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Profile of a Champion: Dr. Yetnayet Asfaw

EngenderHealth’s Vice President of Strategy & Impact, Dr. Yetnayet Asfaw, grew up in a world where young girls are told more often what they cannot do than what they can. Growing up in Addis Ababa, Dr. Yet was the eldest of 10 children; from a young age, her heart was set on becoming a physician. Initially, her extended family and community members were amused. They told Dr. Yet she could only be a nurse, because she was a girl.

Fortunately, Dr. Yet had parents who believed in and encouraged her to pursue her dreams. Dr. Yet’s mother had the foresight to tell her that times were changing and that she needed to change with them. The only help she could provide her daughter was an education, but this investment ultimately unlocked a cycle of benefits that helped not only Dr. Yet and her family, but also her community.

After a few years of practicing medicine, Dr. Yet earned a public health degree and began directing programs focused on improving access to quality reproductive health programs in Ethiopia. Today, Dr. Yet oversees EngenderHealth’s global and technical programs in nearly 20 countries from her new office in Washington, D.C., bringing the same determination and passion to work every day.

“When a woman gets counseled on family planning, you can see the smile on her face, the spark of enlightenment in her eye; you see hope for the future.” –Dr. Yetnayet Asfaw

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