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.
Lamek Nyabuga

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.

Ana Asad

Advocacy
Manager

Being a national of Bangladesh, Dr. Ananya Asad (Ana) has experience managing multi-sector SRHR programs implemented in different parts of Bangladesh with broad understanding in SRHR, Adolescent development, SGBV, Child Safeguarding and Women Empowerment.

 

She has significant expertise in influencing for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), adolescents and youth issues in difficult circumstances with Government of Bangladesh. Ana has supported developing strategic plans & policies and managed a range of Sexual & Reproductive Health program, Adolescent development, Women and Girls empowerment related programs.

 

As a technical expert, she provided her expertise in developing the National Strategy for Adolescent Health of Bangladesh. she has been actively engaged with different civil society movements for adolescents and youth issues in Bangladesh. Ana holds a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Reproductive Health (State University of Bangladesh) and Bachelor of Dental Surgery (University of Dhaka).

 

Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Science in Health Systems and Disease Control at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp in Belgium. 

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. 



Lamek Mageto

Content Creation Volunteer

Lamek Mageto is from Kenya, and he holds both a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and a Certificate of Leadership and Mentorship Development from Kenyatta University. He most recently served as Adolescent and Youth Programme Officer with LVCT Health, an NGO that developed voluntary HIV testing and Counselling centers in Kenya.  

 

As an adolescent and youth specialist, Lamek proactively engaged young people and actors in the public health domains to embrace Mhealth solutions to bridge the gap to the access to a youth -friendly information and referral services for Sexual Reproductive Health, HIV, Gender-Based Violence, Mental Health through LVCT Health’s  One2one Integrated Digital Platform ( OIDP) where youth interact with service providers through toll-free calls, SMS, and social media engagement (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Website, and Instagram).

 

Lamek is currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Global Health Delivery Program at the University of Global Health Equity ( UGHE) in Rwanda. His goal is to be directly involved in addressing the challenges facing healthcare delivery at the community and global level for improved health outcomes of the young people through influencing health policies and advocating for sustainable models of healthcare delivery.

Lawal Adechina alao

technical Leader & website Manager

Lawal is a multilingual software developer and instructor. He is specialized in backend development with more than 5 years’ experience and a background in mobile app development, frontend development, digital marketing and e-business.

Because of his drive to find solutions to the problems that he encounters ad he’s eagerness to gain knowledge, Lawal fills his days training himself and developing tools that respond to real social issues. This is how since 2021, outside of his work at Stories To Action, he has been working with two friends to build a digital solution to solve the problems related to logistics for Togolese companies: aiming to change and modernize the way companies exchange letters and parcels with each other and with their customers.
Because he likes to give back to communities, years ago, Lawal started working as volunteer in and outside Africa to teach either programming or football to children especially to girls because everyone deserves a good quality education.

Lara Paulus

ContenT
Manager

 

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.

LAura Ramos

Digital Engagement Manager

Laura Ramos is a designer turned community and youth worker. She has a BSc in Product Design from Bournemouth University (UK), corporate and non-profit experience in branding and communications, and speaks five languages (English, Spanish, German, Portuguese and French).

 

Laura grew up in Europe and moved to Latin America to support social development initiatives. She runs Community in Action, an NGO in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) which connects international volunteers with grassroots educational and social initiatives in Rio’s favelas (shanty towns). Prior to this, she worked in Colombia where she consulted on communications for various international projects for women’s empowerment through financial inclusion; in Guatemala City, where she worked with victims of sexual abuse and trafficking through community outreach and education; and in rural Honduras, where she volunteered at an NGO developing a children’s literacy program and coordinating informal education curricula.

 

Laura recognizes that the need for accessible sources of quality sexuality education is ongoing and transcends social class and geography, and that SRHR advocacy is a key catalyst for true systemic change. These learnings drive her current studies towards a certificate in Human Sexuality Education at the University of Michigan (USA), and her contribution at Stories to Action.

Nika Norvila

Fundraising
Manager

Nika Norvila is a second generation Lithuanian- American. Nika grew up in New York City and received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Spanish from the State University of New York at Geneseo and her master’s degree in sociology, track in gender, sexuality and society from the University of Amsterdam. Her research focused on the intersections between human trafficking, sex work, female sexuality and women’s migration from Eastern Europe to the Netherlands. After completing her master’s degree, Nika contributed to the global sex worker-led movement at the Red Umbrella Fund in Amsterdam. 

 

Nika worked as a sexuality educator at school-based health centers in NYC public middle and high schools. In this position, Nika facilitated HIV, STI and pregnancy prevention programming to youth, provided one-on-one reproductive and sexual health counseling, coordinated external youth development programming, and collaborated with the health center and school staff to ensure the health and wellbeing of all students. Nika conducted research on the link between teaching sexual pleasure and consent and communication, she presented these findings at the National Sex Ed Conference in April, 2019. 

 

Nika managed two six month projects in Lithuania’s public sector to create meaningful change. Her second project, aimed at strengthening sexuality education, at the Youth Affairs Department under the Ministry of Social Security and Labor. Nika wrote a sexuality education practical guide, aimed at increasing the knowledge, skills and comfortable attitudes around sexuality topics of youth workers and other professionals working with youth across Lithuania. Nika continued to advocate for SRHR and managed several international funds and projects, when she joined the Youth Affairs Department’s team for five months.  

 

Currently Nika is based in New York City and plans on pursuing a Master’s in Public Health in Health Policy and Management in the fall and plans on continuing to work in the sexuality education and SRHR field. Nika is still involved in SRHR projects in Lithuania, and just joined the Stories to Action team as a Fundraising Manager.

Yingxiao Yan

Data
Manager

Yingxiao Yan is a current student of the Master’s program of Public Health (MPH) at Lund University in Sweden. He has a natural science background with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and a minor certificate of biology from Nanjing University in China. 


Yingxiao has a passion for research and has gained a lot of understanding and experience during his university studies, becoming experienced in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Previous courses have made him comfortable in areas such as literature review, questionnaire design, data analysis, and data visualization. Yingxiao has also worked as a community manager in EOS Cares and as a Co-head in Nordic-China Start-up Forum (NCSF), which has allowed him to develop his project management and leadership expertise. 


Ever since Yingxiao did his internship at Nanjing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, he knew he wanted to work with data analysis with a focus on health problems. He has recently finished his summer research internship at Lund University and has become proficient in data analysis and visualization. He is now eager to explore more about SRHR and look at some new data.