Genevieve Westrope

Country representing

Canada

Languages

English

Education

  • University of East Anglia; University of Ottawa; University of Toronto
  • BA; BEd; MEd

Current organisation

The Unmentionables

Current role

Managing Director

Skills and Expertise

Education
Project management
Teaching and training
Women’s rights

Areas of interest

Education
Health
Human Rights
Peace and Conflict

Website & Social Links

I am passionate about

I have always been most passionate about education. Or at least, I have been for the past 15 years. I was exposed to the reality that not everyone has access to education at a very young age, and that stuck with me since. Education is a human right that is so often violated for a whole host of reasons, but is one of the greatest tools for peace building, empowerment, gender equality, and positive change. When I started out as a teacher 9 years ago, I never thought that I would end up in the type of education I am now, which is sexual and reproductive health education. But, after engaging with it over the past year, I can't imagine a more neglected and perfect area of education to be involved in. The organization I work for, The Unmentionables, provides sexual and reproductive health education and items, as well as empowerment and protection programming to forcibly displaced populations around the world. It is working within this context that has reminded me that sexual and reproductive health education is something every person needs. It's become my new passion, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Actions

In the year I've worked with The Unmentionables, I have been able to see the incredible impact that is possible when working with like-minded, dedicated and innovative people. Since January, when we launched the majority of our programs--which include Education, Health & Hygiene and Protection--we have directly reached over 8,000 people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes. My contribution to this is mostly through education, where I am responsible for developing our current curriculum and have been lucky enough to train 12 incredible women in Greece and Uganda in it. These women have then gone on to teach hundreds of other women in their native languages, in a space that we created that is safe, comfortable and inspiring. Through this education, men and women are able to make informed decisions about their health, their bodies and their futures. Women, who didn't before know of their reproductive rights, feel empowered and powerful. Men, who have either perpetrated, are a survivor of, or witnessed sexual and gender-based violence, are guided through themes of conflict resolution, gender roles, masculinity and the responsibility they have to be violence-free. The more work we do, the more work I realize there is to do. I plan on being part of the solution that fills the huge gaps that exist in sexual and reproductive health education and information for a long, long time.