Adolescent Health Symposium: Youth Communique’

Courtesy of Center for Study of Adolescence (CSA)

The 2nd Adolescent Health Symposium this year kicked off with a Youth pre-symposium on the 1st day. CSA was happy to host one of the side events at the Youth pre-symposium. Our side event was about ‘Realization of the Demographic Dividend’ which was attended by nearly close to 150 people. The participants in this forum included young people between the ages of 19-24 years, civil society organization representatives and officers from both national and county governments. This was such a wonderful platform to discuss and propose action points on what Kenya really needs to harness the demographic dividend.

The highlight of our side event was the eloquent, elaborate and passionate youth panel that we had set up. We identified strong and articulate young people from our work on Youth and Demographic Dividend in Kenya. We had a blend of both members of the Youth Advisory Group (YAG) and the vibrant Youth and Demographic Dividend Champions who work across 22 counties in Kenya. Our panelists were; Alex Omari from Marie Stopes Kenya (YAG member), Imali Ngusale from DSW (YAG member), Lameck Mageto from Kwale County (Youth Champion) and Dollarman Fatinato from Nairobi County (Youth Champion).

The panel gave insights on education, health, economy and governance. They outlined the situation of young people in Kenya today and gave out clearly recommendations that touched on policies that are developed for young people in Kenya.  After their submissions, a more lively and interactive plenary session made significant contributions on what Kenya really needs to do to achieve the demographic dividend.  The advocacy tool “We are Kenya’s Future” video was played at the side event just before the plenary session. You could see the reaction from the plenary after watching the video. They were moved and ready to take action.

“County governments in Kenya should be more inclusive and expand their structures to accommodate young people especially in their decision making organs like the county technical working groups and committees” said Dollarman as he was finalizing on his views on what should be done about governance.

The most exciting this is that young people from this side event were able to develop a communique which was forwarded to the organizers of the symposium. We shared advocacy materials with the young people and policy makers who were present in the room with the hope that this conversation about Kenya’s future will be carried beyond the symposium and actions will be done to improve health, education, economy and governance in Kenya. By positioning young people at the center of all these actions, then we are on the right track to harness the demographic dividend by the year 2030.


#HerFuture Campaign- #FPVoices #YouthChoose

Join me in supporting the #HerFuture Campaign asking @JulieBishopMP to commit more $ for #FamilyPlanning #FPVoices    #YouthChoose

Tweet at @alexomari1

Dear Ms Bishop

Thank you for consistently emphasizing the importance of helping woman and girls through Australia’s aid program.

As you know, family planning services save lives and give women and girls the power to decide when and how many children they have.

Yet Australia’s funding for family planning has dropped to half what it was three years ago.

Australia has a critical role in making sure that women and girls in the world’s poorest places have access to family planning services – and now there is a great opportunity to demonstrate our commitment.

I ask you to use the upcoming Family Planning Summit in London as an opportunity to pledge to restore Australia’s life-saving family planning funding and to commit an additional $10 million each year for the next three years.

Yours sincerely,
Alex Omari

Denying Young Mothers a chance to complete their Education is a Violation of Human Rights


I just signed the petition, “Human Rights Campaign: President John .P.Magufuli Let Pregnant Students complete their education !.” I think this is important. Will you sign it too?

Here’s the link:

Alex- SRHR Advocate

MSI team members shortlisted for Family Planning award

Courtesy of Marie Stopes International MSI team members shortlisted for Family Planning award

A whole host of Marie Stopes International team members have been nominated for 2017’s 120 under 40 family planning award.

120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders is a project that launched on 26 September 2015, World Contraception Day, and recognises the achievements of people who are leading the way in family planning worldwide.

Nominees must be family planning champions aged under 40 who have made significant contributions to family planning at the local, national, or international level in one of the following categories: advocacy, programming/programme implementation, research, service delivery, demand generation, policy/government or media.

Marie Stopes International nominees

This is the second year where a number of Marie Stopes International team members have been shortlisted​. The large list of nominees includes:

  • Lalaina Razafinirinasoa, Marie Stopes Madagascar
  • Melissa Cockroft, Marie Stopes Madagascar
  • Alex Omari, Marie Stopes Kenya
  • Sadiat Abubakar, Marie Stopes International
  • Shafaatu Abubakar Jabbi, Marie Stopes International
  • Daisy Adalla, Marie Stopes Kenya
  • Naheed Ahmed, Marie Stopes International
  • Anum Akram, Marie Stopes Society
  • Caleb Ojimah Aromeh, Marie Stopes Nigeria
  • Qaiser Asghar, Marie Stopes Society
  • Dr. Saima Gul, Marie Stopes Society
  • Shaikh Hameed, Marie Stopes Society
  • Onyekachi Kanu, Marie Stopes International
  • Brian Kayongo, Marie Stopes Zambia
  • Faizan Khan, Marie Stopes Society
  • Mardan Shah, Marie Stopes International
  • Faiz Muhamamd, Marie Stopes Society
  • Fahad Paracha, Marie Stopes Society
  • Hadiza Sani Barau, Marie Stopes Nigeria
  • Sekou Sow, Marie Stopes Mali
  • Diallo Souleïmane, Marie Stopes Mali
  • Aondoaseer Leonard Viashima, Marie Stopes Nigeria
  • Henri Za Lal Lian, Marie Stopes Myanmar

After online voting and jury review, the 40 winners are chosen, all of whom receive $1,000 prize money from the Gates Institute to continue their work in family planning and/or begin innovative new projects.

The winners will be announced in September. For more information or to view the nominee bios visit


This article was originally published by Youth For Change, the global network of youth activists fighting gender-based violence on 

Policy decisions made in the USA can have wide reaching consequences. Kenyan SRHR advocate Alex Omari explains the devestating impact the Global Gag Rule will have on women in Kenya and across Africa...

Since 2010 and the enactment of the Constitution of Kenya, maternal health projects have been on the up, with increasing hope of finally acknowledging women and upholding their rights. Another step on the right path was the institution of National Guidelines for reducing maternal mortality and morbidity from unsafe abortion in Kenya in September 2012. On the eve of Madaraka day in 2013, His Excellency the President declared free access to maternal services in all public health facilities which was a notch higher towards realizing global development.

However, on 3rd December 2013, the then Director of Medical Services withdrew the same guidelines under unclear circumstances which caused uproar among reproductive health advocates across the nation. This marked the beginning of a rocky period for the sector, as the providers were reluctant to provide comprehensive reproductive health services.

According to a study carried out by African Population and Research Center in 2012, an estimated 464,690 induced abortions occurred in Kenya in 2012, corresponding to an induced abortion rate of 48 abortions per 1000 women of reproductive age (15-49 years), and an induced abortion ratio of 30 abortions per 100 births in 2012. These high rates and complications from unsafe procedures accelerated maternal deaths nationally.

At the global arena, the former US President’s Administration was supportive of the maternal health programs but as expected by many reproductive health advocates, the Trump administration looks to be a backlash. Truth be told, the majority of the people around the world had expected Hillary Clinton to win the US election,s and hence many were comfortable that there was to be a buy-in and continuation of the Obama Legacy. This meant that there was no contingency plan as what would be the next step in case the unforeseen happens, which indeed happened.


What is the Global Gag rule?

Every time there is a new administration in US, there is always that critical decision on whether or not to adopt the Mexico City Policy. First announced in Mexico City in 1984 by President Reagan’s administration, the policy requires all nongovernmental organizations operating abroad to refrain from performing, advising on or endorsing pregnancy by choice initiatives if they wish to receive federal funding. To date, support for the Mexico City Policy has been strictly partisan: it was rescinded by Democratic President Bill Clinton on 22 January 1993, restored by Republican President George W Bush on 22 January 2001 and rescinded again by Democratic President Barack Obama on 23 January 2009 and again restored a few days ago by President Trump.

The Global Gag Rule or Mexico City Policy stipulates that taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for pregnancy by choice programs or related services (such as counselling, education or training). The impact of the Policy is an increase in maternal deaths and morbidities aggravated by unsafe abortions.

This move will deny thousands of the Kenyan women access to the comprehensive reproductive health services through the Ksh. 60 billion annual grant from the US government. As of today, 220 million women from developing countries have unmet need for family planning in which Kenya is included.

Alternative avenues need to be explored for the women to have a voice in this world at this stage. Most recently the Canadian and Dutch governments have come in support for women and will fill the void left by USAID in the developing nations. More needs to be done across the globe