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UNFPA and Bayer Middle East awarded Kurdish film “The Exam” the Family and Population ICPD Award for its role in promoting dialogue around population issues, in partnership with the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) on December 5.

The award entails a USD 10,000 prize, co-sponsored by Bayer Middle East and UNFPA.

UNFPA Egypt Assistant Representative Germaine Haddad and Eman Abdel Gelil presented the award at the festival’s closing ceremony. 

The award comes in light of UNFPA’s close collaboration with Bayer Middle East, and their shared values and support for population programs in Egypt, as well as to encourage filmmakers and industry experts to tackle social issues and highlight the impact of art and cinema in addressing population growth, family planning, empowerment of young people and gender equality. 

“UNFPA is always keen on encouraging filmmakers to shed light on population topics such as gender-based violence or the challenges of population growth,” Meijer said, “the portrayal of such issues in films will reverberate stronger than any other platform.”

“We are proud to support Egyptian filmmakers through our strong partnership with UNFPA. Only knowledge of the possibilities and benefits of active family planning empowers individuals to take independent decisions,” added Sami Joost, Head of Communications / Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability (PASS) – Middle East.

The winning film was selected by a panel of jury members, which included Meijer, film director Tamer Ashry and renowned actress and friend of UNFPA Arwa Gouda.

Set in war-torn Iraqi Kurdistan, the film follows sisters Rojin and Shilan; the former about to take a university entrance exam and the latter determined to help her pass to avoid the same fate of an unhappy marriage.

The film delves into the issue of women’s rights and their entitlement to make decisions about their own body and lives. It tackles issues like forced marriage, gender-based violence, son preference, as well as family planning and bodily autonomy.

UNFPA’s partnership with the CIFF is building on a successful collaboration over the past three years, through which UNFPA aims to inspire and advocate for storylines on topics related reproductive health, gender inequality, discrimination and gender-based violence as well as other population issues.

In the festival’s 2018, 2019 and 2020 editions, UNFPA contributed with the Conscious Media Award and the Women’s Empowerment Award to celebrate films that create an impact and shed light on gender and population issues. The awards were given to Poisonous Roses, Un Fils and Snow White respectively.

Bayer works with a network of public and private partners to enable women and girls to assert their right to self-determined family planning worldwide. 

In September, Bayer Middle East signed a strategic five-year family planning partnership with UNFPA Egypt to support national family planning campaigns. 



UNFPA works to end unmet need for family planning, gender-based violence and harmful practices and preventable maternal deaths. The country program aims to assist Egypt in achieving the goals of its 2030 agenda. It contributes primarily to the progressive achievement of SDG Goals 3 and 5. The program target groups are women, adolescents and youth, particularly those most in need, including disabled, rural communities, migrants and people affected by emergencies.  

About Bayer

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to help people and planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to drive sustainable development and generate a positive impact with its businesses.