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US advocate, Kenyan organization winners of UN population award

US advocate, Kenyan organization winners of UN population award

An advocate from the United States and a family planning organization in Kenya have been selected as winners of the United Nations award which honours an individual and an institution that have made outstanding contributions to the awareness and solutions of population problems.

The 2003 UN Population Award will go to Werner Fornos and the Family Planning Association of Kenya, selected by a committee comprised of Member States, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Since 1982, Mr. Fornos, a US national, has headed the Population Institute devoted to creating materials and techniques to increase awareness of population growth and family planning programmes. He is a tireless and engaging speaker who has successfully lobbied for increased population funding in the United States.

"It is difficult to think of one person who has done more to ensure that issues of population remain at the forefront of public and governmental discourse," according to the nomination of Mr. Fornos to the selection committee.

The Family Planning Association of Kenya has championed the provision of sexual and reproductive health services within the context of rights and empowerment of young people since the organization's inception in 1962, the nomination of the organization said.

The Association was also one of the early advocates for gender equality and the eradication of female circumcision. It took the lead in transforming Kenya's family planning programme from a Nairobi-based model into a regional one, reaching people right at the community level.

UNFPA said each winner would receive a certificate, a gold medal and an equal share of a monetary prize at a ceremony in July at the UN Headquarters in New York.