Sandra Isano

Sandra is an accomplished global health professional and community engagement specialist from Rwanda, with a strong focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly for adolescent girls and women. With over ten years of experience in the field, she currently holds the position of Lecturer and Coordinator for the Global Community Based Education program at the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda.

Sandra is currently pursuing a PhD in Global Health from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, with her research centered on teenage pregnancy in refugee camps within Rwanda. Her doctoral dissertation aims to uncover the underlying factors contributing to high rates of teenage pregnancy and identify effective solutions through community-based participatory research. By actively engaging with teenage refugees and their communities, Sandra hopes to develop culturally sensitive interventions that will significantly reduce teenage pregnancy rates.

Sandra’s contributions in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights are extensive. Notably, she has led an initiative to educate girls in rural Rwanda, specifically in the Burera district, Northern Rwanda on how to make reusable sanitary pads. Furthermore, Sandra has spearheaded the establishment of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) clubs in high schools within Burera. In addition to her initiatives, Sandra is a passionate advocate for the rights of young people, particularly in combatting teenage pregnancy and advocating for abortion rights. She has been invited numerous times to various media platforms in Rwanda to champion these causes. Sandra’s dedication extends beyond her professional work, as she is deeply committed to social justice and the dignity of vulnerable populations.

Sandra’s expertise in community engagement and global health has earned her widespread recognition. She received the prestigious 2020 Changemaker Award for the Isibindi Program, honoring her efforts in fighting for the rights of women and marginalized populations. Furthermore, she was named a winner of the Northwestern Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Health and Wellbeing’s 2021 Data Science & SGM Health Equity Paper Competition for her work on identifying barriers to Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) use among sexual and gender minorities in sub-Saharan Africa. These accolades are a testament to Sandra’s exceptional contributions to the field of global health and her unwavering commitment to improving the lives of adolescent girls and women in need.