Women Deliver is a global advocate for girls’ and women’s health, rights, and wellbeing. Women Deliver partners with many international organizations, from UN agencies, the private sector, NGOs, and civil society members to drive progress in working to protect, respect, and fulfill girls’ and women’s rights to health and gender equality, with a focus on maternal, reproductive, and sexual health and rights.
Could you introduce yourself briefly, your title, your academic or professional background, anything you’d like us to know about you?
Thank you so much for this opportunity to talk with you! My name is Tamara Windau-Melmer, I have served as an advocacy campaign and coalition development strategist in various roles in my career to date. I have done work in non-profit program and grant management, and I specialize in capacity building and advocacy for improved sexual, reproductive, maternal, youth, and child health and rights. I have worked on leading and building partnerships amongst diverse coalitions, from the civil society grassroots community to government ministries.
I have lived and worked in numerous developing and developed countries across several continents. I have a Master of Public Health degree from The George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C., and I hold a certificate in public health (CPH), and am a certified project manager and trainer. I am currently serving as Women Deliver’s Senior Manager for its Youth Program and am quite proud to be speaking on the behalf of our amazing Young Leaders today.
When did you first join Women Deliver?
I first joined Women Deliver as an independent consultant in 2013, working on an as-needed basis for the Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. I developed many of the toolkits and e-course curriculum Young Leaders take part in through the program. For example, I authored “Respecting, Protecting, and Fulfilling our Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: A Toolkit for Young Leaders”, and the “Women Deliver Youth E-Course: Designing Projects & Developing Proposals for Change,” a multi-module curriculum for Young Leaders to develop and implement local advocacy and communications projects on issues related to maternal and reproductive health.
I started working full-time for Women Deliver as a Senior Associate of Advocacy and Policy in March 2015, which I really enjoyed. However, when the Manager position for the Youth Program became available in August 2015 and I was asked if I would like to serve in this position, it was easy for me to say “YES! Absolutely!”
What was the motivation behind joining Women Deliver?
My motivation behind wanting to be the Manager of the Youth Program was simple…it was the Young Leaders themselves. I knew how exceptional each of the Young Leaders was, and my experience to date confirms this. I also work with an exceptional team in the New York office, and it really is my pleasure to have the opportunity to support Young Leaders and their experience with the program, and to continuously strive to grow and improve the program. I get to tell people that I have the best job in the world, and it is true, I feel very privileged to serve the Young Leaders Program and the individuals doing amazing and diverse sexual and reproductive health and rights work around the world.
Could you tell us what differentiates Women Deliver from the other organizations working on women’s right, according to you, why is Women Deliver unique?
Women Deliver believes that when the world invests in girls and women, everybody wins.As a leading, global advocate for girls’ and women’s health, rights, and wellbeing, Women Deliver brings together diverse voices and interests to drive progress in maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights.
At Women Deliver, we believe that the health and rights of young people are a priority. They are powerful spokespeople for their own needs and agents of change who can transform policies, programs, and communities for the better. Across the globe, young people are driving social progress and directly influencing the sustainability and resilience of their communities and nations.
Women Deliver is unique in that we are working to break down silos across issues and generations. We view girls’ and women’s health, rights, and wellbeing holistically and know that it will take everyone working together (young people, men, women, the private sector, UN agencies, governments, civil society, NGOs, etc.) to implement solutions for change.
Could you briefly tell us about the Women Deliver Young Leaders Program, what does Women Deliver hope to achieve through this program?
The Women Deliver Young Leaders Program (YLP) elevates the incredible potential and passion of young advocates by providing opportunities for Young Leaders to build their capacity and skills, while finding national and global platforms for them to share their voices and experiences. Given the right tools, young people can shift the global health paradigm to be more responsive to the needs of adolescents and youth. The YLP seeks to ensure that adolescents and young people are involved and provided with the information, services, and opportunities needed to live to their full potential.
The YLP has engaged 400 youth advocates under the age of 30 to date, representing more than 100 countries, supplementing and strengthening their work through online learning communities, high-level networking and speaking opportunities, seed grants, and scholarships to attend and participate in the tri-annual Women Deliver Conference.
Stay tuned for part II of the Interview with Tamara Windau-Melmer from Women Deliver.