Génesis Luigi

Génesis Luigi - 2016 Nominee
Position: Youth Network Coordinator
Organization: International Planned Parenthood Federation/ Western Hemisphere Region
Genesis spearheads the strengthening of the youth movement for sexual and reproductive rights in the Americas and Caribbean. Based in Venezuela, she engages new media to unite diverse activists and empower exchange of best practices and strategies. – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

Since 2013 I have been involved with the defense of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in different levels of action, from local initiatives related to peer Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in non-formal settings that contributed to the establishment of municipal SRHR promotion networks in my city; to regional actions connecting youth from all over the Americas and the Caribbean, enabling structures to share best practices among youth advocates and to highlight the work they are doing for SRHR in their communities. At international level I have served as a speaker for the oranizations I collaborate with, specially International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and PLAFAM (Family Planning, Venezuela) in subjects such as abortion access, youth leadership and CSE.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Family Planning (FP) is empowerment. A tool everyone should have available regardless their socioeconomic background. What sparked my passion was social justice, although I didn't know it had that name when I was a teenager facing bad sex-ed at school. It began with: why sex has to be that shameful? and stop scare tactics about pleasure! What keeps the flame is the resilience of communities, the passion of youth advocates across the region, and the commitment from international agencies.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

One of them is to keep youth-led FP initiatives sustainable, in order to overcome it, intergenerational partnership between organizations and youth advocates is crucial, what IPPF/WHR youth network aims to. Also, when tackling issues such as unintended pregnancy and STI transmission it's a challenge to highlight the fact that those are consequences of structural dynamics in current society, promoting a critical approach to SRHR issues is key to think in innovative ways to overcome barriers.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

The dominant situation in my country, and I dare to say in the region is the lack of accurate CSE programs with an empowering vision in national curricula, and the fragility of our achievements in SRHR at public policy level. To address this, advocacy is the core. Also, access to SRH services no matter where people live; this can be addressed with non-formal settings focused initiatives. But, none of these approaches can work if we don't think in an intersectional way.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I want:
- to lead initiatives that can increase FP access in my country from a sex-positive angle.
-to become an advocate for abortion access in my country addressing this issue as part of the FP services.
-to strenght the network of IPPF/WHR youth advocates in the region and to make the word "coalition" a core value for us.
-to make significant contributions to CSE, highlighting that sexuality involves diversity, that pleasure matters too, and that respect for ourselves and others is key.

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