April 9, 2013

New York–The International Women’s Health Coalition today announced Adenike Esiet as the winner of the first Joan B. Dunlop Award. IWHC selected Esiet for her outstanding work to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents in Nigeria.

Esiet, a sociologist and youth health advocate based in Lagos, Nigeria, is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Action Health Incorporated (AHI). Since 1989, she has contributed to building AHI from an idea into a vibrant organization that combines community-based programming with national policy advocacy for sexual health and rights. AHI began with school-based sexuality education programs that reached only a few hundred young people. Today, AHI operates a sexual and reproductive health clinic that serves 3,000 young people every year. The clinic has emerged as a learning site for public health practitioners throughout Nigeria who are interested in creating youth-friendly sexual health services.

“The Joan B. Dunlop Award will help re-energize our work in Nigeria,” said Esiet. “The need is now greater than ever for girls to access sexual and reproductive health services, free of the fear of reprisal. In the spirit of Joan Dunlop, we’ve got to get on with the work that urgently needs our attention. We have to hold our leaders accountable. We must make it impossible for governments to deny girls their fundamental human rights.”

The Joan B. Dunlop Award was created in tribute to the extraordinary legacy of IWHC’s first president, who passed away on June 29, 2012. The award, which comes with a cash prize of $7,500, is intended to recognize activists who work under difficult circumstances to promote the health and rights of women and girls.

“Joan Dunlop helped place women at the center of global population policy and inspired countless advocates and policymakers to join the fight for women’s rights,” said IWHC President Françoise Girard. “Adenike Esiet is a courageous and passionate activist who is deeply committed to the right of women and girls to control their lives and their bodies. We are proud to present Adenike with the first Joan B. Dunlop Award.”