André is from Brazil. He was a NYLESA member from August 2019 until September 2020. Currently, André works for the UN and is based in South Africa.    

Tell us about your work in addressing gender-based violence. What is your specific work and what makes you passionate about it?

In Brazil, I volunteered for seven years as coordinator to a multisectoral service that provided no-cost legal, social services, and psychological assistance to low-income women survivors of Gender-Based Violence in the outskirts of Brasília. From this experience, I saw how gender-based violence is a serious violation of women’s human rights, preventing them from freely enjoying their rights, not only to safety, but also bodily autonomy, nutrition, housing, economic autonomy, sexual and reproductive choices, etc. Dealing with those cases allowed me to reflect on how important men’s involvement is in promoting gender equality as a basic value for society.

What would be your message for the 16 Days of Activism Against the Gender-based Violence?

I would say, “Fighting domestic violence is a responsibility for all of us, men and women. It is critical that men and boys are active participants and promoters of change to strengthen gender equality as a basic human right.”

Being attached to UN affects our individual lives and the lives of our families. How does it affect your work and career?

Being attached to UN brings me the need to be prepared for new personal and professional challenges and always try to familiarize myself with new situations and learn about new cultures. Of course, it is a challenge to be out of my comfort zone so often, but I believe it opens my mind to new personal and professional experiences that otherwise, I would not have had the chance to enjoy.