2019 Advocacy-for-Cure Academy

Mateenah Odoi Naa Djama

Nationality: Ghana
Institution: Act for Change
Country of work: Ghana

What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?

At 17, I was raped and impregnated by an uncle's friend; I was in my final year of senior high school. I was stigmatised and nearly thrown out of school. My antenatal visits made me a lot friends mostly pregnant young girls with different stories. Two girls with HIV caught my attention and their story brought me to tears, being pregnant and HIV positive in a society like mine was unbearable. I then promised to be an advocate for teenage pregnancy and HIV and right after delivery I scouted for such networks and have been volunteering since hoping to make a change, make an impact on my society and hoping to find a cure for HIV.

What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?

I wanted a way to involve the youth in something developmental and empowering but at the same time fun and healthy so me being a choreographer and skills trainer, I gathered them twice a week, one-week day and one weekend. We dance and sweat off, brainstorm on issues try finding solutions and learning bead making as a skill to help make them independent especially with the teenage mothers living with HIV. In addition, we have social media invasion once a month on HIV related issues.

How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?

The knowledge and skills I would acquire from the advocacy-for-cure academy would help me first to understand some enquiries I have about HIV cure research and secondly help me impact what I know on my network. The information would further be disseminated through workshops facilitation, social media campaigns, youth group’s recruitment and organization of community durbars. It would answer some questions my network has, clear some doubts the society has on HIV as a whole. It would make my work easier and my community entry flexible.