Central Asia and Eastern European Region
Daniela Drandic of RODA and Elena Atva of the White Ribbon Alliance are leading the Central Asia and Eastern European Regional Caucus. Learn more about them, their passion for advocacy, and what you can expect from the caucus.
Daniela Drandić, RODA – Parents in Action
Daniela Drandić is head of the Reproductive Rights Program at RODA – Parents in Action. Several years ago while pregnant with her son in Croatia, Daniela had the experience that transformed her into the advocate she is today. She was forcibly hospitalized against her will and given a cesarean section she did not need or want. Afterwards, she decided to dedicate herself to improving the maternity care system in Croatia. Today she helps to lead Roda as it provides evidence-based maternity care resources, and advocates for the adoption of a mother-friendly hospital program that encourages women to speak up for their own rights in maternity care.
“We’re already affecting a cultural change in the region. Today for the first time, what happens to a woman during pregnancy and birth is now open to discussion and debate. We have begun to teach women that no means no, even in the birth room. It will take a long time to make these changes last, but we’re in this for the long-term and won’t give up.”
Elena Ateva, White Ribbon Alliance
A long-time attorney and human rights activist in the Eastern Europe region, Elena Ateva currently works as a maternal and newborn health policy advisor for the White Ribbon Alliance. She began her advocacy work for women’s rights in childbirth in Bulgaria, where she was a co-founder of Rodilnitza, a nonprofit that advocates for women in pregnancy and childbirth. She also worked with Roda to help organize the first conference on women’s rights in childbirth in the Eastern European region.
“I get motivated by women’s stories of childbirth. I see childbirth as the entry point for empowerment, as this single experience can either leave a woman feeling very powerful or completely devastated. If a woman believes in herself in childbirth, she will believe she can take on anything in life.”
What to expect at the caucus
The caucus will be dynamic and address many reproductive rights issues facing both young and older women in the region. It will provide a valuable forum for building relationships and advocacy collaboration. Participants will help develop a final charter on the rights of women and adolescents in childbirth, which will serve as a valuable advocacy tool to demonstrate energy, momentum, and action to policymakers at home.