"I knew they need love to fight on"
"I knew they need love to fight on"
As a child Evelyne Nambozo wanted to work with people living with HIV because she knew they need acceptance and love to fight on. Her dream came true at the National Forum for People living with HIV in Uganda. “Every amount of my effort, however little, can make a significant difference in someone else’ s life.” Recently started as coordinator of the GUSO Flexi project, she sees the positive effect of economic empowerment on HIV incidence. Meet Evelyne!
Tell us, who is Evelyne?
“I live in Kampala. I have a teaching background and am currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health. I love making things move while having fun. A piece of roast chicken enhances my thinking capacity.”
Why did you decide to dedicate your work to improving the lives of people living with HIV?
From the age of 11, I dreamt of working with The AIDS Support Organization (TASO). I always accompanied my mother to the center for support, which she would visit every month. Afterwards she was always rejuvenated and had extra energy to run another month. To me, I felt TASO was so understanding to her plight and supported her emotionally amidst the stigma she experienced from the community. It was then, that I purposed to work with people living with HIV because I knew they needed acceptance and love to fight on. TASO had extended this to my Mom, and wanted to extend it to someone else’s family member. I didn’t join TASO, but my dream has still come true at NAFOPHANU.
What difference has your work for NAFOPHANU made in your own life?
Wow! Working with The National Forum, that coordinates networks of people living with HIV in Uganda, one cannot miss out on exposure, networking and advocacy skills which I currently pride in.
What do you think of economic empowerment as HIV prevention strategy?
In Uganda, poverty makes people vulnerable and ultimately forces our youths – especially girls– to end up with sugar daddies (wealthy older men who lure young girls into sexual relations using their money and gifts). I am positive that economic empowerment can enable them have a source of livelihood to meet their basic needs other than depending on these men for money or gifts and with whom they are unable to negotiate for safe sex.
As coordinator, what do you hope to achieve with GUSO Flexi project?
In the GUSO Flexi project young people are being trained in providing health information and selling over the counter health products. They are not only earning an income, but they are also able to bring services closer to their communities. The Community Health Entrepreneurs is a new model, which is taking a while to get stakeholders’ buy in and appreciation. The challenge lies in ensuring stakeholders appreciate and trust the model. At community level, I desire for us to counterbalance the increasing rate of HIV infection and teenage pregnancies among our youths. At personal level I hope to become better at designing and managing projects.
GUSO Flexi project and NAFOPHANU
GUSO Flexi is implemented by multiple local partners in 4 districts in Uganda. Its aim is to empower young people to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights. 760 young people are being trained as Community Health Entrepreneurs. As such they are not only earning an income, but they are also able to bring health services and education closer to their communities.
NAFOPHANU is the national umbrella organization of networks of people living with HIV in Uganda.