Episode 31:

Born and raised in Canada, Victoria Watson is a health policy specialist driven to close equity gaps in sexual and reproductive health and rights. Before joining the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning, Victoria worked in Washington, D.C. at the Center for Health and Gender Equity as an SRHR research analyst exploring the impact of foreign policy and legislation on reproductive justice, health, and human rights fulfillment. In Canada, she has worked as a policy coordinator at Cancer Care Ontario facilitating patient engagement and cancer screening program design, wherein she honed a passion for generating patient-centered policies and programming. Her personal experience as a cancer survivor motivated a life-long commitment to non-communicable disease (NCD) advocacy and community engagement, and for this reason, Victoria also sits on the Governing Council of NCD Child, a global advocacy coalition championing youth health rights in global NCD control.

As a teenager, Victoria was an ambassador for Canada’s Children’s Wish Foundation, being a public speaker and sharing her story as a survivor to emphasize the need for integrated social support for cancer patients. Following her undergraduate in public policy and MSc. in Global Health, she applied her research and work experiences to better understand the social determinants to health that put youth at greater risk of preventable chronic diseases, and what health systems can do to make care more accessible, affordable, and meaningful for diverse populations. This led her to work at high-level global health organizations such as the Clinton Foundation, to working within hospitals in southern India.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Victoria’s organization operates in more than 80 countries, advancing sexual and reproductive health rights, and justice for young people and adolescents globally
  • How the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning was founded in 2013 as a movement of young people pressing to be included in the discussion around global health policy-making and discourse
  • What organizational, cultural and financial challenges the IYAFP faced as a young, global organization
  • How the IYAFP maneuvered and scaled up from being a grassroots organization to a formalized INGO
  • What advice Victoria has for nonprofits just starting out and for nonprofits that have reached a plateau and are having trouble progressing
  • What common problems organizations face when reaching a growth plateau, and why refocusing your organization on its mission can often help correct these issues
  • Why utilizing communication best practices can help strengthen your team and reorient your team around the organization’s vision
  • What practical, actionable advice Victoria has for nonprofit organizations attempting to navigate the global pandemic crisis
  • Why taking the time to do a strategic refresh can help you identify ways to adapt to crisis and your changing environment
  • Why data, communication with stakeholders, and a focus on the community you serve and its needs can help you navigate challenging times

Additional resources:

Additional resources from Wild Apricot: