International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region is an organization with over 50 years of experience and has remained on the cutting edge of sexual and reproductive health and rights in Latin America and across the world.
I have volunteered for IPPF since 2000, first within Canada at a local planned parenthood, then on our national board before joining the international governing body. The broad reach of IPPF that this represents is what makes the organization so successful at working to improve the health of individuals, families and communities through local interventions and global advocacy.
Last year, I had the opportunity to join the WestWind Foundation whose mission is to promote the protection of the environment and improve access to reproductive health care. Through this opportunity I was able to get on the ground experience with some of the reproductive health groups that I have an interest in. During the past few months I have had the chance to work with RHRP groups in several countries and the experiences have enhanced my awareness of the critically important need that organizations like International Planned Parenthood Federation
I am a staff member of IPPF/WHR and I am also a donor. My husband and I give personally to the organization that I work for because I have seen the work that IPPF/WHR is doing first-hand. The 40 Member Associations that make up the region are working in some of the hardest, most difficult areas of the Western Hemisphere where poverty, malnutrition and little or no opportunity for education combine to create suffering on a scale we often do not understand as Americans. IPPF/WHR is on the front-lines of the battle to break the cycle of desperate poverty by addressing a fundamental need for reproductive and sexual healthcare. In Colombia, for instance, where the world's second largest group of displaced persons reside (after only the Sudan) IPPF/WHR Member Association, Profamilia, is providing low-cost birth control, emergency contraception, Pap Smears, Vasectomy and Tubal Ligation and educating a new generation of young people through innovative programming designed to make them leaders in stopping violence and making good choices in life. I feel that my money, regardless of it pays for a pap smears, birth control or general healthcare is being invested in very directly alleviating the suffering (or potential suffering) of another human being(s) while also benefiting all of us and our planet. I'm proud to work for IPPF/WHR and even prouder still to be a donor.
I joined this Board, I believe, to strengthen one of the Five A's in its mandate, having worked in the field of HIV/AIDS, nationally, regionally and internationally for over twenty years.
The fact that the organization would seek to strengthen all areas was to me impressive and spoke to the fact that they were serious about meeting their strategic objectives.
Board meetings are serious, well-organized, in depth and are guided by a strong Chair, a knowledgable and interactivePresident and a most able and impressive Executive Director.
Meaningful attention is paid both to overarching goals and objectives but also to meeting the objectives at individual country levels, to include addressing the concerns of volunteers.
The Board represents a wide cross-section of skills including financial skills and the Secretariat has also managed to attract similar breadth of skills and remarkable commitment.