Barbados advocate, New York-based NGO win 2008 UN population award

5 March 2008 – A gender advocate and former foreign minister of Barbados and a New York-based non-governmental organization (NGO) that helps to save the lives of women in developing countries are the recipients of this year’s United Nations Population Award.

Dame Billie Antoinette Miller and Family Care International (FCI) were chosen from among 11 individual and seven institutional nominees from around the world.

The Award is given each year to individuals and institutions for their “outstanding work in population and in improving the health and welfare of individuals,” according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Dame Miller, an attorney by profession, was elected Member of Parliament in 1976 and was the first woman to be named minister in Barbados, according to a news release from UNFPA. In addition to holding a numerous ministerial portfolios, including health and education, she has been promoting population and gender issues in several capacities.

In 2004, she was honoured by International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region for her lifelong contributions to sexual and reproductive health.

Established in New York in 1986, Family Care International has been helping to make pregnancy and childbirth safer for women in the developing world by promoting sexual and reproductive health for adolescents and by supporting safe motherhood. The organization also works to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Family Care International was a co-organizer of last October’s Women Deliver conference in London, which drew some 2,000 participants, including cabinet ministers and lawmakers from 110 countries, and produced new global commitments to maternal health.

The winners were selected by the Population Award Committee, administered by UNFPA and comprising 10 Member States, elected by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNFPA’s Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid are ex-officio members of the Committee.

The awards will be presented at UN Headquarters in New York on 22 May.

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