Victoria Watson

Victoria Watson - 2019 Nominee
Position: Executive Director
Organization: International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
Current Location: Canada, North America
Master's of Science, Global Health from McMaster University
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Youth Health Scholar
    Awarding Organization:
    One Young World
    Date Awarded:
    October 6, 2017
  • Award:
    Global Health Corps Fellow
    Awarding Organization:
    Global Health Corps
    Date Awarded:
    May 17, 2018
Victoria looks at sexual and reproductive health with a gender lens, with intersectionality in mind, and with youth activism at the forefront. A cancer survivor herself, she links family planning with NCDs seamlessly and powerfully. – Jillian Gedeon, Co-founder at International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

As the Executive Director of the International Youth Alliance for Family, I lead a global non-profit organization dedicated to supporting youth to learn about and advocate for family planning and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights. We provide an accessible platform for youth from around the world to gain the necessary skills and expertise to advocate for themselves and their communities. Since 2013, we have enabled 45 local projects in 81 countries through a network of Country Coordinators who are trained and given technical assistance to organize educational programs, workshops, demonstrations, and capacity building activities for young people, to truly galvanize a youth-centred SRHR movement.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

My passion for family planning grew out of a desire to close gaps in accessibility and inclusivity in how sexual and reproductive health services are provided to young people. As a Canadian, my services were readily available, a privilege inconsistent globally due to hostile policies or absences of resources. To fix this issue, I promote evidence-based SRHR policies and programs so that all youth - regardless of age, resources, gender or sexual orientation - receive the care they need.

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

Central to my policy advocacy and youth engagement leadership is the desire to push for greater access to sexual and reproductive health services through a human-rights based framework, to show how fundamental these services are to youth. In Washington, I helped coordinate and bring community members to rallies around abortion access at the Supreme Court; through IYAFP, I'll be steering an accountability mechanism for the Global Consensus Statement on Meaningful Adolescent and Youth Engagement.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work? :

As a winner of the 120 under 40, I would use this platform to advocate for making gender inclusive, affordable youth-friendly family planning services available to all by advancing the rights-based country-level policies. I will use this forum to engage, learn, and facilitate a global call to action to address the unmet need in inclusive SRHR and family planning for youth, and dedicate the grant to helping IYAFP implement local education and advocacy actions through our youth network.

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