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What Youth Want Youth To Know - Advice on Engaging within the Field of Contraceptive R&D

Post written by Youth Council members, Astha Adroja, Ellen Peprah, Isadora Bittar, Sarah Gati Joseph, Danita Mathew, Keith Terah, Shreyas Samir Parkhie, Rosemary Nazar, and Edgard Mugenzi


Youth involvement in contraceptive research and development is critical to the growth of the field. By ensuring that youth are engaged within the process of developing new contraceptive technologies, the innovations being made can be better tailored to the needs of users. However, it can be challenging for youth to engage within the field of contraceptive research and development (R&D), as it is oftentimes difficult to find opportunities to engage. The CTI Exchange Youth Council is a coalition of youth created by the CTI Exchange to address this issue. Youth within the council engage in monthly meetings, opportunity sharing through our Whatsapp group, and participation in various projects related to the field of contraceptive R&D. Selected members of the youth council were asked to share advice for youth interested in the field.


Astha Adroja is attending Pharmacy school at Rutgers University in the United States and is doing research in reproductive biology.

“Talk to professors and other more experienced individuals in the field, they usually know about many opportunities.”


Ellen Peprah is a doctor, researcher, youth development enthusiast from Ghana,

“For young people seeking opportunities in contraceptive R&D have to put yourself out there, volunteer yourself for tasks that will help you learn and understand the terrain.”


Isadora Bittar, is a researcher at the University Of São Paulo, Brazil, curently working on the impact of LARC provision during the COVID-19 pandemic on live birth and abortion rates in young people.

“My suggestion is to talk to women around you about their needs and desires around contraception and to seek solutions to the most common problems in your community involving contraception.”


Sarah Gati Joseph is a member of the Tunaweza Empowerment Organization in Kenya

“Engage with young women on engaging in safe sex and suitable contraceptive methods

for them to use.”


Danita Mathew is a medical student at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Medicine

“Seek opportunities locally, by talking to universities or research centers that are engaging in interesting research, and find areas where you can grow both as a person and professionally.”


Keith Terah is part of the Reproductive Health Network Kenya

“Meaningful youth engagement in research on contraceptives is important for effective data and knowledge management to inform gaps in contraceptive innovation and research.”


Shreyas Samir Parkhie is a Masters student at IISER Tirupati, India and a mentee in the Emerging Leaders in Contraceptive Technology Innovation program.

“Fully understanding the landscape of stakeholders and putting in the thought to cater to the needs of all is the first step to fill in the gap in contraceptive technology and innovation. I would encourage the youth to think about the accessibility of a contraceptive, while coming up with an idea for novel methods of contraception. My personal interest towards working in this field was inspired by the emerging non-hormonal contraceptives in the LARC spectrum, so keeping an open-mind towards exploring novel technologies should be a great head start. Feel free refer to one of my previous projects to draw inspiration."


Rosemary Nazar is a program associate for Afya Pamoja

“For young people seeking opportunities in contraceptive R&D do not be afraid of being

urious, find articles to read, connect with people who have the same interests as you

do.”


If you are interested in learning more about the work of any of these Youth Council members or hearing more about the Youth Council itself, please reach out to dmathew@fhi360.org for more information. Please share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #YouthLead and tag @ctiexchange.

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