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Theofelus becomes youngest ever winner of the United Nations Population Award individual laureate

Theofelus becomes youngest ever winner of the United Nations Population Award individual laureate

The Deputy Minister of Information Emma Theofelus, on Monday, was announced as the 2022 United Nations Population Award individual laureate.

Theofelus became the youngest-ever winner of the award, a statement released Monday said.

The institution laureate is the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) from the Republic of Indonesia, a non-ministerial government agency that formulates national policies, implements family planning initiatives and mentors experts in the field of population dynamics.

Theofelus received the individual award for her work advocating for women’s empowerment and adolescent sexual and reproductive health in Namibia.

Born in 1996, she is one of Africa’s youngest  ministers and has used her youth-friendly perspective, and her experience as an advocate for sexual and reproductive health, to directly address the country’s adolescents.

As a deputy minister, she led the country’s public communication campaign on COVID-19 prevention in Namibia, and as a Member of Parliament, her motion enabled feminine hygiene products to be identified as a tax-free commodity.

Before her appointment, Theofelus was a member of the Namibia chapter of AfriYAN, a regional youth-led organisation, where she led pioneering efforts to fight teen pregnancy and protect young people’s sexual and reproductive health.

In the institution category, BKKBN has been recognised as a shining example of successful, innovative and rights-based family planning initiatives in the Republic of Indonesia, which continued even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among its many achievements, it has trained population experts, engaged with non-governmental and faith-based organisations on population issues, and developed programmes to assist families caring for older persons. It also played a leading role in advocating against harmful practices, helping to raise the minimum age for marriage for girls from 16 to 19 in 2019.

The UN Population Award has honoured individuals and institutions for their outstanding contributions to population, development and reproductive health since 1983. The committee for the award in 2022 is chaired by Her Excellency Ms Amal Mudallali, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations, and is composed of representatives of nine other UN Member States. The United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs represents the UN Secretary-General in the committee, and UNFPA serves as its secretariat.


About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and she believes education is the greatest equalizer. She received her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in June 2021. . She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.