New York, 14 June 2022 (TDI): The UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA announced the recipients of the UN Population Award 2022. The individual honor went to a young Namibian politician who is breaking new ground.

The National Population and Family Planning Board of Indonesia received the institutional prize. Emma Theofelus, a Member of Parliament, is the individual laureate. She is Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Information and the youngest-ever recipient of the Award.

BKKBN, Indonesia’s institutional laureate, is a non-ministerial government entity. She develops national policies, administers family planning efforts, and mentors population dynamics experts.

As a result, Namibian Deputy Minister of Information, Theofelus, received recognized for her work pushing for women’s empowerment. She also campaigns in Namibia for teenage sexual and reproductive health.

Deputy Minister, Theofelus, is one of Africa’s youngest cabinet ministers, having been born in 1996. She is also drawn on her expertise as a sexual and reproductive health advocate and her youth-friendly perspective. The Deputy Minister also made a direct appeal to the country’s youth.

In addition, she has also spearheaded the country’s public awareness campaign on COVID-19 preventions in Namibia as a deputy minister. As a Member of Parliament, she was the first to introduce legislation designating feminine hygiene products as a tax-free commodity.

Deputy Minister Theofelus was a member of the Namibia branch of AfriYAN, a regional youth-led organization, prior to her appointment. This is where she spearheaded groundbreaking efforts to prevent teen pregnancy and protect the sexual and reproductive health of young people.

Success stories of family planning

The designation of BKKBN in the institution category has been a shining example of successful, innovative, and rights-based family planning programs in Indonesia. According to UNFPA, it has continued even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among its many accomplishments, it has trained population experts and collaborated on population concerns with non-governmental and faith-based organizations. It has created programs to assist families who are caring for elderly people.

Furthermore, it has also taken a major position in speaking out against harmful practices. It also contributed to the raising of the minimum age for girls to marry from 16 to 19 in 2019.

About the award

Since 1983, the United Nations Population Award has recognized individuals and organizations for outstanding contributions to population, development, and reproductive health.

Amal Mudallali, Lebanon’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, chairs the award committee for 2022. It is made up of nine additional UN Member States’ delegates.

The UN Secretary-General is represented in the committee by the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and UNFPA administers the award.