Faatimaa’s life was transformed when, as a young girl, she accompanied her mother to a midwifery clinic and realized that midwifery could profoundly impact the poor treatment of women in Iran. After studying both midwifery and later, educational psychology, she has become a passionate changemaker working to strengthen the link between education and women’s health in the country. She has developed a three-pronged approach to women’s health literacy based on Freire’s educational model. Her model launches community health-focused working groups, takes lessons from community members to inform curriculum development of culturally-specific materials, and shares findings and materials with communities in a way that empowers community voices to question, comment, react, and build upon the health messages shared.


Rita Sembuya is helping citizens to voice their concerns in discussions of how, what, and to whom healthcare services are made available. Her organization, JFSCU, convenes couples affected by infertility in a countrywide network, advocates for the adoption of low-cost treatment that enables some couples to conceive, and educates doctors, policymakers, and the public about the problem. JFSCU also partners with health providers to identify key issues related to reproductive health, particularly around infertility and maternal health. Furthermore, they create support groups that incorporate local community members and health providers from hospitals to productively address the issues they have identified.

To read more about Rita’s work, click here.


Faatimaa Ahmadi will work with the Joyce Fertility Support Center to reduce maternal mortality through research, education, community awareness projects, and increased partnerships between health providers and patients. Specifically, during her Young Champion placement, Faatimaa will (1) work within communities to raise awareness around identified reproductive health issues, (2) create community support groups that liaise with health service providers, (3) evaluate the gap between health services delivery and community needs and (4) work to bridge this gap by mobilizing communities to advocate for improved health rights.