Ashiru Abubakar is a medical practitioner focusing on obstetrics. Recognizing the role of obstetric hemorrhages in many maternal deaths, Ashiru pushed for an unprecedented blood donation campaign for the maternity unit of the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital Kano. This campaign has so far yielded over 200 donated pints of blood – one of the highest in the country. As a voluntary blood donor himself, he has helped to dispel some of the misconception in the region towards blood donations. He also participated in drafting a protocol to tackle the rising incidences of child sexual abuse.


Umar Farouk is a community-based researcher with special interest in participatory learning and action techniques. Umar was among the pioneers of the Safe Motherhood Initiative Demand-Side project. He was an integral part of a system which seeks to provide a safety net for those who are unable to pay for services, particularly maternal health services. He has worked in remote areas focusing his attention on excluded and isolated communities. He works with local heath committees to facilitate accountability in health care delivery. He is the founder of the Community Based Organization Health Education Initiative For Women, which is actively working at the grassroots level with organizations such as USAID, Institute of Human Virology, and the Jigawa state government to carry out several maternal health based interventions in northwestern Nigeria.


As a Young Champion, Ashiru explored various implementation strategies for programs that target provider attitudes as a way of improving access to skilled maternal health services.