OUR LEADING TEAM

MARCELA RUEDA GOMEZ

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Marcela brings with her a wealth of expertise and knowledge in the area of international development, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and youth rights and participation. Her expertise also extends to the area of institutional strengthening focused on strategic planning, elaboration of sustainability plans for NGOs, proposal preparation and development of decision-making bodies and evaluation. In her 19 years of experience Marcela has served as an advocate, board member, consultant and/or technical expert/writer for various international and local organizations and networks including UNESCO (2017), UNICEF (2017-2018), the International Planned Parenthood Federation (2003-2018), The Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement (2015-2017), the High Impact Practices on Family Planning Advisory Group (IPPF Representative 2012-2014), the Youth Advisory Group created by the Director of United Nations Population Fund (2004-2006), the Latin American and Caribbean Youth Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (1999-2004) and Profamilia-Colombia (1998-2004). In past years, Marcela has supported initiatives aimed at increasing access to youth-friendly services and comprehensive sexuality education; to increase access to safe and legal abortion in Latin American and African countries and to develop cervical cancer prevention and treatment initiatives in African countries. As founder and director of IWORDS Global, she is the leading force behind the work we do.

Why do you love working at IWORDS Global?

“Because it is continuous learning. Each NGO, agency and network we work with is different and brings particular strengths and challenges. To answer to their needs we need to constantly explore new ways of seeing and doing things.”

Why do you feel passionate about working with NGOs and other humanitarian and development agencies?

“I believe transforming our world -the overall goal of the SDGs- requires an input of and collaboration among different stakeholders. Organizations, agencies, networks and other stakeholders committed to the rights, development and humanitarian agendas need to be strong to be able to contribute in a meaningful way: they need to identify their niche, develop innovative programs in collaboration with the communities and individuals, show their impact, share their successes and failures with others, spend the limited funding available wisely and unlock new capital.”

MARÍA FERNANDA SALAZAR RODRÍGUEZ

MONITORING, EVALUATION  AND LEARNING COORDINATOR/GENDER SPECIALIST

María Fernanda is an expert in the field of gender equality and Gender-Based Violence prevention. She holds a BA in International Relations and Latin American Studies with a minor in Sociocultural Anthropology from New York University and has completed all coursework for a Master’s degree in Gender Equality and Violence, with a double speciality in Research and Equality Agent from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. María Fernanda has over 9 years of experience in project development, implementation, evaluation and management in developing countries on issues of human rights, women empowerment, economic development, political participation, prevention of Gender-Based Violence, SRHR and global health. She also possesses extensive experience working with youth in Europe, Africa and Latin America. She is a researcher with demonstrated experience in conducting empirical research and the development of tools, documents of recommendation, roadmaps of action, etc. After collaborating with us for years on different initiatives, she fully joined the IWORDS Global team in 2016 and is currently our resident gender expert advisor. She has recently worked on consultancies for the International Organization for Migration (11 African Countries) and the Norwegian Red Cross (Nepal, Colombia, Guatemala, Panama) in interventions related to gender equality, urban violence, resilience and sustainability.

Why do you love working at IWORDS Global?

“Having worked for organizations big and small I know first-hand the many challenges faced by development organizations and how helpful it can be to have some extra support. I love being able to help so many different organizations improve and innovate their work and it’s wonderful to see the fantastic work they all do.”

What is your favourite memory working in the field?

“Working in the field is one of the most rewarding parts of our work. It’s fantastic to be able to see the work being done on the ground and meet the local personnel and beneficiaries of the projects and initiatives. My favourite memory is probably of a project we did with Red Cross Norway and the Guatemalan Red Cross. The work they do is absolutely fantastic and it was amazing to be able to meet the young people involved in the initiative. Their resilience and warmth were truly admirable.”

ALZBETA KUCEROVA

OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

Alzbeta brings her experience from a world of travel. For over a decade, she was a Senior Operations Consultant for the UK leading independent travel company, Trailfinders. She is now responsible for the smooth running of our company. She coordinates the translation and design projects, including communication with clients and internal/external translators and designers. She works closely with them to ensure quality and timely delivery of projects to the client. She is the one who ensures IWORDS Global runs like a well-oiled machine.

Why do you love working at IWORDS Global?

“My role requires a lot of multitasking, which I enjoy, as well as working with talented individuals who are passionate about IWORDS Global mission.”

What is your favourite travel memory?

“My favourite travel memory takes me back to Everest base camp (5380m) where you really feel ‘on top of the world.”

MÓNICA ROPAÍN

IN-HOUSE TRANSLATOR/ EDITOR

Mónica brings more than 10 years of solid practice in cooperation in Africa and the Americas. She has worked extensively with multilateral organisations, bilateral cooperation agencies, and government institutions on programmes related to Gender-Based Violence (GBV), women empowerment, humanitarian aid, early recovery and volunteering for development. Prior to joining our team, Mónica worked for UN Women, UNDP, United Nations Volunteers (UNV), the Colombian Government, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). While she worked for the Social Action and International Cooperation Agency in Colombia, she coordinated the humanitarian aid programme for the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. In our team, her human rights and gender-based approaches are key for the design, formulation, implementation, and monitoring of international cooperation strategies, plans, programs and projects. She has taken successfully led the evaluation of the Norwegian Red Cross ‘Youth Delegate Exchange Program’ in Nepal, Norway and Colombia in 2016-2017. She has great skills in negotiating with a wide range of actors at different levels, a remarkable intercultural sensitivity, and the ability to effectively work with multi-disciplinary and heterogeneous groups. She is fluent in French and Spanish and advanced level in English.

Why do you love working at IWORDS Global?

“I love working in a multicultural and diverse environment and I am enthusiastic about doing my best to support people and organizations that work to transform the world, always from a rights-based perspective.”

What do you consider is the relevance of your role in adapting and communicating appropriately the message of the organisations with which we work?

“Many organizations do a marvellous work; however, it is hard for them to communicate what they do in an effective manner. Hence stakeholders, including donors and broader audience, lose information about a work that it is worth to follow, support and understand. My job is to make this communication more efficient by connecting organizations and stakeholders through the words. It becomes easier to inform them, change mindsets and behaviour, call for action, and to support organizations including the ones with financial resources.”

ANGELA RUEDA FORERO

GENERAL SUPPORT TO PROJECTS

Angela has completed her psychology studies.  Besides her studies, she has worked in clinic and family psychology, group coaching, customer services, and also on the development of artistic and theatrical abilities in children and youth groups. She has great leadership and team building capabilities, bringing always innovating and inspiring ideas to the group. She is a very determined and resourceful person with excellent team management and communication skills, someone who proudly adheres to the principles of social commitment, care, and enquiry.

Why do you love working at IWORDS Global?

“The work at IWORDS Global is interesting and enriching. All the projects a challenge and new learning with them. I enjoy collaborating with IWORDS Global because the team is very talented and passionate provide me with continuous support and feedback. The work with a social focus gives me a new perspective on what I can do with my profession and life and allows me to contribute to making this world a better place.”

How does your experience in arts and psychology influence the work you do at IWORDS Global?

“My experience in Psychology and arts has strengthened my communication, creativity and other abilities, also gave me strategies in the field of research. This combination is very interesting and is very beneficial in my work with IWORDS Global.“

VENDULA KUCEROVA

DESIGNER

Vendula is our graphic designer. She studied at Secondary Graphic Art School, majoring in advertising design and is a qualified Corel Draw tutor. She brings a wealth of experience from the world of visual design, having led promotional activities, with the design of leaflets, brochures and posters. Vendula also has extensive experience in designing websites, with the use of infographics. She has also worked with a number of NGOs in the Czech Republic, advertising their services and activities using graphics design, managing their web platforms (institutional pages, social networks) and their media communication, organizing events and their photo documentation. Since joining IWORDS Global, Vendula has participated in design projects for some of our biggest clients such as Red Cross Norway and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Vendula holds a Bachelor’s degree in marketing communication and is currently working towards her Master’s degree in the same field.

Why do you love working at IWORDS Global?

“Each task I work on has different requirements, so my work is never the same. IWORDS Global works on very interesting projects. Some design needs to highlight an issue other needs to find a solution. I enjoy the variety and thinking process behind it.”

What is the most challenging part of your job?

“My job is to produce a creative design that converts plain text into pictures. I enjoy it because I am drawn to beauty, colours and innovation.”

DEEPA ACHARYA

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT/SUPPORT

Deepa – Experience on humanitarian settings, Emergency and Recovery programmes, implementation of Winterization Cash Grant, Livelihood Cash Grant and Training, Cash for Work projects and Participatory Approach to Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA) for shelter programming. A specialist on mobile data collection platform known as ‘MAGPI’ with experience on supporting Base-line Assessments. Contributor to Concept Notes for programmes with Livelihood and Shelter Software components in a specific recovery scenario. Knowledge and practice of mainstreaming Gender Equality and Social Inclusion, Community Engagement and Accountability, Planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting- information management.

Why do you like working at IWORDS Global?

“It has always been a great time since I started working at IWORDS Global. The team with diverse expertise makes me realize that there is so much to learn and explore in life. For me, every day has always been an excellent learning opportunity. Slack, a cloud-based collaboration tool used in IWORDS has replaced the geographical barrier of us working from different parts of the world. Colleagues who have been working hard on every project make me feel like I am in the wonderland where I see the amazing skills of my colleagues. And I have always been impressed with the work that IWORDS does in gender, LGBT and GBV.”

How your experience working in Nepal, in humanitarian work, is going to enrich the IWORDS Global team?

“I believe that people in a disaster, people in conflict and people in need can always be helped in a better way, meaning every time there is something to learn and improve. I bring experiences of working in the emergency and recovery context which I think itself is now an asset to IWORDS Global. Secondly, IWORDS Global has now a resource, which has experience working with ‘Cash Transfers’. I can also contribute with my knowledge of ‘Rapid Mobile Assessment’ (RAMP), e.g. mobile data collection platform, which is more and more demanded by many humanitarian actors, to collect the information electronically and analyze it quickly.”

DANIELA RUEDA

ADMIN SUPPORT

Daniela is an undergraduate student of psychology in Bogotá. She also has practical experience in customer service, business, sales support and library services. She is currently a member of the research group ‘Communities and Social Action’ at her college, as well as a member of the University Choir.

Why do you love working at IWORDS Global?

“Because it is an experience where you can learn all the time. Also because you can organize your time and your rhythm of work and feel really comfortable to ask for help from anybody in the team.

How do you consider your experience at IWORDS Global may direct your professional development?

“I think IWORDS Global is an excellent opportunity for me to use my skills and talents, and to develop other, like teamwork, discipline, technical writing and languages. Additionally, the work in a social entrepreneurship company as this one allows you to learn many things about how other organizations such as NGOs operate and carry out their projects in the real world. All these are really important skills for the professional development of a psychologist. Supporting IWORDS Global also enables me to interact with other professionals.

MARÍA ALEJANDRA RODRÍGUEZ BUITRAGO

TRANSLATIONS AND PROJECTS ASSISTANT  

Alejandra has completed her studies in anthropology with an emphasis on culture and power fields from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. She has a specific formation on social research, psychosocial attention to victims and qualitative methodologies. Some of her jobs at Colombian Historical Memory Centre has been as a volunteer, in programs involving participatory investigations in which people, victims of the conflict or in a situation of vulnerability, tell their experiences through artistic languages that help them to process traumatic events. She has also been part of researches that in short time figured out a successful analysis of particular social problematics and proposed actions to influence on institutional politics.

MARÍA CLARA BLAS 

LEAD CONSULTANT EVALUATION-HUMANITARIAN

María Clara is an expert on supporting vulnerable and migrants’ populations, with a specific interest in the protection and humanitarian assistance, migration issues, counter-trafficking, reintegration initiatives and capacity building.  She has over eight years’ experience working on coordination and programme management with agencies such as the International Organization for Migration and the Ministry of Health in Argentina.  She has a proven track record in the monitoring of large grants, training, investigation and analysis of cases related to human rights violations, gender inequality, discrimination and stigma, political advocacy, labour market access, and social inclusion. Clara holds a bachelor of Economics, a Master’s in development and management of social programmes and a diploma in humanitarian action. Languages: Spanish, English, pre-intermediate level of French and Italian.

MARÍA JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ ZARATE

EVALUATION CONSULTANT/STRATEGIC PLANNING  

María José is a magister in International Law (Economical, Public and Private) and International Affairs from Complutense University of Madrid and a Bachelor degree from the Faculty of Finance, Government and International Affairs of Externado University of Colombia. Extensive knowledge and experience in designing and managing projects –PMP certification in progress- Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, Social Responsibility, institutional strengthening and consultant on multiple organizations in topics like: strategic planning, capacity building, development and humanitarian programmes (for youth, women and victims of conflicts), entrepreneurship and business plans. Professor in business management and areas related to new IT trends (e-business, e-marketing and e-commerce). Knowledge in English (advanced) and French (medium level).

VALENTINA RANGEL PARRA

JUNIOR EVALUATION CONSULTANT

Valentina holds a Bachelor’s degree in Government and International Relations from the Universidad Externado de Colombia where she acquired basic knowledge in financial administration, micro and macroeconomics and international law. As a trilingual (Spanish, English and French) professional in government, her main interest is the design, implementation and evaluation of public policies, social and international cooperation projects in human rights and humanitarian action. Her academic experience in the design of public policies and social projects, during her studies, revolves around issues of human rights, sex work, early childhood and education. She carried out fieldwork in Bogotá Colombia with sex workers (2017) and with children and adolescents difficult to adopt from the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (2016). In the second semester of 2018 as a degree option, she worked as a junior consultant with the Universidad Externado de Colombia for DescLAB, in a Capstone project on inclusive education for people with disabilities in Bogotá. As part of this project, she participated in the analysis of quantitative and qualitative information, in the preparation of the field work and execution of this and in the writing of the district report. During this time Valentina also worked as a research assistant in co-production of public policies. Regarding her studies in international relations, during her career, she emphasized on international human rights law and on security and conflict studies. And finally, this is complemented by her studies at the Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, during the first semester of 2018, where she deepens into issues of immigration, third age, diversity and interculturality, humanitarian action and studies of peace and reconciliation.

FERNANDO DÍAZ DE LA VEGA SÁNCHEZ

TRANSLATOR

Fernando brings expertise and knowledge from the field of translations. As he had a bicultural education and lived abroad, he had enriched his abilities and helped him to identify nuances of the English language. He had worked on the transcription and translation for legal purposes: police questionings, interviews, telephone conversations, and also teaching private English lessons for teenagers. His work experience developed skills in original translation; working mainly with transcription and translation of conversations led him to find the best ways to translate specific figures of speech, including slang. He also holds studies about Music theory and composition studies at the Centro de Investigación y Estudios de la Música (CIEM-México) and a Mixing and Mastering Diploma at Dubspot (NYC).

ADRIANA SERRANO MURCIA

CONSULTANT

Adriana is a gender expert in the fields of gender-based violence, sexual violence and empowerment of victims of armed conflicts. Adriana brings her ten years of experience working in gender and human rights at  Colombian armed conflict. She has demonstrated experience working in policy building about women reparation, gender in land’s restitution and collective reparation, all in transitional justice and building peace contexts. She has led empowerment processes with Colombian women about her rights, leadership, peace, and transitional justice. She is a researcher interested in gender-based violence in humanitarian situations with a large experience in fieldwork and qualitative researching: For six year she was part of the Colombian Historical Memory Centre where she was involved in memory and social investigations about demobilization and reintegration of women combatants, LGBTQ sectors victims of armed conflict, and sexual violence in armed conflict. Adriana has a Government and International Relations Degree and a Human and Humanitarian Rights Postgraduate from Externado University in Colombia and is a candidate to a master’s degree in social anthropology.

 

LORENA HILLÓN

IN HOUSE TRANSLATOR

Lorena Hillón is a native of Colombia and grew up in the Washington DC area, where she acquired not only bilingual abilities but also a sensibility and understanding of living in different cultures.  She has a B.A in Languages and Sociocultural Studies from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá and an M.A in Sociology from George Mason University in Virginia. Her graduate research included gender, religion, and elections in the U.S. She has experience translating and editing in areas such as labour rights and youth employment in a multilateral context having worked at the Organization of American States (OAS). At the OAS, she worked with Ministers and officials from the Ministries of Labor of the Americas, which gave her experience with stakeholders at the highest level.  Her translation/editing experience and professional interests also include gender, feminism, immigration, education, bilingualism and race/ethnicity.

MAURICIO RAMÍREZ

DESIGNER

Mauricio is a graphic designer with a strong foundation, commitment, and knowledge of women’s rights, gender issues, equity, equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and development. He has participated in sensitization and training through seminars and workshops led by feminist groups and human rights organizations. He brings with him experience in the graphics and audiovisual areas. He established direct relations with agents of change in Bolivia and other Latin American countries, including youth, survivors of gender-based violence and sexual harassment, and other related issues. As these issues tend to be taboo in society, he has approached them by thinking outside of the box and creatively. Mauricio is also passionate about environmentalism, protecting animals on the verge of extinction, and continuously participates in activities and produces graphic materials with a political and social impact. Throughout his 10 years of experience, he constantly works on developing his skills and growing with each project and challenge that he faces.

TANYA MARINGO

CONSULTANT

Tanya has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Daystar University and a postgraduate certificate in advanced humanitarian operations from Oxford Brookes University. She has spent the past five years working for International Non-Governmental Organizations and emergency responses. Her experience involves developing strategies for women’s protection and empowerment, safe programming and disability inclusion for vulnerable populations in all sectors. Tanya has considerable knowledge in the coordination of development projects and best practices in emergency response management within East Africa. She has an excellent command of English and Kiswahili language, working knowledge of French and sign language.

KAVITHA DEVADAS

CONSULTANT

Kavitha is a researcher and advocacy professional with solid experience in arts, health and development.  She brings over nine years of knowledge and expertise on communication, advocacy and research processes –including design, implementation and training on strategies, package and policies for national and state levels.  Kavitha has a deep understanding in Politics of Health, MSF Field Communication, Gender Equality, Feminism and Humanitarian Affairs as she has accomplished training and courses related to these topics. Her current areas of interests include health, gender/sexuality and the use of arts in civic engagement.