Julie Mellin

Julie Mellin - 2016 Nominee
Position: Manager
Organization: Global Youth Coalition on HIV and AIDS (GYCA)
Julie is a creative and engaging advocate for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people. She provides high-quality technical assistance to youth organisations across the world! – Georgina Caswell, Regional Advisor (Africa): Link Up at International HIV/AIDS Alliance
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I manage the Global Youth Coalition on HIV and AIDS (GYCA), a program of the Public Health Institute. We are a youth-led global network of young leaders and adult allies working together at the intersection of the youth sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV movements. As GYCA's manager, I help young leaders attain the skills, knowledge, and relationships they need to engage meaningfully in decision-making around HIV policies and programs. I am an advocate and activist passionate about building young people's capacity and efficacy, particularly in the area of recognizing and achieving sexual and reproductive health and rights for those who are most marginalized.

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

Despite appearing to be sex-positive in popular culture, the U.S. struggles with stigma around openly discussing sexual and reproductive health and rights-- particularly for women and for young people. Despite telling our children they shouldn't have sex until marriage or not discussing sex with them at all, American media sexualizes women from adolescence and criticizes people with non-conforming sexualities, gender identities, or sexual orientations. We still have a long way to go!

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

In the next five years, I'd like to continue supporting youth-led organizations that are leading the charge around realization of young people's sexual and reproductive health and rights. I would like to see a significant increase in funding for youth-led organizations and programming, increased institutionalization of meaningful youth engagement by funders, and positive and measurable policy change around sexual and reproductive rights for all people.

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