Nollywood diva, Stephanie Linus has been appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal Health in West and Central Africa by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on United Nations' International Women's Day, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at the Eko Hotel & Suites on Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
The event attracted both the local and international news media organizations, including the BBC and Reuters. Notable Nollywood actors, producers and directors, including Bond Emeruwa, Keppy Ekpenyong-Bassey, Yemi Blaq, Femi Branch, Gabriel Afolayan and other VIPs were at the event.
“It is my aspiration that access to reproductive health care for women and girls, especially family planning, will be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for,” said Ms. Linus.
“Fought for, not just because of equality, but because we are tired of women dying while giving birth, tired of teenage girls dropping out of school because they got pregnant too early, tired of women not having a choice to decide if, when and how many children they wish to have.
I know I am tired of this. This is why I feel honoured to partner with UNFPA and to use my network to make these issues widely known.”
“For UNFPA, improving the health and status of women and girls remains a priority, and we will continue to accelerate efforts, by building strategic partnerships to scale-up successful interventions that put young people first,” said Mabingue Ngom, the Regional Director of West and Central Africa.
“Our ultimate aim is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled”.
Mrs. Kori Habib, Media Associate UNFPA, Ololade Johnson and colleagues coordinated the ceremony. Dr. Eugene Kongnyuy, the OIC/Deputy Country Representative of UNFPA in Nigeria made the opening speech and declaration of the Goodwill Ambassador and Dr. Sabrina Pestili made the closing remarks.
About Stephanie Linus
Stephanie Linus is a Nigerian actress/filmmaker with a captivating personality and cosmopolitan lifestyle. She has earned a reputation as Africa’s foremost actress, especially in Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, which The New York Times reported to be the world’s third largest. She has starred in more than 100 films and has received several awards and nominations for her work as an actress. These include; the Afro-Hollywood Awards, Film Makers USA Award for Excellence, Reel Awards for Best Actress and recently, the prestigious AMVCA 2016 Award for Best Overall Movie in Africa and AMAA Awards Best Nigerian Film for her most recent work – DRY. This comes after her highly successful directorial debut in ‘Through The Glass’, which was the country’s first film to gross 10million naira in it’s first week and then carted away several awards. In 2010, Stephanie was featured in the CNN documentary “50 years of Nigerian Independence.” That same year, she joined Hollywood A-list star Meryl Streep, for an exclusive stage reading of the play “Seven” at the Hudson Theatre in New York City as part of the Women in the World Conference, opened by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In 2011, she was honoured by the Nigerian government with a National honour (Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, MFR.
On a special invitation from the Queen of England, Stephanie was one of the distinguished guests who attended the 2015 Queens Young Leaders Award in Buckingham Palace where 60 young people across Commonwealth Nations were being honoured. As an avid supporter of the campaign, Stephanie met with England’s Queen Elizabeth II and other dignitaries at the Palace.
Beyond her work as an actress, she is passionate about women’s rights and strongly advocates against early child marriage. Through her foundation “Extended Hands”, she has done extensive work in the field of Vesico Vaginal Fistula. This has earned her the Miriam Makeba Award for Excellence in 2007, and the Beyond the Tears Humanitarian Award for her work against rape and VVF. Stephanie is also passionate about raising her voice against electoral violence.
In March 2016, she spoke alongside other world leaders like the First Female U.S. Secretary Of State, Madeleine K Albright and the Canadian First Lady, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau at the #NotTheCost Conference in New York in her capacity as the the NDI’s Celebrity Ambassador for the ‘STOP Violence Against Women In Elections’ campaign. She was awarded Nigeria’s fourth highest award, Member of the Order of the Federal Republic. Stephanie’s resilience and determination have proven that she will always remain one step ahead and she is arguably one of the most respected actresses in Nollywood. Her desire to evolve is what inspires and drives her in all of her work as an actress and entrepreneur.
With a string of local and international awards and a burgeoning portfolio of philanthropy and activism, Stephanie is irrepressible and at the top of her game. She is the Publisher of Stephanie Daily - her personal blog