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Home » Differences Made in a Year of COVID-19 – Building a Global Community

Differences Made in a Year of COVID-19 – Building a Global Community

Our co-founder, Sanne Thijssen, reflects on Stories To Action’s main supporters, personal experience during Stories To Action’s first year and the future ahead. What’s more, some of our global team members reflect on their time at Stories To Action!

When the pandemic hit last year, I couldn’t predict it’s magnitude. But, what I could predict was that this was going to have a negative impact on young people’s lives and their voices would be pushed further into the shadows. Starting Stories to Action was a way to push back and highlight the impact of the pandemic on young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights through their own authentic stories.

Looking back at what we’ve been able to achieve in our first year, I’m proud that we’ve been able to leave a mark. I’m extremely grateful to you, our readers and contributors. Without the support of young people and youth-led initiatives across the globe, we wouldn’t have been able to make our ambition a reality. We’ve cherished every like, comment and shared. We’ve been delighted by every story sent in.

I’m happy to be building a community rallying together during these difficult times. Our partners and sponsors have been immensely important catalyzers of our work. We’ve had some amazing partnerships with youth-led organizations that are creating change every single day in their countries, regions and the world at large. It’s been a pleasure hearing their experiences, sharing our own insights and joining forces for our shared goal to improve young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

I’m also incredibly grateful to all the teammates (past and present) that have brought Stories to Action to life and who are now growing and improving our efforts. Working with amazing changemakers has taught me a lot about collaboration, leadership and compassion. Starting and being part of a new initiative comes with ups and downs… doing it during a global pandemic leads to an actual rollercoaster of ups and downs. I’m inspired by teammates that have been able to juggle our efforts with their ongoing commitments – jobs, studies, other volunteer efforts – and personal challenges – losses, health issues, family circumstances.  

With our team, I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds for us. Which stories will we uncover? Which eyes will we open? Which policies will we help change?  In the meantime, I’m enjoying the journey with our team, our supporters and collaborators. We’re working to scale-up our efforts,  rooting our stories in local realities and linking our work more to global efforts. I hope you too are looking forward to seeing how things go, and that you stay on the ride with us!

Let’s hear what the team of Stories to Action (StA), a group of motivated and committed youth, say about their journey with StA:

I joined Stories to Action 6 months after it launched, very excited to be a part of a start-up initiative in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). It is incredibly motivating to work and partner with people and organizations who share the belief in the importance of advocating for youth SRHR, which is often overlooked and so critical across social class and geography. 

Our team is truly international, spread across continents and cultures and ways of thinking. Every week is a new opportunity to craft the organization into what we collectively feel will have the most impact; the culture is one where we have the freedom to contribute where we think we can add the most value. As a result, all aspects of my role at StA are exciting… logistics of juggling 8+ timezones aside!

 —- By Laura Ramos Tomás

I joined Stories to Action in July 2020 as Social Media Manager, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it! The pandemic had — and continues to have — severe consequences for young people around the world, especially when it comes to education and work, but also access to important health services, such as sexual and reproductive healthcare. Being part of a team of young people from every corner of the world, sharing stories and spreading information, has been very inspiring and motivating. When the whole world stopped, it was great being part of something forward-looking, something that gave us something to believe in. 

— By Andrea Osvoll

I have been with Stories to Action (StA) since July last year. Time has gone fast and I have to say I enjoy working as the data manager of Stories to Action. Here I met people from all over the world with different expertise. Everyone is enthusiastic about their goals in SRHR and works hard to achieve them. I learned a lot from independently conducting questionnaire design and getting advice from experts within StA’s network. StA is still young but it will grow fast. Happy anniversary to StA. 

— By Yingxiao Yan

I really enjoyed getting a chance to work with such a motivated, international group of people over the past year. It was a super fun challenge to move from a mere concept to a fully functioning global platform within just weeks, and then to gradually grow our activities, reach, and team. I think we saw within our team on several occasions how the COVID pandemic was influencing youth all over the world in different ways, and I believe this further strengthened our commitment to do something. While we are now more than a year into the pandemic and some of the world is gradually opening up again, I believe that the work Stories to Action hopes to do is still as relevant as those first days that the idea was born: build back better and make sure that young people’s voices takes center stage. 

— By Alex Bekker

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