Meet a team member: Dr Sam Mudie

fullsizeoutput_3862Dr Sam Mudie joined the Watipa team on 1 June 2018. Welcome Sam!

“Working with such a collection of strong, hardworking and brilliant women is a privilege. I was intrigued by the diversity and range of backgrounds of these ladies, all working towards a shared ideology of a better planet, and the right to education for all… I am thrilled to be working with Watipa. The unique model of social enterprise, consulting and provision of education to those less fortunate, is fascinating. I can’t wait to put the skills and knowledge I have built up to great use with Watipa.”

Sam has recently joined the team as the Outreach Officer, where her chief responsibilities are managing the website content, blogs, newsletters and social media pages. Continue reading “Meet a team member: Dr Sam Mudie”

Meet a scholar: Rose Omollo, Kenya

fullsizeoutput_384e“To me the sky is not the limit and I see a bright future ahead of me. I want to be the agent of those changes that I want to see in my community.”

Meet Rose Omollo, a 2016 Watipa scholar, studying Community Health and Development at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, in Kenya. Continue reading “Meet a scholar: Rose Omollo, Kenya”

Meet a team member: Kristen de Graaf

Version 2Kristen de Graaf joined the Watipa team on 1 June 2018. Welcome Kristen!

Kristen joins us part-time as the new Executive Officer at Watipa. She is from Canada and has recently relocated to London. Having started her career as a registered nurse she moved to the public health and development sector and pursued a masters of reproductive and sexual health research to fulfill her passion to link health with policy, research and advocacy. Continue reading “Meet a team member: Kristen de Graaf”

“You’re only a good activist if you are alive and well”

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Outreach workers often face risks to their personal safety and security when providing much needed services to marginalised of hard-to-reach communities. They often do so on a voluntary basis or for a relatively small payment compared to international aid workers who operating in the same area. The potential threats and experiences of violence are particularly acute when the organisations are run by and for communities that are criminalised under the legal framework of a particular country. These communities are in need of important health and other essential services, just like everyone. In fact, may need more services given the vulnerabilities and risks they face in everyday life.  Continue reading ““You’re only a good activist if you are alive and well””

Stigma, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder

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Reducing stigma and discrimination has been at the forefront of Jamaica’s national response to HIV for several years. One week ago today, in Kingston Jamaica, we presented some recommendations for how the capacity of healthcare workers could be improved so that stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with and vulnerable to HIV are reduced at point of care.

Stigma – like beauty – is in the eye of the beholder. Change starts with each one of us, knowing and being honest about our beliefs, prejudices, and morals. A training to address stigma among healthcare workers for example must be transformative – to tap into personal beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviours that are the drivers of stigma. In other words training must not be ‘business as usual’ and in fact have a ‘sparkle’ that can engage the hearts as well as the minds of participants.

Continue reading “Stigma, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder”

HIV Science: IAS 2017

thumb_logo_2It’s been an extraordinary week for HIV science. An extraordinary week for the HIV response. The 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris has come to an end, with nearly 8,000 researchers, advocates, policy makers, funders and community leaders from more than 140 countries.

Here’s a quick summary of the headlines from the conference, according to the International AIDS Society…

Continue reading “HIV Science: IAS 2017”

Want to reduce stigma? Move a building!

IMG_8402 copyConstruction, urban planning and stigma reduction to ensure access to medicine for people living with HIV are not obviously linked. Yet in one part of South Sudan, space and the layout of buildings may in fact be key for enabling more people to test and receive the life saving treatment they need if diagnosed positive for HIV.

I listened today to a healthcare worker talk about the sites where a potential client at his facility – in one of the regions of South Sudan – may experience stigma or discrimination during a typical journey to test for HIV.  Continue reading “Want to reduce stigma? Move a building!”

A different type of ball: Reducing teenage pregnancies through soccer

IMG_8212One of the best things about being a lady in Uganda is that you are the in charge of a home; as an adolescent you are trained to have a high sense of responsibility and critical decision making skills. A typical day is to wake up and prepare for school, and prepare the little ones (young brothers, sisters, cousins) as well. After school is a routine of house chores and home work.

Raising a lady in Africa also includes tackling gender biases that are seconded by the myths and misconceptions surrounding areas of sexual reproductive health. Take for instance that a girl cannot shake hands with other people during menstruation or that a girl cannot ride a bike or play soccer because it may affect her virginity.

Having spent time at three Grassroot Soccer centers over the last few weeks, my view has completely widened on how sport and gender can bring about gender equity and influence mindsets to reduce the transmission rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted illnesses as well as unintended pregnancies amongst adolescent girls and young women. Continue reading “A different type of ball: Reducing teenage pregnancies through soccer”

Meet a scholar: Prudence Chavula, Malawi

IMG_8157My name is Prudence Chavula and I come from Malawi. Growing up in a community that doesn’t support girls education has taught me to value education as the only thing that can empower and transform a female’s life. 

I consider myself an agent of change, committed to the regeneration of my community and addressing the needs of my community. I am passionate about promoting education for all, especially among women and to reduce inequalities, prevent HIV transmission, end child marriages and reduce unplanned pregnancies. With that in mind, I do a number of philanthropic activities in my community. 

Continue reading “Meet a scholar: Prudence Chavula, Malawi”

Happy zero discrimination day!

March 1 is a day celebrating everyone’s right to live a full life with dignity regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin color, height, weight, profession, education, and beliefs.

Happy zero discrimination day one and all! This day could also be considered one for acceptance, open-mindedness, and celebration of diversity.  Continue reading “Happy zero discrimination day!”