Advocacy-for-Cure Academy

Allen Chakandinakira

Nationality: Zimbabwe
Institution: Young Men Christian Association
Country of work: Zimbabwe

What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?

My greatest motivation is witnessing the positive changes that happen at community level through the efforts that I will be doing towards empowering the locals. I work with resource-constrained communities and most of the interventions are coming up with solutions that are community sensitive. For instance, artisanal miners and sex workers usually work odd hours, such that they have no time to visit the clinic to seek treatment and to collect their ART. Through the community dialogues and the Community Score Card, I have managed to convince the service providers to conduct mobile outreaches where they offer services such as ART refilling, VMMC and STI screening and treatment.

What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?

My work entails empowering key populations to seek quality HIV services at clinics through engaging them in community dialogues. I also facilitate training of community advocacy champions. I also train community volunteers on a tool called JIC run. The tool helps to disseminate HIV information in a participatory manner and it is a very effective way of reaching out to the key populations. I also train service providers to work with key populations addressing HIV stigma. I administer a tool called CSC that aims to measure the quality of HIV services that key populations receive at the clinics. The CSC has resulted in a marked improvement in the attitudes of communities and service providers towards key populations.

How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?

I hope to expand my knowledge base on HIV interventions so that I can be able to come back to the communities that I serve and disseminate the information. The HIV field is ever evolving therefore, this platform will go a long a way in empowering me to be up to date with the current trends on HIV cure and advocacy. As someone who works with key populations, among them PLHIV, I will also interrogate the various coping measures related to side effects that other communities are using so that I can bring the knowledge to Zimbabwe and help improve the lives of PLHIV.