Institution: Lean on Me Foundation
Country of work: Kenya
What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?
My motivation for becoming a HIV cure advocate is based on my knowledge of the power of advocacy. I was diagnosed with HIV when there was no treatment in my country. Through advocacy we managed to get antiretroviral treatment and to ensure the treatment reached everyone whom needed it even those in hard to reach areas. We have since been using advocacy to address other barriers to healthier lives for people living with HIV such as TB co-infection, gender inequality, stigma and discrimination and criminalizing laws. If advocacy worked for treatment availability and access, it will work for a cure.
What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?
I am a passionate advocate for the health, development and human rights of women and girls living with HIV and a pioneer amongst the young women and adolescent girls living with HIV movement in Kenya. My passion for advocacy is driven by my lived experience, and the inequality and vulnerability that young women and adolescent girls living with HIV experience in my community. In response to these challenges – I founded the Lean on Me Foundation – an organization that provides comprehensive care and support to adolescent girls and young women living with HIV and affected by TB in Kenya. I have an extensive background working on Community Development, am currently the Executive Director of Lean on Me Foundation, the Alternate Board Member of the Communities Delegation on the Board of the Global Fund, Vice Chair of the Global Fund Implementer Group and represent Communities on the TB Stakeholders Association of TB Alliance. I am part of the Global Fund Advocates Network; Steering Committee member of Women 4 Global Fund and a member of the Global Fund’s Community Rights and Gender (CRG) Division Advisory Group. In Kenya, I am member of Gender Technical Committee on HIV and AIDS, and formerly the Global Fund Coordinator of the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) Global.
How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?
The knowledge I get from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will go a long way in making our advocacy efforts evidence informed and convincing. This knowledge will enable me and my fellow advocates to create an empowered movement within our community that will be bold enough to approach relevant stakeholders on developing more interest and investing in cure. I will also use the platforms I am already engaged in to advocate for cure in a more effective and impactful way.