As a way to promote the incredible work our Host Organizations are doing and to spread the word of the substantial impact Atlas Corps Fellows have on their teams, we are sharing a short feature on IPPF and their experience with Atlas Corps.
Host Organization: IPPF
IPPF is committed to leading a locally owned, globally connected civil society movement that provides and enables services and champions sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, especially the underserved.
Fellow: Genesis Luigi (Venezuela, Class 24)
Originally from Caracas Venezuela, Genesis has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Central Venezuela. She has more than three years of experience as an advocate for sexual and reproductive rights and youth leadership in the nonprofit sector. Some of her past experience has included serving as a Youth Network coordinator for IPPF, where she was in charge of planning and providing capacity-building activities for nearly 23 youth board members of IPPF/WHR Latin American and Caribbean partner associations. She has also served as a program coordinator at Construyendo Futuros Civil Association where she was in charge of “Quiero Saber” -I want to know-, a program aimed to provide comprehensive sexuality education to children and adolescents in vulnerable and rural zones of Venezuela. Through these experiences, she has developed project management, strategic planning, and communication skills as well as a passion for sexual and reproductive health and rights with a focus on youth issues.
Genesis’ View on Serving IPPF:
What is your role at IPPF?
As the Youth, Gender, and Rights Program Fellow, I serve to support the portfolio of programs related to facilitate access to sexual health services and comprehensive sexuality education to adolescents and youth across Latin America and the Caribbean. I also coordinate the IPPF/WHR Youth Network, which is one of my favorite parts, I get to know a lot of inspiring activists and advocates in the region.
How has your experience with IPPF impacted your perspective? What has the organization taught you?
My perspective of the nonprofit sector was drastically transformed when I started my fellowship at IPPF/WHR. I realized how much politics influence what we do as advocates for Human Rights and that if we don’t connect our activism with accountability, citizen empowerment, and diversity, our initiatives will simply not transcend.
How will you build upon the skills and knowledge gained during your Fellowship once you return to your home country? How will your experience in the United States help you pursue your goals in the future?
I can build upon the fact that I now have a clearer perspective on the challenges we have in Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of SRHR and youth leadership. The fact that I can connect with so many local nonprofits who seek to advance reproductive justice gives me a more diverse perspective on how to be a more inclusive and strategic advocate.
Supervisor: Silvia Huaynoca
At Atlas Corps, we have a tradition of stating our “Five Facts” when introducing ourselves to new people. What are your five facts?
● Name: Silvia Huaynoca
● Hometown: South Orange, New Jersey
● Role at Organization: Program Officer, Technical Advisor Youth, Gender and Rights
● Social Issue/Interest Area: Women’ and adolescents’ health; young women’s empowerment and leadership
● Fun fact: I can spend all night long singing and playing my guitar. I love traveling and exploring new places, cultures, and traditions.
How did you hear of Atlas Corps?
My organization had hosted a couple of Atlas Corps fellows before Genesis. We had a great experience working with them.
Why did you decide to host an Atlas Corps Fellow?
At IPPF/WHR we value meaningful youth participation. Hosting and Atlas Corps Fellow is a wonderful opportunity to put that into practice. Through Atlas Corps, we have been able to provide young people from the Latin America region the opportunity to exercise their leadership and technical skills internationally.
Why did you choose your Fellow?
We already had experience working with Genesis. In 2014, Genesis started working with IPPF/WHR as the Youth network coordinator based in Venezuela. For two years, she strengthened and increased the visibility of our regional Youth Network. I witnessed Genesis’s personal and professional growth. Genesis demonstrated valuable experience in sexual and reproductive health and youth empowerment and leadership. We wanted someone like her in our office.
How has your Fellow contributed to your team? How has his or her presence had an impact on your team’s dynamic?
One of Genesis’ main contributions is her ability to work collaboratively with different teams. She has helped integrate the work of the Youth, Gender, and Rights team with other areas of the organization. For example, she has mainstreamed our youth empowerment perspective with a community-based and advocacy projects.
6) How will your Fellow’s contributions and insights impact your organization in the long run?
For IPPF/WHR working with Genesis is a clear example of what it means to be a youth-centered organization. We should not think that young people are only recipients of our services. We should give them the opportunity to be part of the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions targeted to them.
7) Was there anything about American culture that surprised your Fellow?
The love-hate relationship with the New York MTA
8) What has your Fellow taught you? Have you learned anything special about their culture?
I learned that there is nothing like Venezuelan arepas – they are easy to make, and you can have them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
9) As part of our Empower Global Women campaign, we are looking to highlight the importance of empowering global female leaders in our next newsletter. With that said, why do you think it is important to empower global female leaders?
If we truly want to change the world, we need more female leaders. Empowering global female leaders, especially young women and girls, is very important to secure better livelihoods and health for them and to create a generation capable of delivering future change.
More about Atlas Corps:
Atlas Corps partners with mission-driven organizations (nonprofit, private, and government) to facilitate a professional exchange program for the world’s best emerging social change leaders to live and serve in the United States for a 12-month Fellowship. The Atlas Corps network currently includes more than 600 professionals from 87 countries who have served at 220 organizations.
Interested in becoming a Host Organization for an Atlas Corps Fellow? Contact Brittany Gropp at email@example.com.