Annie is a public health professional, pleasure propagandist and ‘guerrilla girl’ of HIV prevention. She founded ’The Pleasure Project’ in 2004, in frustration of endless AIDS meetings where no one talked about people’s motivations for having sex, or even pretended sexually transmitted infections were airborne. Annie has over 20 peer-reviewed articles in respected health journals and more in the mainstream media, and has been a speaker at international conferences, promoting pleasure in sex education and as the ultimate indicator of female empowerment. She has also published articles on nutrition and disease prevention services.
Annie has learnt from many, through her varied career in both delivery of sex education and frontline services, to managing grants and commissioning health programmes. Annie developed her passion for sexual and public health, through working with one of the UK’s first teenage pregnancy projects in the UK, domestic violence refuges in London and by starting many of the world’s first female condom programmes. She also worked in South Africa during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. She has lived and worked in the UK, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand in a variety of roles. Annie has a degree in Psychology and a Masters (MSc) in Health Policy from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Arushi became a Pleasure Propagandist in 2006 and started with training young people to sexy up their sex education in India, the UK, Bangladesh and Vietnam, doing pleasure body mapping at the Bali conference on AIDS in Asia-Pacific, and encouraging all to draw on our Great Wall of Vagina in Delhi. She has been providing technical consultancy to several international NGOs and UN agencies across Asia and parts of Africa on adolescent and youth sexuality, gender and rights, and sex-positive and pleasure-based approaches to sexual health.
She has conducted multi-country assessments, scoping studies and desk reviews, developed toolkits and training curricula, done qualitative and participatory evaluations of large-scale, multi-country projects on ASRHR, women’s rights and advocacy, and facilitated regional and international consultations and workshops for UN and government officials, NGO personnel, service providers, and diverse young people, including key populations.
Previously, she worked for the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) South Asia Regional Office and was responsible for leading the strategy on adolescents’ and young people’s SRHR programmes across South Asia. She also worked for Amnesty International’s India Office and the Commonwealth Youth Programme’s Asia Centre. Arushi has a Masters degree in Globalisation and Communications from the University of Leicester, UK.
Elena is a seasoned expert in digital media, she has experience campaigning for SRHR and sexual identity diversity inclusion, with special attention toward LGBTQIA+ rights, in youth led organizations like CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, NGOs such as Chayn Italia, and cultural institutions. Working as our Communication and Advocacy Associate, Elena offers a background in both B.A. Linguistic and Cultural Mediation as well as M.A. Gender Studies thereby meeting a vital and much overlooked intersection between cross-cultural communication and activism. Elena is the founder of Fra(m)menti, a grasroot transfeminist queer collective that mobilizes ideas through alternative pedagogies such as storytelling and collective learning through art. Elena believes firmly in the importance to bridge the gap between grassroot feminist approaches and advocacy.
Shamiso is an intern currently studying International Development with Conflict and Humanitarianism Action at the University of Bath. She has a background with diversity and inclusion having worked at two charities in the Disability & Inclusion (D&I) role. Her most recent role involved her EDI benchmarking policies and with the focus on employees with disabilities to improve and promote the organisations disability inclusion. She also coordinated and organised National Inclusion Week 2023 activities and events for the large organisation to celebrate diversity and inclusion. Her work EDI work helped her bring an intersectional lens into the workplace but also everyday life. Shamiso became extremely passionate about Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and sex positivity when she did her bachelor’s degree in Politics & International Relations. University gave Shamiso an outlet to educate herself on SRHR and also liberation for exploration which has continued to fuel her passion in spreading awareness about sex positivity.
Francesca has been flirting with pleasure for over 10 years through conversations with Arushi and Anne and joined the team in 2021. Born in Italy, she migrated to India where she has now spent close to 20 years working from the grassroots to the national and regional levels on women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Francesca’s motivation to work in the development field is moved by her total rejection for any form of discrimination and oppression, and her total commitment to equity and equality.
Francesca merits having single-handedly managed and coordinated the 5th Asia Pacific Conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in India in 2007. With the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s South Asia Regional Office, she managed grants and partnerships on several issues, including youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, comprehensive sexuality education, prevention of girls’ trafficking. Most recently she supported a national NGO leading their programme portfolio, besides an in-depth engagement in advocacy and operations.
Francesca has a strong analytical and managerial mind and leads the operations at The Pleasure Project. She has an MA in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics and and MA in Peace Keeping Management and a degree in International Relations from the Universita’ di Torino, Italy.