Institution: Theatre for Social Change
Country of work: Ghana
What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?
I have over ten years of experience as an academic, professional and activist focused on the promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) among key populations. The Advocacy-for-Cure Fellowship is a unique opportunity to further pursue my keen interest in issues relating to HIV/AIDS research and advocacy and to bring to bear my experience in various capacities of supporting the African Advocacy for Cure. My professional and academic experience was combined when I worked as a Research Assistant with the University of Ghana, Legon, among MSM. Through these and other experiences I have gained excellent skills in research methodologies with communities in Ghana which I hope to refine during the Advocacy-for-Cure Fellowship.
What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?
Currently, I am working with Theatre for Social Change on a project that aims to prevent transmission of HIV among prison inmates through peer education, provision of health care kits, and HIV testing and counselling and to reach out to their fellow inmates via interactive theatre. This project has given me the chance to explore and acquaint myself with the situation of Ghanaian prisons in relation to personal stories, and the worrying deprivation of storytelling by societies. I have a wide range of contacts with community music groups in Accra, Ghana, having worked with different Ga music and dance groups and I have experimented with communities, in this project, on how they can use their own African storytelling culture to solve community problems.
How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?
My enrolment in this programme will help to sharpen my research skills in HIV/AIDS and thus strengthen my ability to design, organize, analyze and disseminate research findings with the targeted communities and stakeholders, as well as advocate and contribute to the evidence body that the African academic world requires to strengthen its work. It will enable me to further develop my network of contacts through my work with groups/individuals on this programme, which will contribute to the effectiveness of my work in Ghana. My work, background and commitment put me in the position of understanding all the practical and theoretical implications in a work on HIV advocacy and thus ensure that the programme impacts positively on the community back in Ghana and on my own career.