Institution: Education & Development Opportunity - Uganda
Country of work: Uganda
What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?
I grew up in the community adversely affected by HIV/AIDS, myself being orphaned at 10 and growing up with my peasant grandmother, in a poverty-stricken home where access to the basic necessities of life was difficult. I know what it means to lose your mother to HIV/AIDS; I know how HIV/AIDS devastates lives. Therefore, I conceived a dream – a joyful burden God put on my heart. I wanted to do something that would make a real difference in the lives of people. Advocacy does; it influences policy, programmes and therefore makes a difference.
What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?
I founded the charity Education & Development Opportunity – Uganda and established the Brian Mutebi Dream Scholarship Fund, the first scholarship scheme in Africa for HIV/AIDS orphans, survivors of gender-based violence and teenage mothers. I advocate for and mobilize resources for education for HV/AIDS orphans. I am a gender and women’s rights campaigner featuring on the Women Deliver global list of “15 journalists, 15 voices for girls and women” for my extensive writing and advocacy for women’s health and rights. I use the media and stakeholders’ meetings, dialogues and spaces to advocate for increased investment in preventing teenage pregnancies and child marriages, funding for reproductive and maternal health services, access to family planning services, HIV/AIDS awareness, and campaigns against stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?
I will use the knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy to write insightful advocacy articles for the media on HIV/AIDS research and cure, and reproductive and maternal health for adolescents and young women. I will develop projects advocating for increased funding for HIV/AIDS research and cure including campaigning against complacency on HIV/AIDS in Uganda where government funding to the Ministry of Health has been reducing since 2012 and HIV prevalence increased from 6.4% in 2005 to 7.3% by 2011. I will use the network from the academy to share best practices and mobilize resources for my projects.