Meet Our Members

YouAct is currently made up of young people between 18-29 years old from across the Council of Europe member states.

Current membership includes young people from Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Georgia, Italy, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

The Network’s Coordinator is Isma Benboulerbah from France.

Coordinator

Isma Benboulerbah
Isma BenboulerbahYouAct Coordinator
Country: France/Belgium
Pronouns: she/her/they

Isma 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. Isma is currently working as programmes officer at the End FGM European Network, where she also coordinates community development and youth programmes to end violence against women and girls. Previously, Isma worked in on the project “Building bridges between Europe and Africa to end FGM” and was also elected board member and acted as Secretary General of the French network against FGM Excision Parlons-en! Isma also collaborated with the World Health Organisation for a research on youth and adolescent sexual health in West Africa. After several years of professional experience in France, West Africa and with women from the Arab-Muslim diaspora and FGM-affected communities in Europe, Isma has built up important knowledge on sexual and reproductive rights, gender-based violence, harmful traditional practices around the bodies of girls and women, and particularly on female genital mutilation.

Former Coordinators

Adriana Pereira
Adriana Pereira2020-2018 YouAct Coordinator
Country: Portugal/Belgium
Pronouns: she/her/they

In 2010 Adriana started volunteering as a peer-educator in a youth-driven NGO promoting sexual health on a social, emotional and physical level, eventually becoming a board member in 2014. During her master’s in Public Health, she did an internship and consultancy at the European Regional Office of WHO, developing the men’s health report and researching on men’s SRH. Adriana was YouAct’s Coordinator from 2018 to 2020 and serves as a member of the Expert Group of the Contraception Atlas. Adriana also serves as the youngest addition to the Board of the European Consortium for Emergency Contraception since May 2019.

Ana Rizescu
Ana Rizescu2018-2016 YouAct Coordinator
Country: Romania

Ana was involved in the youth NGO field sector started when she was 15 years old and became a volunteer of Youth for Youth, working on issues related to youth health and rights, in particular sexual and reproductive health and rights. Since then, she has collaborated with partners from Europe, Central Asia, Arab States and Asia Pacific to organise various capacity building events, conferences and advocacy initiatives. She started getting to know YouAct in 2010 and since then she has been involved in several youth SRHR coalitions with YouAct. Few years later, in the autumn of 2014, she became the network coordinator.

Steering Committee

Sophie Beria
Sophie BeriaChair
Country: Georgia
Pronouns: she/her/they/them

Sophie is a human rights activist, and has experience advocating for Comprehensive Sexuality Education on both local, and EU levels. She is an educator, and the co-creator of the first-ever sexuality education website in Georgia, called “All about You”. In 2019 Sophie became the Generation Equality Forum Civil Society Advisory Group member, representing the European Region. Her work is currently focused on mainstreaming SRHR and gender equality in marginalized communities on a grassroots level. Her most recent projects centre around advocating for comprehensive sexuality education, combating abortion stigma, and empowering young refugees, asylum seekers, and IDPs in Georgia.

Panayiotis Elia
Panayiotis EliaTreasurer
Country: Cyprus/the Netherlands
Pronouns: he/him

Panayiotis is doing a second master’s in Law, focus on Labour Law and Employment Relations in Tilburg University. He has previously worked as a teaching and research assistant in Alexander College Cyprus and since 2017 he has been a member of the Cyprus Bar Association. He has been involved in SRHR, contributing as an advocate, researcher and non-formal education trainer at the Cyprus Family Planning Association. He is primarily engaged with activities related to children’s rights with focus on CSE in both European and national level as well as in the field of sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

Adriana Pereira
Adriana PereiraResources Mobilisation Officer
Country: Portugal/Belgium
Pronouns: she/her/they

In 2010 Adriana started volunteering as a peer-educator in a youth-driven NGO promoting sexual health on a social, emotional and physical level, eventually becoming a board member in 2014. During her master’s in Public Health, she did an internship and consultancy at the European Regional Office of WHO, developing the men’s health report and researching on men’s SRH. Adriana was YouAct’s Coordinator from 2018 to 2020 and serves as a member of the Expert Group of the Contraception Atlas. Adriana also serves as the youngest addition to the Board of the European Consortium for Emergency Contraception since May 2019.

Beatriz Octaviano Inhauser Rótoli
Beatriz Octaviano Inhauser RótoliInternal Communications Officer
Country: Brazil/Italy
Pronouns: she/her

Beatriz has been involved for several years with the promotion of information on children and women’s rights at a community level in Brazil. Thanks to her work, during Brazil’s municipal elections, Beatriz was elected as substitute tutelary counsellor to ensure the realisation of the rights of children and adolescents, a governmental work based on the Brazilian Child and Adolescent Statute. Currently, Beatriz is completing her master thesis on asylum seekers’ reproductive rights.

Lucrezia Vittori
Lucrezia VittoriExternal Communications Officer
Country: Italy/ UK
Pronouns: she/her

Lucrezia is a video maker, writer and activist from Italy. Holding a master’s degree in International Journalism at Cardiff University, she has been involved in SRHR advocacy ever since she produced and directed a short documentary on the total abortion ban in the Dominican Republic. After working as freelance journalist and video maker, Lucrezia worked as Communications and Event Officer at the Inspire SRHR Partnership. In 2020 she completed an internship at IPPF, developing IEC materials focused on self-care in SRH. A Gallery Assistant at the Vagina Museum, Lucrezia works at InsightShare a social enterprise focused on participatory media and indigenous rights advocacy.

Members

Camila Ochoa Mendoza
Camila Ochoa MendozaCountry: Venezuela/Sweden
Pronouns: she/her

Camila Ochoa Mendoza is a reproductive justice activist and academic, currently doing her masters in Gothenburg, Sweden. She is currently writing her thesis on including trans people’s experiences and needs in the discussion of abortion and reproductive justice. Camila has centred her work and studies around abortion stigma and messaging, particularly looking at how abortion is connected to other aspects of social justice. At the core of Camila’s activism is the belief that all issues are connected, and that they are all rooted in white supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy.

Anamaria Suciu
Anamaria SuciuCountry: Romania/Belgium
Pronouns: she/her

YouAct member since 2016, Anamaria has been a Steering Committee member for two consecutive years (Secretary in 2017 and Chair in 2018). Anamaria has initiated and coordinated the implementation of several projects on sexuality education and has actively represented the network at various international conferences. She has worked as Programme Assistant at IPPF EN, for the Society for Education on Contraception and Sexuality in Romania and has previously coordinated the regional youth network YSAFE. Anamaria is particularly interested in monitoring and evaluation and research and she believes an intersectional approach is needed to solving society’s problems.

Anuki (Ana) Mosiashvili
Anuki (Ana) MosiashviliCountry: Georgia/Sweden
Anuki is a youth advocate and educator from Georgia. She has been advocating for CSE, youth meaningful participation and youth SRHR since 2012 when she first started her activism in her local community. Anuki is pursuing master’s degree in International Human Rights Law at Lund University. She is an international coordinator in charge of capacity building of the Y-PEER Network, as well as One Young World Peace Ambassador and a member of the Swedish Institute Network for Future Global Leaders. She has been working with national, regional and international organizations and initiatives, including Women Deliver, UNFPA, EU institutions and more.
Gersi Gashi
Gersi GashiCountry: Kosovo
Pronouns: he/him

Gersi Gashi has been a civil society activist for the last five years. He has been engaged in the civil society sector as a project manager and researcher for organizations such as Democracy for Development, Peer Educators Network, and Levizja FOL. Gersi majored in public policy and economics at the Rochester Institute of Technology. An author and co-author on different publications and articles, he is particularly experienced in anticorruption, with focus on the judiciary, welfare policies, higher education, and labour mobility. Currently, he has a start-up company focusing on automation and engineering.

Laura Honders
Laura HondersCountry: The Netherlands
Pronouns: she/her

Laura has been active in SRHR since she wrote her master thesis on women with disabilities’ access to SRHR services in Sri Lanka. She has a special interest in the meaningful inclusion of marginalised groups in SRHR, especially when it comes to comprehensive sexuality education and advocacy, and her main field of expertise is in children and youth with disabilities. She holds the position of SRHR adviser at the Liliane Foundation, a Dutch organisation working on the inclusion of children and youth with disabilities in low and middle income countries.

Bilge Eylem Dedeoglu
Bilge Eylem Dedeoglu Country: Turkey
Pronouns: she/her

Eylem is an SRHR advocate and medical doctor from Istanbul, working in the Eastern Europe and the Middle East region. She is the previous Internal Communications Officer of YouAct, where she promoted CSE for youth in Europe. Eylem is also the Steering Committee of Y-PEER Turkey – Youth Approaches to Health Association where she has campaigned for accessible and affordable SRH services for young people. She is currently working as a consultant for migrant survivors of sexual violence and ill-treatment at an international humanitarian organization. During her medical education, Eylem completed Gender Studies and Community Engagement programs at Koç University.

Frida Gunnarsson
Frida GunnarssonCountry: Sweden
Pronouns: she/her

Frida is from Sweden and currently studying for a masters in gender studies in London. She joined YouAct in 2017 and has been involved with different projects since joining, and also been in the steering committee for one year as External Communications Officer. Through YouAct she has developed position papers, been a consultant for the EC-funded project SAFER to end gender-based violence and worked with communications. Before joining YouAct she founded a Feminist Society at her university in the Netherlands.

Chenai Elizabeth Muchena
Chenai Elizabeth MuchenaCountry: Zimbabwe/ Denmark
Pronouns: she/her

Chenai is a gender and health equity advocate, who has been promoting women’s health awareness and access to quality healthcare since 2012 in Zimbabwe, Cyprus and Denmark. Her research interests are focused around Non-communicable diseases (cervical and breast cancer) and their impact on women in low resource settings. Chenai is pursuing a Masters’ degree in Pharmaceutical design and Engineering with the Denmark Technical university and working as a Public health research assistant for the department of infectious diseases at Rigshospitalet. She is also a Women Deliver Young Leader and World Economic Forum Global Shaper.

Maria Codina
Maria CodinaCountry: Spain
Pronouns: she/her

Maria Codina is a feminist and a gender and sexuality expert. From a young age, Maria has been involved in the creation of CSE workshops and programmes in Spain and the Netherlands. Maria completed her master’s degree in Gender and Sexuality in the Netherlands focusing her research on the conceptualisation of virginity (loss) and purity among young people in Spain. She volunteered at Sex Matters developing four workshops on CSE. She is currently part of the SRHR team at KIT Royal Tropical Institute, where she works as SRHR advisor and as a country coordinator for Share-Net International.

Katinka Goffin
Katinka GoffinCountry: Norway
Pronouns: she/her

Katinka is a long-time SRHR activist, advocating through volunteerism, academia and freelance work. For her Bachelor’s thesis in Psychology she wrote about the genderization of sexual victimhood, and is now researching perspectives on sexual consent in Norway for her Master’s. Katinka recently wrote a published report about sexual assault and prevention in Oslo, and has previously been on the board of IPPF Norway, as well as the head of their youth organization, SNU. She is also a Beijing+25 youth representative for UN Women. Her focuses are CSE, consent and sexual violence, LGBTQIA+ issues, and intersectional feminism.

Martin Karadzhov
Martin KaradzhovCountry: UK/Bulgaria
Martin started working in the field of SRHR when he was 14 by facilitating workshops at his schools and later participating on national and international trainings. Martin worked as youth coordinator of his local NGO, where he had the chance to work with different groups such as juvenile offenders, minorities and youth from shelters on topics related to SRHR.

Alumni

Eimear Annalivia Sparks
Eimear Annalivia SparksCountry: Ireland
Growing up in Ireland has had a huge influence on Eimear’s 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 her sexual education. When she went to university and started taking modules in gender and sexuality, she saw how lacking her sexual education had been and realised this was mirrored in the experience of many of her peers. Thus she was influenced to attempt to change such a situation. She has been involved in various aspects of the pro-choice movement in Ireland by directing and producing a video for the pro-choice campaign at her university. Eimear appeared on TV to speak about the issue and attended meetings about the campaign and volunteered at street stalls.
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!

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.

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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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 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.

Fatma Hacioglu
Fatma HaciogluCountry: Turkey
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.
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.