Championing Equity and Inclusivity: Goodness Odey’s Inspiring Journey as an ICFP2022 Youth Trailblazer

Oct 17, 2023

Goodness Ogeyi Odey, ICFP2022 Youth Trailblazer and Co-chair of the ICFP Shifting Power and Advancing Equity in Global Health Subcommittee, was recently featured in an article from Independent Newspaper Nigeria on her work advocating for inclusive health policies in Nigeria and across Africa. The article, titled, “Govt Should Go Beyond Rhetorics, Align Policies With People’s Needs — Goodness” was authored by Chioma Umeha, a Health and Science Writer/Editor at Independent Newspapers Limited and a Family Planning News Network (FPNN) Reporter. 

Goodness was selected to receive one of 50 Youth Trailblazer Awards from the 2022 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), garnering funding to attend the sixth ICFP in Pattaya City, Thailand in November 2022. While there, Goodness had the opportunity to connect with Umeha, who was also attending the conference as an  ICFP Global Media Scholar. 

Goodness remarked, “I got connected to Chioma Umeha when I was selected to get a media feature upon being recognised as an ICFP2022 Trailblazer Awardee. Our connection from then has been super productive as Chioma has utilized her media platform to feature my SRHR engagements and those of other Nigerian youths contributing to equitable access to FP and SRHR information and resources.” 

She continues, “beyond ICFP2022, we have stayed in touch as we provide mutual support to each other’s work in advancing health equity in Nigeria and Africa. Chioma is a huge support system and I am super grateful to ICFP for connecting us!”

Their most recent collaboration resulted in the Independent article discussing Goodness’ work as a public health practitioner and her recent award of the highly-selective Chevening Scholarship to obtain her MSc in Health Policy, Planning and Financing from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Outside of her studies, Goodness serves as Co-chair of the ICFP Shifting Power and Advancing Equity in Global Health Subcommittee—one of ICFP’s most active communities. Goodness has traveled to attend several conferences this year, including the annual Population Association of America meeting to facilitate an important discussion on Power Shifting and Advancing Equity in Research Collaborations. She also co-leads the newly-established Power Shifting in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Community of Practice created in collaboration with the World Health Organization’s IBP Network. The community of practice has garnered over 800 members to date and aims to continue the work initiated at the ICFP2022 Power-shifting Pre-conference and beyond. 

Recently, Goodness has co-authored several abstracts that have been accepted to international conferences, including the 2024 Prince Mahidol Awards Conference held 22-27 January in Bangkok, Thailand. The abstract focuses on the decolonization of global health governance and explores the consequences of these inequalities on health outcomes.

As part of the Gates Institute Policy, Advocacy, and Community-building Global Program, The ICFP is a critical juncture for catalyzing evidence-based action and serves as a model for meaningful participation and collaboration between multiple stakeholders working on access to reproductive health services for all. The ICFP Youth Trailblazer Award is named in recognition of the important leadership and innovation youth bring to family planning and SRHR. Trailblazers were integrated throughout ICFP programming, providing AYSRHR expertise across ICFP programming areas including research, advocacy, media and communications, and more. 

Through her ICFP Trailblazer designation, Goodness continues to be an active member of the ICFP community by advocating for human-centered health policies and programs and creating spaces to address global inequalities in health and development. 

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