My journey in the world of reproductive and sexual health has been a bit topsy turvey. I started out doing international advocacy with the International Planned Parenthood Federation, later on became involved with the Youth Coalition and now work almost entirely at a national grass roots level with young people.
Aging out of the Youth Coalition coincided with me finishing my PhD on youth participation and moving from Scotland back to England. I now try to put the bits and bobs I have learnt on the way into practice in my work in the east of England. I am involved in various different types of sexual health work – my two jobs are running an intensive group work project with young men under 18 who become trainers on sexual health and rights and secondly, coordinating a programme that makes sexually transmitted infection screening services available to young people. I am vice chair of a charity supporting young LBG people (www.2byouth.co.uk). In all these roles I am still heavily involved in advocacy as although sometimes I feel we are getting somewhere, young people’s sexual rights still continues to face age old barriers.
I follow the work of the Youth Coalition with fondness from the sidelines and through my avid following of the ISRRC emails! Being part of the Youth Coalition taught me a huge amount, not just in terms of the subject area but how an international network of youth volunteers can sustain itself and produce results. I miss the network a lot but continue to hope people will look the old timer (me) up when they come through London.