Meet a graduating scholar: Aisha Bukenya, Uganda

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“I have the spirit of a go getter! I still want to be that outstanding female pharmacist that will be part of the change my continent needs to see.”

Meet Aisha Bukenya, a 2016 Watipa scholar, graduating Bachelor of Pharmacy from Kampala International University, Uganda. Congratulations Aisha – we are proud of you and your achievements!

Receiving the news that I was successful in my application to become a Watipa scholar was the most beautiful news I ever received. It was such pleasure knowing that I can sit down and concentrate on maximising my scores without having to worry about the tuition. I was able to do so much; words cannot explain my gratitude. Continue reading “Meet a graduating scholar: Aisha Bukenya, Uganda”

Changing Perceptions: Reports launched from Positive Voices, the national survey of people living with HIV

Today is the official launch of the Positive Voices Changing Perceptions reports, with results from a community-led project guided by participants in the national Positive Voices survey.

Positive Voices is one of the largest representative surveys of people living with HIV to date in the world, with over 4,400 participants. The survey asks about health and wellbeing, medications, experiences with healthcare, met and unmet needs, sex and relationships, lifestyle issues and financial security.

The Changing Perceptions reports bring the survey data to life by aligning statistics with personal stories and experiences of people living with HIV in order to challenge attitudes and change perceptions about HIV. This is why it is titled “changing perceptions.”  Continue reading “Changing Perceptions: Reports launched from Positive Voices, the national survey of people living with HIV”

Big dreams to change the world – happy International Youth Day!

AIDS2018 - Watipa 2Young people are the leaders of today – and of tomorrow. We know that at Watipa, and here is another example in the context of the global response to HIV.

On this International Youth Day, we are calling for meaningful, frequent, and wide engagement of adolescent girls and young women in the strategic development, planning, and delivery of programmes and services aimed at serving them… in lots of areas, including the response to HIV. Continue reading “Big dreams to change the world – happy International Youth Day!”

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 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”

Meet a scholar: Prudence Chavula, Malawi

“This is just the beginning – I won’t rest until my community is fully developed in terms of education, health and empowerment.”

Prudence has recently started her second year of study in Public Administration at the University of Malawi, with the current semester focussing on different strands of psychology, “very important for a person who is into community work”.

That is something of an understatement – over the past year Prudence has shown her dedication to her community in many different ways including; training over 1500 women and girls to make reusable sanitary pads, fundraising for 40 school uniforms and 450 shoes, mentoring girls in 6 local secondary schools and supporting 20 girls back to school who had dropped out due to poverty or early marriage.

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

“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!”