Roots of Health Named 2011 Asia Society-Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia 21 Young Leaders Public Service Award
New Delhi, 19 November 2011 – In recognition of its outstanding work in providing quality reproductive health education and an introduction to human rights and empowerment to the women of rural communities in Puerto Princesa, Palawan in the Philippines, Roots of Health has been named winner of the 2011 Asia Society-Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia 21 Young Leaders Public Service Award (Asia 21 PSA). Patricia Amina Swanepoel, Founding Executive Director, represented the two-year-old startup organization and received a US$10,000 cash prize during ceremonies at the Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit in New Delhi, India.
Roots of Health empowers women and girls to secure their right to health and freedom from violence, and to support and protect the health and well-being of their children, by providing education focused on reproductive health, critical thinking and human rights, as well as access to clinical services. Swanepoel, who has a background in human rights and trained in international affairs and public health, started the organization with her mother, Susan Evangelista, in 2009. “Our activities are guided by the international human rights framework, which includes a core belief that health is a human right, and are carried out using a community-based approach.”
Jamie Metzl, Executive Vice President of the Asia Society, remarked that “Developing the next generation of women leaders begins with raising a generation of young girls and women who are empowered to take active control of their own lives. Roots of Health undertakes invaluable work in helping women in rural communities in the Philippines make better informed decisions about their and their families’ future.”
“Bank of America Merrill Lynch is committed to recognizing achievements which have a positive impact on the social and cultural fabric of society,” said Kaku Nakhate, President & Country Head India, Bank of America. “This award is a recognition of the transformational work done by Roots of Health in empowering women and through them having a constructive impact in the rural community.”
The Asia 21 PSA recognizes an organization that has made an outstanding contribution in reaching underprivileged social/economic groups by providing a meaningful service to a community and the public in the region. The selection is overseen by the incumbent Asia 21 Fellowship Class, a core group of young leaders from across the Asia-Pacific, soliciting nominations for the Award and narrowing down the pool to five finalists based on project innovation and feasibility, quantifiable impact, sustainability and growth potential.
Aside from receiving a financial grant, generously provided by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Roots of Health also gains access to the network of resources and expertise of the Asia 21 Fellowship Class. This may include mentoring in such areas as Strategic Planning, Capacity Building and Training, Resource Mobilization, and Program Development and Management.