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Staff Spotlight: Gema Granados, In-Country Coordinator, Colombia

You have a deep background in media and advocacy work. What other issues have you worked on aside from road safety?

As a communications professional, I’ve worked on health issues since the beginning of my career. My first job was with the Health Secretariat of Bogota. Since then, I´ve always worked on developing communications and advocacy strategies to improve public health outcomes, especially in areas of sexual and reproductive health, gender violence prevention and cancer control, all from a human rights approach. I´ve had the chance to work both with international organizations like the United Nations and both local and national Colombian governmental institutions.

What drew you to road safety as a public health area?

Road safety conceived as a public health issue, and furthermore, as a human rights matter is not always obvious as it has been traditionally seen as a natural collateral effect of our modern mobility and its transport modes. For me, it has been really interesting to learn that all deaths and serious injuries related to traffic can be avoided if the right approaches (safe system, human rights, vulnerabilities, gender and age perspectives, etc.) are incorporated in public policies.

What is your best advice for advocates who might just be starting out?

Public policy advocacy is like an endurance race and it can take a long time to celebrate success. My advice would be to keep looking at the ultimate goal – saving lives — while walking through the process and reinvigorate the commitment every day with your personal beliefs and values. In my case, means helping make this world a better place.

You have spent the last year doing incredible work with the road safety coalition — all while in lockdown. What’s kept you sane?

Living in the countryside, looking at the beautiful Andes mountains that surround Bogota, walking in nature and playing with my little daughter.