I now feel part of a new family: a SCORA family.
SCORA is the IFMSA’s (International Federation of Medical Students' Associations) standing committee on reproductive health including HIV/AIDS. All participants in SCORA are committed to improving and raising awareness of reproductive health in their local communities and nations.
I'm not sure what I was expecting from SCORA but it vastly exceeded my expectations. The workshops were highly relevant. Whether it was an examination of youth rights to abortion from IPAS (an organisation I have long admired), a discussion of ‘Why is it so hard to talk about sex?’ or an examination of the problems in reproductive health in our home countries. These experiences not only fired up the indignant activist in me but also showed me that no matter what area of the world you come from, we all have things we can improve and the solutions can come from anywhere.
I was given the opportunity to run a workshop in the SCORA sessions on Advocacy. Before me stood about 20 scared participants and before long we were attracting the attention of security by shouting inappropriate words. We worked through issues and the finer points of advocacy, campaigning and policy and then started to look at implementation. The best part for me was sharing my experiences of advocacy in the UK, what has been successful and what needs improvement. I hope my advice was helpful and I am looking forward to the swathes of emails I will be receiving as I gave out so many business cards I ran out…
Apart from the exceptional content, exchange of ideas and cross-cultural learning there was another thing that made SCORA very special. On the last day we were invited to influence the future of SCORA. Contributing and altering the vision and mission and deciding what SCORA’s priorities should be for the future. This is so important. The theme of this March meeting was ‘Post 2015: Get Involved’, this doesn't just apply to us as youth trying to set the agenda we want to see in Global Health. It should apply to the running of our activities and it is so refreshing to see Joe (SCORA director) and his team leading by example.
I am taking a lot back to the UK from SCORA and it’s not just knowledge it’s an attitude and a new lease of life and inspiration to take Sexpression and Medsin to the next level.
I would also like to thank the members of SCORA who voted me best participant. It was a real surprise and has given me a sense of urgency to prove that I deserve this accolade.
This is Ellen Adams signing off, but trust me SCORA and the IFMSA you have not seen the last of me. Watch this space and bring your ear plugs.