1.How and when did you s tart working in the SRHR field? What's your(work) experience?
When I was at the second grade in University (2003) I joined a university club called “Fight Against AIDS”. That’s when I learnt more on HIV/AIDS and started doing outreach activities within the university. Later on I was trained as peer educator on SRHR by Y-PEER Network and UNFPA which enabled me both in terms of knowledge and skills on youth SRHR. Later on with my involvement in national and international activities in Y-PEER Network I heard about YouAct, I applied and selected as a member in 2006.
While working on youth SRHR issues within Turkey, European region and globally, I was graduated from university as a science teacher and already decided then I should focus on more SRHR so I enrolled to Masters on Women and Gender Studies which was an amazing opportunity to academically be involved in gender issues with SRHR perspective. Around the same time with Masters , I have started working for UNFPA Turkey Country Office as a Youth Project Assistant, coordinating a youth SRHR campaign in Turkey. Since 2007 I have been working with UNFPA under Reproductive Health Programme where I am Programme Associate under RH Programme.
2. What was the most important opportunity you had as YouAct member? There are many but I can list what I believe the most important two opportunities ;
1 – I was part of advocacy task force (ATF) and we organized a hearing at the European Parliament. Prior to the Hearing we organized a capacity building workshop with young people from the region and I found it very empowering to work with young people from different organization and developing a joint statement together. Following day I had one of the greatest – most unique opportunity to chair the Hearing.
2- I was part of YouAct Steering Committee for two years , in my second year I was the chair of the organization. I was lucky enough to work closely on development of the organization internally and representing YouAct to its partners . Those two years indeed helped me many ways to become who I am today.
3. How did YouAct membership influenced who you are / what you do today?
This is the most difficult question, where should I s tart :) Overall I can say during my membership in YouAct I have learnt that you do not need to be in a huge organization to make change, you need to be able to work in a team that is effective. Also you do not need to meet face to face in order to work (although that would be amazing), you can get creative using wonders of internet.
Moreover because of YouAct, I have improved my knowledge and skills on advocacy, especially on SRHR issues . I also learnt a lot regarding the SRHR s ituation in European countries , how European Union functions and so on. I got to meet and work with many advocates throughout the world and learnt each and every one of them. Last but not least, YouActers those amazing people I got to work with thought me a lot about international friends hip.