Meet Our Members

YouAct is currently made up of young people between 18-28 years old from across the Council of Europe member states.

Current membership includes young people from Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Georgia, Kosovo, Ireland, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

The Network’s Coordinator is Adriana Pereira from Portugal.

Coordinator

Isma Benboulerbah
Isma BenboulerbahYouAct Coordinator
Isma Benboulerbah is a strong and passionate feminist activist and has been working for years on programs focusing on fight sexual and gender-based violence and SRHR.

Former Coordinators

Adriana Pereira2020-2018 YouAct Coordinator
Ana Rizescu
Ana Rizescu2018-2016 YouAct Coordinator
Country: Romania

My involvement in the youth NGO field sector started when I was 15 years old and I became a volunteer of Youth for Youth (member of the Y-PEER Network) working on issues related to youth health and rights, in particular sexual and reproductive health and rights. Since then, I have collaborated with partners from Europe, Central Asia, Arab States and Asia Pacific to organize various capacity building events, conferences and advocacy initiatives.

I got to know YouAct members and some of their activities in 2010 and since then we have been involved in several youth SRHR coalitions. Few years later, in the autumn of 2014, I got even closer to YouAct and became the network coordinator.

Being part of YouAct brings me the personal and professional satisfaction of working towards something meaningful, towards realization of youth sexual reproductive rights, towards sexuality being accepted as a positive aspect in life.

I enjoy being in touch with people coming from different countries, with different backgrounds and exploring aspects of youth empowerment, various team dynamics, building partnerships, management and coordination of various activities.

Steering Committee

Adriana PereiraYouAct Coordinator
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Members

Camila Ochoa Mendoza
Camila Ochoa MendozaCountry: Spain, currently living in the Netherlands
I have always been involved in community service work, especially regarding children rights, and this is the first time I ́ll be working specifically in SRHR. I am currently part of the board of UCWorld, a small NGO that aims to raise awareness about social development issues around the world, and to create opportunities of volunteer work for students in Utrecht. While living in Beijing, I was working as a teacher and mentor in BaiNian, a vocational school for teenagers in disadvantaged situations. We had a few classes on sexual health, and I became very interested on the subject. After I moved to Holland, I started looking for ways that I could become more involved in advocating for SRHR, which lead me to YouAct!

I strongly believe in everyone’s right of choice, especially in regards to sexuality. With this comes the importance of education, and raising awareness about current issues on gender and sexuality around the world, and the ways to overcome them. Another important aspect of these rights is respect and encouragement of cultural exchange and understanding. I am extremely excited to become a part of YouAct, and to be able to contribute in the work that they do.

Charoula Matthaiou
Charoula MatthaiouCountry: Cyprus
I am an active volunteer of Cyprus Family Planning Association (CFPA) since October 2011, time when I returned back to Cyprus from my postgraduate studies in the UK. Back then I was seeking for new experiences, and volunteering for CFPA seemed to be a good idea. It wasn’t ‘love at first sight’ though. It took me a couple of weeks to realize the scope of the association’s work and how important it is, especially for young people. As a volunteer I participate in the implementation of European and research projects on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and also in awareness-raising campaigns. Between January 2013-January 2015, I was the national project coordinator of the Daphne III «Keep me Safe» project: Empowering Young People with Learning Disabilities (YPWLD) to protect themselves against sexual abuse and violence across Europe, which was coordinated by the European Network of International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Becoming a member of a European network working on SRHR at an advocacy level such as YouAct, felt like a natural sequence in my SRHR journey. While, a YouAct member gains important knowledge and new skills, at the same time every member’s experience, knowledge and time contribute to create something with a higher impact that extents the country levels and reaches European and international levels. What really amazes me in the SRHR world is that the work we do has so much to do with the human existence and what we fight for is nothing more and nothing less than for everyone to be able to exercise their rights. By being part of YouAct, a team of passionate young people, you know that the time you offer, not only has a positive impact to you, but can also impacts young people all over Europe.

Anna Johanson Dahl
Anna Johanson DahlCountry: Sweden
I’ve been working within the field of SRHR for four years now. From the beginning I have been driven by the thought of every ones right to their own sexuality. That means every ones right to comprehensive knowledge about SRHR and the right to live how they want with who they want to love. Sexuality should be based on the freedom to choose and to live, with responsibility to respect and listen to yourself and others.

My engagement started within the Swedish member organization of IPPF RFSU (the association for sexual education). At RFSU I’ve been working at a regional and national level focusing on SRHR for everyone in every county, the right to abortion and international SRHR. Right now my engagement in RFSU is a network of youths working with advocate within the field of SRHR on a national level.

My motivation of becoming a YouAct member started out when I became engaged within international politics and recognized the need of youth voices to be heard in the debates around SRHR within Europe and all over the globe. I saw YouAct as the one organization really making a difference in these questions and the factor that it’s an organization all youth lead made my choice to get involved easy.

For the last half year I’ve been a member of YouAct and the organization have given me more experience and fun than I could ask for. The responsibility and respect we members give each other is making our and other youth voices heard in places where we are needed.

Ivy Miltiadou
Ivy MiltiadouCountry: Cyprus
I started to work in the SRHR field since the age of 15, with the Cyprus Family Planning Association, right after taking a training on how to train peers on HIV/AIDS, within school. My work experience since then has evolved and developed from national level to regional and international throughout my YSAFE membership and by gaining the position of the YSAFE Coordinator for 1,5 years.

I first heard about YouAct, back in Cyprus from fellow SRHR volunteers, who are either members or worked with the organisation (Charoula, Despina). Then by taking over YSAFE coordination I learnt more about YouAct, by assisting to the input provision for the European Advocacy Handbook, attending the EP hearing on CSE and co-writing an article for Entres-Nous magazine with then YouAct coordinator: Grace Wilentz. As my membership with YSAFE came to an end when I became 25, I did not want to stop working in the SRHR field, because of my age. Therefore, when the membership call was out, I went for it!

Cristina Moreno
Cristina MorenoCountry: Spain
I have been active in health activism and advocacy for global health and HIV/AIDS health and rights in the United Kingdom since 2012, when I became a member of Student StopAIDS Campaign whilst studying a degree in biomedical sciences (and specialized in infectious diseases) at the University of Edinburgh. Since then, I have often collaborated with international NGOs such as Restless Development, STOP AIDS or MSF Access in campaigning and lobbying for global access to health care and medicines for infectious diseases. I am currently studying a Masters degree in medical anthropology and global health to continue a career in research and education in health.

While discovering the intricacies of lobbying and advocacy for health, I found myself in the need to seek for a more domestic contribution to the cause within my community in Scotland. That was when I came across Shafted Theatrical Dissidents, discovering the potentials of grassroots activism, and community empowerment. By collaborating in this project creating and organizing a cabaret performance show to raise awareness of the realities encountered by people living with HIV in Scotland, I explored further the powers of using humor, dance, the spoken word, and theater as tools for tackling stigma, and giving people in marginalized contexts a chance to bring their issues forward.

I have received the opportunity of becoming a new member of YouAct with excitement. My previous experience in SRHR advocacy mostly focused on sexual health, however I strongly believe there cannot be progress in public health without procuring people with the rights to health, to choose, or to be educated. I see working with YouAct as an excellent opportunity to build up on my knowledge on human rights, to work with other pro-active young people with comparable interests, and to contribute with my knowledge and cooperation towards SRHR in Europe. On the other side, I will also take this as a chance to promote youth-led participation in my close communities, both in Barcelona, where I will be based, and Scotland, where I have lived most of my youth, to enable them to be heard and represented. I consider myself as part of an ever-growing youth committed to bringing social change. Through working on advocacy towards SRHR I will continue to co-operate to improve our own future.

Cecilie Morville
Cecilie MorvilleCountry: Denmark
I started working on SRHR already in high school as a sexuality teacher. When I started studying anthropology, I became the ambassador for a maternal health campaign; Sign of Life, in Uganda and did volunteer work with the Danish Family Planning Association. It was here my interest for working on women’s health issues started. After my bachelor, I moved to Brussels to be the coordinator for YSAFE, a youth network that is partnering with YouAct in international fora. In this capacity, I participated in several UN and EU meetings advocating for youth SRHR. It was especially my experiences at ICPD+20 and CPD47 where my interest for SRHR advocacy started.

My interest in advocacy lead me to YouAct. I had through YSAFE had the pleasure of working with YouAct members before, so it seemed very natural for me to continue my youth SRHR work with them.

Being part of YouAct gives you the empowerment to keep working on SRHR issues. Even though I am a rather new member, I have already had the chance to engage in different projects and working with diferent people and issues. I like how YouAct can offer it’s members both long-term in depth projects as well as here-and-now advocacy possibilities – for example when we have to mobilize our members to engage with their MEPs, when they are voting on SRHR issues.

Gosia Kot
Gosia KotCountry: Poland
I’m Gosia (26) from Poland. I’ve been an an activist for sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people, especially comprehensive sexuality education for 5 years. I’ve gained a ground experience through work in Ponton Group of Sex Educators, youth organization advocating forCSE in Poland. I’ve been responsible for counselling for young people, organization of street events and coordination of various projects, e.g. regarding youth access to sexual and reproductive health services and counteracting sexual violence among adolescents. I’ve graduated from sociology and continue studies in social sciences on PhD level. My areas of scientific interest are queer sociology, nonheteronormative identities and relationships, queer motherhood.
I’ve joined YouAct because I believe that intensified actions for youth SRHR are necessary and YouAct is for me the example of an organization successfully advocating for youth rights. The energy of YouAct members, their experience and tireless continuous work for young people mobilizes me and enables to improve my expertise.
Luciana Grosu
Luciana GrosuCountry: Romania
I am a psychologist and journalist passionate about women rights. Over the years, I have engaged in volunteering with several national and international nonprofit organizations , developing my skills in the fields of Reporting, Psychological Counseling, Training and Intercultural Dialogue. I am an innovator at heart with many ideas for combating violence against women and girls.

I joined YouAct because I am a strong supporter of gender equality and I wanted to gain advocacy skills in order to be able to better promote women S&RH rights. Being part of YouAct is a rewarding experience on multiple levels because I get the chance to speak, write, act, react, learn and teach, and most importantly, because it gives me the needed legitimacy to speak in favor of justice, gender equality and women empowerment.

Martin Karadzhov
Martin KaradzhovCountry: UK/Bulgaria
I have started working in the field of SRHR when I was 14. I was facilitating workshops at my school, then I got more involved by participating on national and international trainings. I worked as youth coordinator of local NGO for three years. During that time I had the chance to work with different groups such as juvenile offenders, minorities andyouth from shelters on topics related to SRHR.

I had always been impressed of the high level of expertise and motivation of the volunteers in YouAct before I joined the network. I joined YouAct because I wanted to develop my advocacy skills and work alongside with people who share my interests. YouAct gives me opportunities to be part of European and international campaigns, meet decision makers and collaborate with different organisations. As a member of YouAct I have the chance to bring changes on topics I feel very passionate about and constantly develop my skills and learn from our work.

Anna Postovoitova
Anna PostovoitovaCountry: Ukraine
Once I asked myself “When did I learn about sex?” and I could not find an exact answer. I could not clearly remember who told me about STIs and HIV prevention methods, how to use a condom, shared real information about sexual health. To be honest, even my parents were closed to those topics. For sure, I would not even expect to receive this information from my school teachers in a small Eastern Ukrainian city where I was born.
My motivation is to make a visible improvement in promoting sexual and reproductive health among teenagers and young people, to break stereotypes and start talk about sexual health. That is why I joined team of Union of Adolescents and Youth ”Teenergizer” in Ukraine.
I am very excited about possibility to join YouAct and to cooperate with passionate young professionals from all over Europe. Working together would help to exchange the best practices of advocating for SRH as human rights. The name of this network is YouAct. For me, it means taking responsibility for reality you are living in and use a chance to make a positive impact through action.
Membership at YouAct I consider as an opportunity to participate in development of common strategy on youth advocating for SRH across Europe. Some countries are much ahead. However, only in joint effort we can reach a common goal.
Yana Panfilova
Yana PanfilovaCountry: Ukraine
My name is Yana, I am 18 and I am from Ukraine.I represent the “Eurasian Union of adolescents and youth “Teenergizer””. I started working on this topic because of lack of information about reproductive and sexual health in Ukraine.
Even though I am only 18 years old, I want to bring real results to the improvement of the quality of life of teenagers, touched by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Eastern European and Central Asian Region. By joining YouAct, I think it is a good opportunity for me to get new information, that can be useful in work at home and in my region. Also, I can share my experience with the rest of the members of YouAct.
Rhodé Janssen
Rhodé JanssenCountry: The Netherlands
Ever since pastor Gideon Byamugisha gave a lecture at my university on his personal journey with HIV and AIDS in 2012, I have been intrigued with the entanglement between the public and religious sphere in relation to SRHR. It was fascinating to see how he was able to discuss sex and sexual health, including condom use, from his religious perspective. This motivated me to become active in the field of HIV and SRHR.
In March 2014 I have been involved with the European Dialogue, organised by YouAct and CHOICE, and got to share my SRHR story in the European Parliament, focussing on the differences in SRHR dialogues that religious and secular organisations have and emphasised the need for Comprehensive Sexual Education.
Next steps included capacity building at a local NGO based in South Africa. Here I updated their comprehensive HIV and AIDS training manual and worked on the ‘Thursdays in Black’ campaign, a programme raising awareness and advocating against Gender Based Violence. Whilst working in sub-Saharan Africa I noticed that a rights-based approach is not always sufficient within this context, and local norms and values, including religion, should be addressed too.
The main reason for becoming a member of YouAct is that I want to formalise my commitment to SRHR advocacy, and would like to be the link between the public and religious spheres. Furthermore, during my work in South Africa, I’ve gained extensive experience on Gender Based Violence, HIV and AIDS, and SRHR and would love to share this knowledge and skills with other YouAct members. Finally, I want to give youth a voice in decision-making. Especially regarding decisions that influence their lives, e.g. access to sexual and reproductive health facilities, adequate sexual education and information sharing. As I personally experienced the constraints of being insufficiently informed, I want to help inform others.
Peter Mladenov
Peter MladenovCountry: Bulgaria
Mr. Mladenov has more than 6 years of extensively experience in public health, HIV prevention, youth policy, sexual and reproductive health and rights in more than 35 countries in the world. He has been working for 3 years at the National Center of Public Health and Analysis of Bulgaria where he was involvement in project implementation in the field of public health with focus on CSE in 20 countries from the region of Europe and Central Asia. In addition, he was involved in conducting various researches and reports on the above mentioned topics. He also served as consultant to UNAIDS, UNFPA, European Commission, Ministry of Social Justice (Bulgaria) in field of CSE, SRHR and HIV Prevention. He undertook various international and regional consultancies tasks related to review and analysis to documents and existing recourses on CSE. Mr. Mladenov is a certified trainer on Advocacy and Policy Dialogue and he undertook more than 20 trainings regionally and globally mainly focusing on access to CSE. He served as member of the National Delegation of Bulgaria to the UN for 2 years during which he was mainly involved in meetings on ensuring policies for access to CSE (CPD, CSW, CsocD, GA). He was also extensively involved in the Post-2015 Development Process in the past few years. He was a panelist at various international forums and conferences where he was focusing on topics related to CSE and young people. He is a civil servant at the Ministry of Youth where he holds a portfolio on international youth policies and Health and well-being of young people. He was project leader of several projects on ensuring access to CSE. Mr. Mladenov was serving as an international coordinator of a youth-led CSO for three years where he was working on CSE, HIV prevention and SRHR. He was also involved in the global CSE technical expert meeting in 2015 in Washington, DC and now he is identified as a key expert in the development of the global CSE hub. He is a co-author of two articles on CSE published by the “Entre Nous” WHO, UNFPA’s magazine. Last but not the least he was identified as a youth leader in Eastern Europe and Central Asia for CSE by UNADIS in 2014.
My first involvement with YouAct was in 2008 when I have took part in an advocacy training. In fact that was one of the reasons why I have decided to continue my professional involvement within the advocacy and policy world. In addition I see YouAct as an unique platform where I can continue working for SRHR promotion of young people. On another hand my involvement was mainly focused in the regions of Eastern Europe, Arab States and the Asia-Pacific so YouAct would build on my capacity by giving me access to work within the entire Europe.
Liam Sutcliffe
Liam SutcliffeCountry: UK (Scotland)
During my undergraduate medical studies, I have had the opportunity to experience the field of sexual and reproductive health through placements in local sexual and reproductive health centres. I have seen the ill effects of poor access to sexual and reproductive health education, and have seen the need for greater knowledge amongst young people in the area, and greater awareness of the rights they have. I have also seen how marginalised groups, such as men who have sex with men, often have a lower awareness of their rights and struggle to access services, generally having poorer health outcomes as a result. To improve health, promotion of rights and education is essential.
I believe that in order to improve peoples’ sexual health and wellbeing, knowledge of rights and education is essential. As a result, I want to be part of an organisation which works to improve rights and education for young people. Furthermore, I believe greater change is able to be enacted when people come together from many different backgrounds with the same ideals and ambitions. Because of YouAct’s Europe-wide reach, it is an attractive organisation to be a part of in order to influence change.
Laura Cooper Hall
Laura Cooper HallCountry: UK
I have always been interested in gender issues, but my “passion” really surfaced when I was working on a GBV project in Myanmar through the organization Population Services International (PSI). Since working in Myanmar I am now working on my masters degree in public policy and during my first year was also working as a Junior Programme Coordinator at dance4life, an organization working on educating youth on SRHR. Youth are often ignored within the policy setting, especially globally, and considering the intergenerational reality it is extremely important that they are included in major decision making bodies and feel like their voice does matter. Because it does!
While working with PSI and dance4life I realized how important SRHR issues are. Ensuring equality, safety and security is extremely connected to SRHR, a fact that is often overlooked or ignored within development and humanitarian contexts. Recognizing that involving youth and encouraging them to realize their opinions are valued is extremely important for the benefit of the global community. YouAct recognizes this and encourages youth involvement in a productive way, in a way that I would be proud of contributing to. I heard about YouAct when I was part of a workshop on SRHR in Humanitarian contexts, and was impressed. I want to be part of such a professional youth organization.
Hannah Beth Kunzlik
Hannah Beth KunzlikCountry: UK (Scotland)
A childhood passion for battling injustice and protecting human rights led me into the field of politics and NGOs. My 2015 internship with EuroNGOs – the European NGOs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development – provided a whirlwind introduction to many of the issues faced by women and minority groups globally, and how SRHR issues intersect with countless other human rights issues – from women’s rights to refugee crises, climate change to disability rights, educational equity to income inequality. From January to June 2016, I held the Lantos-Humanity in Action Congressional Fellowship working for Congressman Mike Honda. One of the priority policy areas in my portfolio was reproductive justice, and involved combating the regressive and dangerous anti-choice initiatives have been taking root across the US under the guise of protecting women’s health or religious freedom.
Without meaningful youth participation, any political agreement or law that affects young people will be fundamentally flawed – yet, youth are often overlooked and undermined in political processes. As a lifelong activist, I have experienced firsthand the difficulties faced by young people trying to play an active role in adult-centric organisations and campaigns. As a youth-based organisation, YouAct exists to promote youth interests, build the capacity of young people, and create opportunities for participation that may otherwise be difficult to access. Who wouldn’t want to be involved? I hope to contribute to the network as much as I gain, particularly through my background in writing and communication.
Gersi Gashi
Gersi GashiCountry: Kosovo
The main influence that has motivated me to work for advancing youth SRHR is hearing the stories from young women themselves as to how they used to dream their world would be and how it all changed in the matter of seconds. Hearing these stories made me open up my mind for SRHR and focus more on how to advocate on advancing these agendas. It suddenly became unimaginable as to what the authorities see as bad in SRHR, and why we do not get Sexual Education Classes in our early development stages.
My main academic, and work developments were to engage in advocating for more evidence-based policymaking. Thus, those stories made me use this background to contribute more to the SRHR agenda.
My main motivation to become a YouAct member is because I think this community’s goal is perfectly aligned with my goal – which is to steer forward sexual reproductive and health rights. I want to be part of a community in which together we create a strategy, agenda, and clear goals which will help us mobilize the community towards advancing sexual reproductive and health rights. I think I can bring to the community experience, and context analysis for my country and help them help me to help our country. As you can see I emphasize that helping each other is the ultimate way of reaching our goals, and I think this community offers exactly that.
Gabriel Brumariu
Gabriel BrumariuCountry: Romania
I have started 3 years ago as a volunteer at The Society for Education on Contraception and Sexuality- SECS. In Romania we don’t have a class in schools that teaches sexuality education and on the other part we have the biggest rates of teenage pregnancies in EU (between other bad statistics relating STI’s and HIV). From that point I realised the need (also after hearing so many misinterpretations and myths) and started getting involved in facilitating hours of sexuality education in schools, working on various projects and now i am the volunteer’s coordinator and youth activities at SECS.
On one hand, i want to get more involved in a international frame and on the other hand i think that exchanging “know how” from an area to another and coalising, helps building the background SRHR needs in so many countries around Europe and not only.
Through YouAct, we have a great opportunity to do so and it’s a wonderful place to grow up youth implication.
Emma Dooney
Emma DooneyCountry: Ireland
I discovered my passion for this cause when I started my studies in Trinity College. I was elected as DU Amnesty’s My Body My Rights campaign coordinator from 2014-2016. This job entailed running meetings for new Amnesty members, facilitating discussion and organizing events to support the campaign. We mainly focused on the Repeal the Eighth campaign, hosting a wide range of events, including panel discussions about the dangerous implications of the Eighth Amendment, abortion testimonies, petition signings and campus demonstrations. I was also awarded Amnesty Ireland’s Student Activist of the Year 2016 for my campaign work.
Through working on the issue of sexual and reproductive rights for the past few years, I have realized how passionate I am about this cause. Ireland’s abortion law is not only restrictive – it is completely inhumane, and I am committed to trying to repeal it. I wish to empower other young people to stand up for these issues and to recognise bodily autonomy as a human right, not a privilege.
Eimear Annalivia Sparks
Eimear Annalivia SparksCountry: Ireland
Growing up in Ireland has had a huge influence on my decision to become involved in SRHR. Having gone to an all-girl Catholic school, the vestiges of the repressed sexuality produced by the Church’s stranglehold on the education system, was very much evident in my sexual education. When I went to university and started taking modules in gender and sexuality, I saw how lacking my sexual education had been and realised this was mirrored in their experience of many of my peers. Many Irish people do not know the most basic facts about SRHR, a negligence which has the potential to put them at risk. Thus I was influenced to attempt to change such a situation. I have been involved in various aspects of the pro-choice movement in Ireland. I have directed and produced a video for the pro-choice campaign at my university, I have appeared on TV to speak about the issue and I have attended meetings about the campaign and volunteered at street stalls. I also recently organised a spoken word event about the theme of choice as a fundraiser for the abortion rights campaign.
I admire the mission of YouAct and believe that becoming a member with the organisation would allow me to more effectively apply my passion for SRHR. I am involved in abortion rights and LGBTQI rights campaigning and I think that membership would help to equip me with the skills needed to make a more lasting change in these areas, which is something that I am very passionate about.
Hannah Pearson
Hannah PearsonCountry: UK
I’ve been working within the field of SRHR for five years now. From interning at Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) in the Netherlands in 2011, to my current role as Policy Coordinator at the Equality Network, an LGBTI human rights organisation in Edinburgh UK, SRHR has always been my passion and a significant part of my work. I hold an MSc in Equality and Human Rights from the University of Glasgow, where I conducted my postgraduate research into barriers to abortion access in Scotland, in collaboration with Amnesty Scotland and Amnesty International’s My Body My Rights campaign. I was subsequently asked to be a member of the Abortion Rights Scotland Committee, and accepted to present my research at the Abortion and Reproductive Justice- The Unfinished Revolution international conference earlier this year.

I wish to become a YouAct member to first and foremost work for the advancement of sexual and reproductive rights, and (hopefully) make a positive contribution in this field. My passion lies in sexual and reproductive rights, particularly access to safe and legal abortion, and this is what I want to spend my life working for. I believe becoming a YouAct member would be the ideal next step, and I would value the learning and development opportunities membership would provide me with, particularly the opportunity to further my experience of European advocacy work, as this is ultimately the area in which I aim to work. Additionally, I would enjoy connecting with fellow activists around Europe and the world, making new friends and allies, and sharing information and knowledge to learn more about sexual and reproductive rights on a European and global level. Furthermore, given the current barriers to abortion in the country, I wish to raise the global profile of Scotland in relation to sexual and reproductive rights, and I believe YouAct could give me the platform to do this.

Ana Mosiashvili
Ana MosiashviliCountry: Georgia
In 2012 I completed the peer educator training program about Gender issues and SRHR. The 5-days TOT-course was organized by (GYDEA) with support of UNFPA CO. After TOT, we had to conduct training in our municipalities by ourselves with help of an experienced trainer. It was my very first experience as a trainer and youth peer to conduct two-days training and also very first working experience in this field. After that, In cooperation with active young people from my municipality I founded youth NGO – Center for Youth Development – XXI which currently plays one of the key role in my region with providing accessable information around SRHR using non-formal education activities. Furthermore, organization undertakes advocacy campaigns and is involved in the making of policy documents and strategies regarding Georgian youth. I’m member of UNFPA Youth Advisory Panel and I was involved in EECA regional project “Youth Voice”. Also, I did fellowship at Y-PEER PETRI-Sofia for 3 months.

Since I have been working in the field of youth SRHR for past five years, my experience and attitudes to work gives me motivation to become a member of international organization, which will be next successful step and new opportunities to wide my work. I love sharing and I really enjoy when I can share my knowledge, experience, ideas and resources. I think being member of YouAct will be great opportunity to share ideas and put my contribution on international level and also share gained information and experience among my peers in my community as well.

Yana Mladenova
Yana MladenovaCountry: Bulgaria
Nevertheless I was always aiming to develop myself in the area of youth work and human rights, my first direct involvement with SRHR was when I started working as a project coordinator in a bulgarian NGO called SMART Foundation last year. I was introduced to their ongoing work on the project “ACT!2015” – a unique youth-led accountability initiative supported by the UNAIDS aimed at empowering young people to advocate towards the effective implementation of CSE – path that led me to participate in the Global Youth Summit – ACT!2015 this year in New Delhi – India where we have set our goals for advocacy in local level for the effective implementation of CSE in Bulgarian schools.

In the context of the bulgarian educational system and the economic and political reality I’m living in, I feel that the importance of education (including CSE) has become even greater. In that connection I believe that every young person should have the opportunity to have his voice heard and taken into account in the decision-making process. For me, being a member of a global network like YouAct, will give me the opportunity to share experience, ideas and to learn a lot from active young people around the world, so I could have the capacity to be an active advocate for youth rights in my own country.

Anamaria Suciu
Anamaria SuciuCountry: Belgium/Romania
My interest in how societies work started during my studies (Sociology), but it was really my master degree in Politics, Gender and Minorities that changed my perspective and inspired me to become a feminist and to work for achieving gender equality in all areas of life (public and private; regarding health, education, work, political participation and representation etc.). During this master degree I had the opportunity to volunteer for SECS – Society for Education on Contraception and Sexuality and to understand more about sexuality education and SRHR. I was really enjoying the work I was doing and I got involved more and more, both at national level and at regional level by joining YSAFE.

I am volunteering and working in the area of SRHR for 3 years now and I feel I have acquired a lot knowledge, skills and experience that would be a pity to go to waste. My internship in IPPF as YSAFE Coordinator is finishing this August, but I am motivated to stay active in the field of SRHR.

Alumni

Fatma Hacioglu
Fatma HaciogluCountry: Turkey
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.

Ruth Ennis
Ruth EnnisCountry: Germany/ Ireland
Working in the field of SRHR has become something of a second skin, given my active engagement over what is now almost a decade. I first became a member of YouAct in 2006 and have now been a member for so long that I feel like the Old Age Pensioner of the young people of Europe. The passion, intelligence and expertise of YouAct members motivates me every day to keep up the fight for full recognisement and fulfillment of Sexual Rights.
Johanna Selander
Johanna SelanderCountry: Sweden
I started studying Human Rights in 2011 and shortly I realized that SRHR interested me most. In 2013 I took a course in gender studies and decided to become an active member of RFSU (the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education). Since then I have been a group leader of activity groups within the association, I did my internship at RFSU and was active in RFSU Gothenburg’s network working with HIV and AIDS prevention as well as in the abortion rights network of RFSU. I am a certified informant in the field of sexual education and in 2014 I was responsible for the coordination of informants in the field of sexual education in RFSU Malmö.

One of the reasons why I want to become a YouAct member is that I think that I can learn about and gain experience in SRHR. I have a genuine interest in working with SRHR and always want to broaden my knowledge. I also find it motivating that I will be able to meet and share experiences with other young people from different countries.

Sanda-Daniela Alexeiciuc
Sanda-Daniela AlexeiciucCountry: Moldova/Russia
I have always believed in SRHR and cultural-intellectual interchange. My strong desire to promote developing influence of human rights in the post-Soviet countries stimulated my interest to participate at a ToT at national level organized by UNFPA, later I start being active and work in different SRHR organizations. Working as a volunteer, staff member, activist, trainer and expert with the non-governmental organizations all over the world in SRHR from Kenya and Britain to Sweden and Czech Republic, I tried to develop an ability to think globally and to operate locally in a successful way. High quality of the intellectual environment in You-Act with emphasis on creative approach and social participation, improved my growth as the defender of human rights and promoted enrichment of my scientific potential. This was also a unique possibility to come into important contacts with civil activists from the different countries.

My special anxiety is concerning gender discrimination, LGBTQ rights, violence and is caused with that as the practical worker I observed intended distortions of a HR problematic both in authorities, non-governmental sector and in mass media. That motivated me to become You-ACT member. Being part of You-Act young people I have gained new and developed existing skills in advocacy and SRHR cause all these serious and painful problems should be professionally discussed not only by politicians, but also by youth, and also within the non-formal environment. With You-Act help I attended a number of trainings, conferences, meetings focusing on SRHR and HIV&AIDS. I started exploring SRHR within my local community but as well international community as well supported young people to explore SRHR.

Only having united our efforts on the basis of respectable cooperation, we can find decisions for these problems and prevent SRHR.

Anush Hayrapetyan
Anush HayrapetyanCountry: Armenia
I started working in the SRHR field while getting involved with YouAct in October, 2011. I had just graduated the University with a Master’s degree in Public International Law and Human Rights and was eager to learn more about gender equality issues. While getting involved with YouAct I learned more than I expected. YouAct has been a great platform for learning about and engaging into action not only for gender equality issues, but also comprehensive sexuality education and informed decision-making, youthfriendly services and many other issues of the field which are so vital for the well-being of each person.
 Agata Loewe
Agata LoeweCountry: Poland
1.How and when did you s tart working in the SRHR field? What’s your(work) experience?
I have been working in SRHR field for last 7 years . started at Campaign Against Homophobia, later with Trans -fuzja, Ponton sex educators and IGLYO, You Act and now both in Campaign Against Homophobia and my own Sex Positive Institute. I work in help (psychologist,sexologist) , educator (workshops on GSD- gender and sexual diversities and activist for sexposotve/critical movements .

2.What was the most important opportunity you had as YouAct member?
In YouAct i was responsible for news digest, it kept me up to date with all the news and groups working in this field.

3.How did YouAct membership influenced who you are / what you do today?
I continue this work, I train professionals , educate peer groups , I am also covering media sex education to mainstream.

Margarita Kapsou
Margarita KapsouCountry: Cyprus
I started working in SRHR as a volunteer, then Program Officer with the Cyprus Family Planning Association, which is also how I found out about YouAct. An important experience for me was the Study Session during which a group of 28 young people from different parts of Europe worked together to draft the European Youth Charter on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights . Several years on, I am still interested and attracted to anything that has to do with SRHR, especially if it involves Youth. Last year I organized a very successful Summer School on Sexual Rights for students and young graduates in the university where I work!
Adam Ovist
Adam OvistCountry: Denmark
I first heard of YouAct when volunteering for Sex&Samfund (Danish member of IPPF). I became a YouAct’er soon after, during our actions and HIV- campaign at the 2005 Catholic World Youth day in Köln. Lessons learned through years of YouAct’ing continue to prove valuable in how I engage myself with organizing and collectives today, and in insisting on the significance of transparent decision-making.
Gvantsa Khizanishvili
Gvantsa KhizanishviliCountry: Georgia
I started out as a volunteer/peer educator for local youth camps when I was a medical student. After graduating from Tbilisi State Medical University with degree in medicine, I started working with Planned Parenthood organization in Georgia. This experience let me expand my work to community and national level SRHR work. My work/volunteer experiences have strongly impressed me and showed the need for reproductive health and rights awareness and advocacy, both at home and abroad. This is when in 2007 I became a member of YouAct – The European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights . As a member of YouAct I was able to attend trainings, several conferences and meetings , where I truly enjoyed learning, strengthening my skills , and sharing my country experiences with others . To explore further into this field from a global pers pective I got awarded the Edmund S. Mus kie Graduate Fellows hip that allowed me to purs ue Mas ter’s in Public Health at the Univers ity of Mis s ouri-Columbia. I chose to specialize in global health, promotion and policy.

During the time with YouAct, I had the opportunity to facilitated several trainings on human rights, youth sexual and reproductive health and rights , youth participation etc. I learned a lot about working with the youth led organization by given the opportunity to served as a member of steering committee, fundraising officer and communications task force member. I has been involved in various national and international events as a participant and presenter.

Today, having worked in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights for 7 years , looking back I realize that YouAct membership influenced me strongly, allowing me to grow professionally and personally. At YouAct, I had excellent mentors , who taught me how to share my experiences with others . I developed leadership skills needed to effectively advocate for sexual and reproductive rights and influence global processes .

Magdalena Pochec
Magdalena PochecCountry: Poland
My involvement in the field of SRHR started in 2007 at the Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning, which advocates for the liberalization of the restrictive anti-abortion law in Poland. At the Federation I was responsible for compiling alternative report on the implementation of CEDAW and then I became a coordinator of Astra Youth, a network of young people from Central and Eastern Europe. For over five years I have worked for KARAT Coalition (www.karat.org) as a Programme Officer of its Women’s Human Rights initiative. Currently I work at the Stefan Batory Foundation, where I coordinate the grant-making process in the field of combating discrimination. Being a part of YouAct (a member and then a vice-chair) had a huge formative influence on me. It introduced me to advocacy at the UN level (e.g. UN High Level Meeting on the Rights of the Child) and provided me the opportunity to participate in a dialogue with decision-makers , which was a very empowering and energizing experience. I remember YouAct as a group of amazing, inspiring and professional young people who are determined to make a positive change. Thank you YouAct!
Rada Elenkova
Rada ElenkovaCountry: Bulgaria
1.How and when did you s tart working in the SRHR field? What’s your(work) experience?
My active involvement in the SRHR sphere began with my membership in You Act. Beforehand, I was manly dealing with gender-based violence topics . That happened in 2009 when I applied for a volunteer. Since then, I am a keen activist pushing for the realization of women and young people’s SRHR. My work experience includes , among other, implementing youth campaigns for HIV prevention, safe sex and healthy relationships. Lobbying on national and international levels for women’s right to abortion and eradication of violence against laboring women.

2. What was the most important opportunity you had as YouAct member?
I consider my participation in You Act as a very important experience. As a member I had the chance to meet wonderful and likeminded young people who expanded my viewpoints in life. I admired the determination of our members and learned how to take an active s tand s o that young people’s voices are heard. The collaboration with other members gave me discipline and patience in our mutual work. I expanded my knowledge on different cultures and social backgrounds . A very exciting part was when I had the chance to participate in key international meetings like Women Deliver, CSW 2010, and World Youth Catholic Day 2011.

3. How did YouAct members hip influenced who you are / what you do today?
I keep very warm memories which I believe have made me a better and ultra-tolerant person. It was a very happy and fulfilling period that had its role in my decision on career development. I acquired essential s kills in advocacy, lobbying and campaigning and met very committed and inspiring young people.

Joana Almeida
Joana AlmeidaCountry: Portugal
1.How and when did you s tart working in the SRHR field? What’s your(work) experience?
My work in SRHR started early with my parents doing sex education in schools and me being embarassed with them. At 24 years I started meeting more people involved in pro-abortion movements in Portugal, in family planning and LGBT community. That is how I came to the SRHR wonderful field.

2.What was the most important opportunity you had as YouAct member?
Cannot say. They were so many wonderful opportunities and amazing moments . I can say this : I had knowledge, people and skills that I will never forget.

3.How did YouAct membership influenced who you are / what you do today?
In many ways – I learned how SRHR can be so different in different cultures (and similar!); I made friends that still make me happy and privileged to have in my relations ; I developed skills in advocacy, therapy, team work that would not be developed this way without YouAct.