Marcela brings with her a wealth of expertise and knowledge in the area of international development, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and youth rights and participation. Her expertise also extends to the area of institutional strengthening focused on strategic planning, elaboration of sustainability plans for NGOs, proposal preparation and development of decision-making bodies and evaluation. In her 18 years of experience Marcela has also served as an advocate, board member and technical expert in various international and local organizations and networks including the International Planned Parenthood Federation (2003-2013), the High Impact Practices on Family Planning Advisory Group (IPPF Representative 2012-2014), the Youth Advisory Group created by the Director of United Nations Population Fund (2004-2006), the Latin American and Caribbean Youth Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (1999-2004) and Profamilia-Colombia (1998-2004). In past years, Marcela has supported initiatives aimed at increasing access to youth-friendly services and comprehensive sexuality education; to increase access to safe and legal abortion in Latin American and African countries and to develop cervical cancer prevention and treatment initiatives in African countries. As founder and director of IWORDS Global, she is the leading force behind the work we do. Why do you love working at IWORDS Global? “Because it is a continuous learning. Each NGO, agency, network with which we work is different and brings particular strengths and challenges. To answer to their needs we need to constantly explore new ways of seeing and doing things.” Why do you feel passionate about working with NGOs and other humanitarian and development agencies? “I believe transforming our world -the overall goal of the SDGs- requires an input of and collaboration among different stakeholders. Organizations, agencies, networks and other stakeholders committed to the rights, development and humanitarian agendas need to be strong to be able to contribute in a meaningful way: they need to identify their niche, develop innovative programs in collaboration with the communities and individuals, show their impact, share their successes and failures with others and spend the money wisely.”
María Fernanda is an expert in the field of gender equality and Gender-Based Violence prevention. She holds a BA in International Relations and Latin American Studies with a minor in Sociocultural Anthropology from New York University and has completed all coursework for a Master’s degree in Gender Equality and Violence, with a double speciality in Research and Equality Agent from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. María Fernanda has over 9 years of experience in project development, implementation, evaluation and management in developing countries on issues of human rights, women empowerment, economic development, political participation, prevention of Gender-Based Violence, SRHR and global health. She also possesses extensive experience working with youth in Europe, Africa and Latin America. She is a researcher with demonstrated experience conducting empirical research and the development of tools, documents of recommendation, roadmaps of action, etc. After collaborating with us for years on different initiatives, she fully joined the IWORDS Global team in 2016 and is currently our resident gender expert advisor. She has recently worked on consultancies for the International Organization for Migration (11 African Countries) and the Norwegian Red Cross (Nepal, Colombia, Guatemala, Panama) in interventions related to gender equality, urban violence, resilience and sustainability. Why do you love working at IWORDS Global? “Having worked for organizations big and small I know first-hand the many challenges faced by development organizations and how helpful it can be to have some extra support. I love being able to help so many different organizations improve and innovate their work and it’s wonderful to see the fantastic work they all do.” What is your favourite memory working in the field? “Working in the field is one of the most rewarding parts of our work. It’s fantastic to be able to see the work being done on the ground and meet the local personnel and beneficiaries of the projects and initiatives. My favourite memory is probably of a project we did with Red Cross Norway and the Guatemalan Red Cross. The work they do is absolutely fantastic and it was amazing to be able to meet the young people involved in the initiative. Their resilience and warmth were truly admirable.”
Alzbeta brings her experience from a world of travel. For over a decade, she was a Senior Operations Consultant for the UK leading independent travel company, Trailfinders. She is now responsible for the smooth running of our company. She coordinates translation and design projects including communication with clients and internal/external translators and designers. She works closely with them to ensure quality and timely delivery of projects to the client. She is the one who ensures IWORDS Global runs like a well-oiled machine. Why do you love working at IWORDS Global? “My role requires lot of multitasking, which I enjoy, as well as working with talented individuals who are passionate about IWORDS Global mission” What is your favourite travel memory? “My favourite travel memory takes me back to Everest basecamp (5380m) where you really feel ‘on top of the world.”
Mónica brings more than 10 years of solid practice in cooperation in Africa and the Americas. She has worked extensively with multilateral organisations, bilateral cooperation agencies, and government institutions on programmes related to Gender-Based Violence (GBV), women empowerment, humanitarian aid, early recovery and volunteering for development. Prior to joining our team, Mónica worked for UN Women, UNDP, United Nations Volunteers (UNV), the Colombian Government, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). While she worked for the Social Action and International Cooperation Agency in Colombia, she coordinated the humanitarian aid programme for the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. In our team, her human rights and gender-based approaches are key for the design, formulation, implementation, and monitoring of international cooperation strategies, plans, programs and projects. She has taken successfully led the evaluation of the Norwegian Red Cross ‘Youth Delegate Exchange Program’ in Nepal, Norway and Colombia in 2016-2017. She has great skills on negotiating with a wide range of actors at different levels, a remarkable intercultural sensitivity, and the ability to effectively work with multi-disciplinary and heterogeneous groups. She is fluent in French and Spanish and advanced level in English. Why do you love working at IWORDS Global? “I love working in a multicultural and diverse environment and I am enthusiastic about doing my best to support people and organizations that work to transform the world, always from a rights-based perspective.” What do you consider is the relevance of your role in adapting and communicating appropriately the message of the organisations with which we work? “Many organizations do a marvellous work; however, it is hard for them to communicate what they do in an effective manner. Hence stakeholders, including donors and broader audience, lose information about a work that it is worth to follow, support and understand. My job is to make this communication more efficient by connecting organizations and stakeholders through the words. It becomes easier to inform them, change mindsets and behaviour, call for action, and to support organizations including the ones with financial resources.”
Luis is an expert on urban planning, housing, development, community planning, and people’s driven provision of services, infrastructure and slum upgrading. From his previous work in the private sector and his engagement with government institutions and community-based organisations, he has gained significant practice in dealing with complex processes of urban development, disaster risk reduction, community participation, and action research. He has carried out extensive research on housing policy, environmental planning and management, and urban policies across the globe. At IWORDS Global, he delivers the technical expertise and knowledge to deal with development programmes in urban contexts. More recently, he has been involved in investigating the Disaster Risk Reduction and Resettlement Programmes that the Government of Sri Lankan is implementing throughout the country. Why do you love working at IWORDS Global? “Because we are a very passionate team working on subjects we love and always giving the best of us. We also have some common ideals of collaboration, empowerment, and justice, to try to have a better world. The work at IWORDS Global teaches you something new every day and there is always so much to share and learn.” What contribution does your experience in other sectors bring to the field of development? “From my experience in other fields, I have learnt to see my work from different angles. I think the best contribution of my experience is the ability to understand different points of view from multiple actors, sometimes with very dissimilar interests and concerns, and be able to negotiate with them to reach effective and just solutions to common problems.”
Angela is in her last year of psychology studies. Besides her studies, she has worked on clinic and family psychology, group coaching, customer services, and also on the development of artistic and theatrical abilities in children and youth groups. She has great leadership and team building capabilities, bringing always innovating and inspiring ideas to the group. She is a very determined and resourceful person with excellent team management and communication skills, someone who proudly adheres to the principles of social commitment, care, and enquiry. Why do you love working at IWORDS Global? “The work at IWORDS Global is interesting and enriching. All the projects a challenge and a new learning with them. I enjoy collaborating with IWORDS Global because the team is very talented and passionate provide me with continuous support and feedback. The work with a social focus gives me a new perspective what I can do with my profession and life and allows me to contribute making this world to a better place.” How does your experience in arts and psychology influence the work you do at IWORDS Global? “My experience in Psychology and arts has strengthened my communication, creativity and other abilities, also gave me strategies in the field of research. This combination is very interesting and is very beneficial in my work with IWORDS Global.“
Angela is an undergraduate student of psychology in Bogotá. She also has a practical experience in customer service, business, sales support and library services. She is currently a member of the research group ‘Communities and Social Action’ at her college, as well as a member of the University Choir. Why do you love working at IWORDS Global? “Because it is an experience where you can learn all the time. Also because you can organize your time and your rhythm of work and feel really comfortable to ask for help from anybody in the team.“ How do you consider your experience at IWORDS Global may direct your professional development? “I think IWORDS Global is an excellent opportunity for me to use my skills and talents, and to develop other, like teamwork, discipline, technical writing and languages. Additionally, the work in a social entrepreneurship company as this one allows you to learn many things about how other organizations such as NGOs operate and carry out their projects in the real world. All these are really important skills for the professional development of a psychologist. Supporting IWORDS Global also enables me to interact with other professionals.”
Vendula is our graphic designer. She studied at Secondary Graphic Art School, majoring in advertising design and is a qualified Corel Draw tutor. She brings a wealth of experience from the world of visual design, having led promotional activities, with the design of leaflets, brochures and posters. Vendula also has an extensive experience designing websites, with the use of infographics. She has also worked with a number of NGOs in the Czech Republic, advertising their services and activities using graphics design, managing their web platforms (institutional pages, social networks) and their media communication, organizing events and their photo documentation. Since joining IWORDS Global, Vendula has participated in design projects for some of our biggest clients such as Red Cross Norway and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Vendula holds a Bachelor’s degree in marketing communication and is currently working towards her Master’s degree in the same field. Why do you love working at IWORDS Global? “Each task I work on has different requirements, so my work is never the same. IWORDS Global works on very interesting projects. Some design needs to highlight an issue other needs to find a solution. I enjoy the variety and thinking process behind it.” What is the most challenging part of your job? “My job is to produce a creative design that converts plain text into pictures. I enjoy it because I am drawn to beauty, colours and innovation.”