BaderNorhan Bader, second from left, wins "120 Under 40."

Norhan Bader, an alumna of the Student Leaders Program at Montana State University, is recognized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as one of "120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders" in September 2017. The award is organized by The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

For more than nine years, Norhan has worked devotedly in the realm of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

At the American University of Beirut, where Norhan obtained a Master's degree in Public Health, she researched methods to tailor reproductive health to reach people in need of care through social, religious and gender-based barriers. Her studies at the university were sponsored by the The Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), hosted at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.

Norhan has made vast contributions to the cause. As a researcher, Norhan examined topics such as Female Genital Cutting (FGC), Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), puberty and sexuality, and unmet needs for family planning. As a result of her work and dedication, Norhan was recognized as a Young Leader by Women Deliver in 2016.

"When I began working as an assistant maternal health researcher in Upper Egypt," Norhan said. "I observed the impact of high fertility rates in impoverished communities that was evident by national surveys that demonstrated the burden of unmet needs and lack of access to information."

"There were cases of violations of adolescent girls’ rights thus I shifted my attention to family planning and vulnerable groups," she said, according to the Gates Institute.

Norhan also created the National Youth Taskforce for Development along with a number of Egyptian advocates. "It shared in formulation and adoption of Reproductive Health Strategies in the 2030 National Development Strategy in Egypt," Norhan said, according to the Gates Institute. "Outcomes were presented to policymakers and incorporated in the 2030 strategy."

About two months ago, Norhan conducted a project in a rural area in Giza, designed to empower children with life skills and values such as communication, respect and participation, in addition to sessions related to nutrition, first aid, child abuse and saving the environment. 

At the moment, Norhan works as a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer at the Population Council, Egypt office. She is also a Director of Projects and a member of the executive board at International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP).

In 2010, Norhan was selected among the top student leaders from Egypt to participate in the Student Leaders Program at Montana State University. The six-week program, Norhan said, has exposed her to "different environment and diversity of people while being in the US."

"I got a small MEPI fund where I was able to implement my idea and manage my project which developed my leadership and management skills," Norhan added.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Student Leaders Program is a rigorous exchange program for up to 60 undergraduate and graduate students from the Middle East and North Africa. Students are divided among U.S. academic institutions, including Montana State University, where they develop leadership skills and expand their understanding of civil society and participatory governance and how both may be applied in their home communities.

For more information, contact Janelle Rasmussen:

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