Women Deliver Delegates
Nefeli Themeli, Greece
My name is Nefeli Themeli and I have been a girl guide since I was 5 years old. Never imagined the places that Guiding has taken me all those years, physically and mentally. “Empowering girls and young women” is more than a mission for me, as I have lived it every step on the way toward my personal, academic, professional and of course guiding life.
I have academic knowledge in the field of gender and development and of business administration and computers. This is demonstrated with my Masters on Gender and Development, at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and with my Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Information Computer Systems, at the American College of Greece.
My professional experience with gender and development is showed through my work with youth organizations working with programs focusing on girls’ and young women’s issues. Moreover, in the past five years I have acquired academic and professional knowledge of global UN initiatives and campaigns around girl’s and young women’s rights. I have been involved in advocacy and lobbying for integration of youth needs, especially regarding the importance of non-formal education and sexual and reproductive rights. Particularly my experience with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has equipped me with lots of expertise in designing and implementing participatory programmes related with the UN Millennium Development Goals alongside with the organization’s mission. In addition, I have been involved in translating global commitments to youth friendly language, promoting youth activism and engagement in policy.
I have had the amazing opportunity to represent WAGGGS in various events, such as the European Camp in Iceland (Roverway 2009), the 54th and 55th Commission on the Status of Women in the United Nations (2010-11), WAGGGS/GSUSA Girls’ World Forum (Chicago, 2012) and the ICPD Beyond 2014 – Global Youth Forum in Bali (2012). In my recent involvement in Bali, I have been member of the Steering Committee where our main responsibility was to provide leadership throughout the Forum’s planning, implementation and follow-up stages. The participants developed an historic and ground-breaking Declaration with over 70 recommendations under the overarching themes of staying healthy; comprehensive education; families, youth-rights and well-being, including sexuality; transitions to decent work; and leadership & meaningful participation. The Declaration has clear cross-cutting messages on the importance of comprehensive sexuality education, youth participation, access to comprehensive health services, investment in young people, and prevention and elimination of all forms of violence. Finally, as the MDG 4 and 5 Ambassador for WAGGGS I had the unique opportunity to co-facilitate a joined workshop of WAGGGS and Photovoice, called “Saving Children's and Mothers' lives: Photography as a Tool for Social Change”, training 17 Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to act as experts and resource persons to support delivering the programme to young women and to set up projects on photography as a tool for communication and advocacy.
Alejandra Salas, Costa Rica
My name is Alejandra and I am a Guide/Scout leader inCosta Rica. I have been part a guide/scout since I was 6 years old and became a leader four years ago. I enjoy working with young people because it’s impossible not to learn from day everyday as they see the world in a different way that most of the people do. And it is easy to forget the issues that really matter but children don’t, the better way to keep the path and don’t lose focus it’s to ask the young people.
I work at a national level in my organization at a committee in charge of promoting WAGGGS and WOSM badges and curriculums. We expect that if young people learn about global issues since an early age they can not just be informed but they can take action to prevent those issues to affect themselves and the ones around them.
I am an advocate for women’s right and the empowerment of girls and young women as I believe an empowered girl have the capacity of making better decision for her life that can both ensure her own health and make her achieve all her goals and dreams. A healthy and empowered woman can fight for her rights as well as other women’s rights, ensuring that more people are involved in the cause and the movement can be kept for generations to come.
Sharie Thompson - Rudder, Barbados
My name is Sharie Thompson – Rudder and I am from the island of Barbados. I have been a part of the Girl Guides Association for several years. I have worked on several projects both locally and abroad during this time. In this association I have been awarded guide of the year on several occasions. So too, I have been to international camp in England where I participated in breast cancer fundraising. This has been followed by other initiatives ranging from female education to environmental clean ups, to research and many other fascinating things!
I have recently completed my BSc Sociology & Psychology and am a candidate to be shortly pursuing MSc Clinical Criminology at the University of Leicester. In Barbados I work with several NGOs dealing primarily with youth development. In this, I work with several young girls and women who may need to be educated in reproductive health, self development and empowerment. Being a part of such an association brings me such joy to each day.
With my knowledge of female development and general social care for them in addition to my experience with WAGGGS I hope to contribute from the perspective of my island and by extension the Caribbean region and I hope to gain much information from the many people attending this conference from around the world.
We are all from different countries around the world, with different cultures and perspectives but the one thing we have in common is our humanity and love for all and therefore we will always work together for that common goal and that is what makes it so special! That is why I do what I do!
Bruna Leonardelli, Brazil
I am Bruna Leonardelli, 18, from Brazil. I have been a girl guide since I was 5 years old. During her years of guiding, she attended conferences, training courses on advocacy, project writing and leadership skills. Recently I was part of the national commission on Youth Health, focusing on HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis. Nowadays she’s engaged in coordinating the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
I am part of the national network responsible for support young HIV+ people. Took part on UNCSD Rio+20 as a WAGGGS Delegate and is a member of Major Group Children and Youth - MGCY. One of Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders 2013, attending the 13th Women Deliver Conference - focused on Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health - also as a WAGGGS delegate. For which, I was trained on the issue by WD, covering the MDG 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Jenna M. Evans, Canada
I am Jenna Evans, age 27, from Toronto and I am honoured to represent the Girl Guides of Canada (GGC) at the Women Deliver 2013 Conference in Malaysia. I am currently a PhD Candidate in Health Services Research at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) at the University of Toronto. My research focuses on integrating and improving the delivery of health care through inter-organizational collaboration.
I have been a Girl Guide in Canada for the past four years working as a Project Mentor for the Girls for Safer Communities program, which aims to increase awareness about safety concerns while mobilizing girls to become leaders in their communities. Previously, I was a Girl Scout in the US for five years, during which time I earned a Gold Award and traveled to Pax Lodge in England for the “Footsteps of the Founders” program.
I am passionate about girls’ education, women’s leadership, and the influence of cultural and contextual factors on gender equality. I believe our progress on the Millennium Development Goals will be limited unless we pay attention to the cultural beliefs that perpetuate gender inequalities and develop solutions that target local cultural perceptions and expectations of girls and women. Only then might we see more widespread and lasting change to the political and economic structures that have traditionally marginalized women. I am eager to play a role, no matter how small, in helping to create a world where all girls and all women have equal access to opportunity and equal agency to achieve their potential. I am at Women Deliver 2013 to learn how I can become an agent for change.
Carly Checholik, Canada
My name is Carly Checholik. I am from Edmonton, Alberta and I have been a part of Girl Guides of Canada for the past 11 years. I am thrilled to be a youth representative for such an amazing organization at the Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Before this trip I travelled both nationally and internationally with Guiding - to Ontario, England, France, and Switzerland. As a junior leader with a Sparks group, I am constantly around young girls who have the entire world at their fingertips due to the fact that they have easy access to basic needs, such as education and health care. I believe that no women or girl should be deprived of such rights and I hope that one day in the future, with the help of the numerous organizations taking part in Women Deliver, no women will be. I am hoping to learn good advocacy skills and to be inspired by the many attendees present at the conference who are currently changing the world. I am very passionate about creating a world of equality for girls and giving them the tools and support they need to make a sustainable, safe, and knowledgeable life for themselves and for their future children. By empowering girls today, we are giving a voice to generations of girls to come. I hope to incorporate the lessons I learn during this three day event into my future career. Although I am indecisive about what path I want to take, I am certain that it will involve helping others around the world obtain the life that every human being deserves.
Rukaiyah Lakkadghatwala, Canada
Hi! My name is Rukaiyah Lakkadghatwala and I have been a member of the Girl Guides of Canada for the past 11 years and am currently the Chair of the Ontario Girl Guide Advisory Forum. The Ontario Girl Guide Advisory Forum is a youth Guiding group dedicated to providing feedback to the Provincial Council on behalf of community Guiding members.
I am looking forward to representing the Girl Guides of Canada at the Women Deliver 2013 conference and am grateful to be able to have the opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge and experiences regarding maternal care through participating in sessions regarding women and newborn healthcare. It's unbelievable to live in a nation that offers such amazing quality of care to its women and newborns, and yet still be aware of the fact that in many developing regions of the world, countless women are negatively impacted due to a lack of proper healthcare. I am very interested in the varying standards of healthcare present in the world and as a result, am keenly looking forward to learning about the current state of global maternal and newborn healthcare. I hope to be able to learn methods to improve maternal healthcare on an international scale and acquire the skills that will allow me to work towards playing a role in positively impacting the state of maternal healthcare in developing countries. The crucial role that women play in shaping the world is undeniable and I believe that through placing emphasis on maternal healthcare, women and children worldwide will be able to reach their incredible potential, and thus allow their communities to soar forward as well.