership to the Siaya County Technical Working Group on FP is a bridge between the rural beneficiaries and county government. This advises targeted FP programming and advocacy. My desire is to see the County government having a budget line for Youth Family Planning.
My CBO champions community conversations on FP. Today, communities are together demystifying the FP myths, fictions and openly discussing the subject. Its slowly rolling away from being a “taboo”.
What sparked your passion for family planning?
I had the best parents in the world, yet I could feel the big family of eight strained their insufficient income. The better education, meals, health, clothing and housing was a mirage. I committed to change my story, and by extension my community.
Small, makes bigger things affordable.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?
A significant portion of young husbands, religious leaders and older parents are not on the high end need for FP information and services, yet they have remained the deepest pit on the FP highway. I have learnt that developing successful FP interventions in the community requires a buy in by these determinants of FP uptake. As a result, i have made it a priority to have FP a community conversation item.
What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?
High unmet need for contraceptives among currently married adolescent girls in Siaya County is significant and higher (48%) than that of the national level (23%). 30% of currently married girls aged 15-19 would like to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern contraceptive method compared to 23% at the national level.
A County participatory approach to FP programming will be key to realizing a win win scenario for both beneficiaries (husbands, parents) and the Siaya County Government.
What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?
Siaya County government develops and approves a 5 year costed family planning implementation plan for young people.