About Us

Our vision, mission and team

What we stand for

OUR VISION

We envision a world where every young
person’s voice on their sexual and
reproductive health and rights is heard and
in which they have equal access to SRHR
services, information and resources, even in
times of public health emergencies like
COVID-19.

What we stand for

Our Mission

  • Amplifying youth voices on SRHR during
    COVID-19;
  • Collecting data on youth’s needs,
    challenges and circumstances relating to SRHR to inform better decision-making;
  • Advocating for social change and progress
    on SRHR to meet the needs of youth during
    COVID-19 and future similar crises;
    • Influencing decision-makers on youth-related
      policies and interventions to
      ensure that youth voices are a central
      part of the decision-making process
    • Building sustainable and impactful
      partnerships with diverse stakeholders
      and inspire collective action on realizing
      young people’s universal access to SRHR
  • Sharing authentic and accessible external
    resources on SRHR in the COVID-19 context.
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The Team

Our Dedicated team

Sanne Thijssen

Co-founder

Sanne Thijssen is the founder of Shake The Dust, an independent consultancy working on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and meaningful youth participation. As a consultant, Sanne works to shift perspectives, create unique solutions and stimulate engaging conversations in and between both fields. Sanne’s ongoing and previous work within the field of SRHR has led to her nomination as a Women Deliver Young Leader (2018-2020 Class).

Sanne has a BSc in European Public Health (Maastricht University) and an MSc double-degree in Public Policy & Human Development (United Nations University- MERIT / Maastricht University). Sanne’s previous experiences include working as the Dutch Youth Ambassador for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) (2016-2017) and more recently, working as a research assistant at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM). Sanne has also worked as a data and report writing consultant to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and has undertaken an internship with the Ministry of Health of Malta.

Jingyun (Iris) Pi

Co-founder

Iris (Jingyun) Pi is a national from China, who has work, training and volunteer experience in the Philippines, Egypt, the United States of America, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. She was born a feminist with an undying care for the rights and wellbeing of women and girls. She was awarded the UNFPA Global Youth Innovation Fellowship and worked for the UNFPA China office as an Innovator in Mobile Health. 

She studied Finance as an undergraduate, later going on to obtain her M.A. in social work concentrating on people who use substances excessively in Nanjing University. She was selected for the one-year bilingual graduate program concentrating on international studies in the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies in 2016-2017 and achieved a graduate certificate, a joint program by the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and Nanjing University.  

Iris previously worked on Female Genital Mutilation as a volunteer and researcher in the Women’s Empowerment Project in Egypt, which was an international initiative comprised of excellent students, academics and young professionals. Iris has since published “Gender Inequality I experienced in Egypt” on Henan Netease. In the summer of 2016, she was selected as a youth champion for the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership in Hanoi Vietnam. In 2017, she participated in the “Two-Child Policy” research project in Jiangsu Province, which was founded by the United Nations Population Fund and wrote “The Difficulties Chinese Couples Face under Two-Child Policy”.

 

Alexandra Bekker

Strategic Advisor

Alexandra Bekker is the founder of Unlikeminds, a nonprofit innovation agency that helps nonprofits in the Global South do good better. Alexandra believes that a strong civil society is the key to sustainable development. She works to make it possible for nonprofits in low resource contexts to access quality tools, training, strategic advice, and coaching to design impactful programs and become creative, adaptive, and future-proof organizations. 

Prior to Unlikeminds, Alexandra led a global program on data for advocacy for CHOICE for Youth & Sexuality, focusing on advocacy strategy and partnership building at the United Nations Human Rights Council. She has also worked as an advisor on SRHR, gender, and global health for the Netherlands Mission to the United Nations. 

Alexandra has a MA in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action (Sciences Po Paris), an LLM in International Security (VU University Amsterdam), and an honors BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences (Amsterdam University College).

Andrea E. Osvoll

Social Media
Manager

Andrea E. Osvoll previously worked as a junior advocacy officer at the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Brussels, where she conducted policy research on cervical cancer prevention and access to contraception.
 
 
Ever since Andrea specialised in women and gender history as part of her bachelor’s degree in history, she knew she wanted to work on gender equality issues. Last year she completed her M.phil in Global Development Theory and Practice with a specialisation in Gender Analysis, at the University of Bergen, while working as a junior advocacy officer.
 
 
She has great experience in organising international conferences and has gained valuable experience in working with parliamentarians and how they can shape and influence the sustainable development agenda. Furthermore, Andrea likes to be creative and have an eye for details.

Asuka Heltmann

Partnership
Manager

Asuka Heltmann holds a BSc in International Relations and an MSc in Global Population Health from LSE. Asuka currently works for the Ashinaga Africa Initiative, a leadership programme that provides access to higher education to orphans from sub-Saharan Africa.

Having moved around internationally frequently growing up, Asuka saw the different reproductive health needs in different countries and their effects on women, the wider society and the economy. Through these experiences, Asuka has had a long standing interest in women’s rights, whether studying demography with a focus on fertility or volunteering with vulnerable women. 



Lara Paulus

ContenT
VOLUNTEER

 

Lara Paulus, originating from The Netherlands, is currently residing in Glasgow, UK. Before pursuing her Master degree in Global Health, she volunteered in multiple settings to assist in long term sustainability of aid programs.


In 2018, she finished her Master of Science in Global Health at Maastricht University, the Netherlands. After her master’s, she devoted her career to working with asylum seekers and refugees. She worked for a Dutch refugee organization and completed an internship with the International Rescue Committee in Los Angeles, CA. She is now assisting in research, and supports destitute asylum seekers in a unique setting in Glasgow.

A writer at heart, she is about creating content to inform the public, and passionate about listening to people from various backgrounds and putting their unique stories on paper and on her blog.  Her mission is to inspire and motivate people and work full time in content creation in the future.

LINDSAY j nELSON

SOCIAL MEDIA
ASSOCIATE

Growing up in a family who traveled globally for service, having a natural knack for connecting people and experience advocating for women and childrens’ rights, Lindsay is well suited to amplify youth’s voices globally about SRHR. 

 

Lindsay’s passion for amplifying vulnerable populations’ voices started young. She has run project coordination since her teens and developed many dynamic programs/community networks from scratch. These programs have varied from women and children’s shelters to victims advocates in the courts, community outreach to sex trafficking victims in Thailand and more. She was the Secretary for the first Political Action Committee in the US dedicated to passing policy to end Violence Against Women. Due to her personal and professional experience, Lindsay is very passionate about SRHR and in her constant quest to learn, has completed courses from Harvard to University of Utrecht on subjects ranging from International Human Rights to Global Women’s/Maternal health. She has supported NGOs in many roles from grant-writer to front line worker, policy advocate and content manager. Lindsay has a Bachelor's Degree in Human Services and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. 

 

Lindsay is currently attending a digital marketing course and mentorship to help SRHR NGOs bring public awareness to their cause and build social and financial capital. She is ecstatic to use this to support Stories to Action as our new Social Media Associate. 

 

Ndifanji Melia Namacha

Partnership
Manager

Ndifanji is a global health advocate from Malawi, zero Malaria youth champion and RBM Partnership to end malaria youth workstream co-lead. She is a member of the Commonwealth Youth Health Network and was one of the key speakers at the high level Malaria Summit during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, 2018.  

Ndifanji has taken up various roles ranging from academia, research, technical advisory and currently the head of programs for a local NGO, MACRO, overseeing the implementation of 5 programs across 18 districts in Malawi with funding from USAID and CDC through Lighthouse, Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), FHI360 and World Education Inc. (Bantwana).

Putri Widi Saraswati

Ambassador
Manager

Putri is an Indonesian medical doctor by training who is currently finalizing her master of public health degree at KIT Royal Tropical Institute, The Netherlands - specializing in Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). She has 7 years of experience working as a general practitioner in her home country. Besides being a healthcare professional, she is also an avid voice for SRHR and gender equity - something that she has been doing since 2014 through her works in healthcare, volunteering with civil society organizations, advocacy and education using social media, and working with nongovernmental organizations. She has experiences working with young people as well - mainly through youth-friendly healthcare services, facilitating classes/discussions, and social media engagement. She believes whole-heartedly that young people’s protection and fulfillment of SRHR are of utmost importance especially at a time of crisis when both SRHR and young people tend to be ignored.