A 28-year-old African community youth worker Evah Namakula, has won the first CARES HIV/AIDS award, recognizing ordinary people who show 'care, dedication and commitment' in their communities in the fight against the disease. Ms Namakula is part of the 2018 global award launch at the International Aids Society meeting, Amsterdam (23-27 July), booth #407. CARES Media Information
The first award focused on the dedication of ordinary people in Africa, an area most affected by HIV/AIDS. It has two categories - Ms Namakula (individual) and an organization, Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust (HACT), a South African charity caring for disadvantaged people. The organization receives a grant of $5500 USD from Beckman Coulter Life Sciences through the Beckman Coulter Foundation. This is made in the name of the individual winner, but their work cannot be linked.
An independent judging panel described as 'remarkable' Ms Namakula's achievements in her local Ugandan community to dispel the stigma of HIV/AIDs. She is also global youth ambassador for Reach Out Integrity (ROI) Africa, promoting health and sexual responsibility to young people - and has founded her own charity, IGNITE . Evah is part of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) set up by President Barack Obama to empower leadership skills in African youth. As a YALI volunteer, she has been a leadership mentor in local communities and schools, developing public speaking skills.
Inspired by the determination of her mother and siblings, Evah said: "l was already a campaigner but it was while working in my local hospital laboratory that I realised how I could use my medical knowledge to help reduce the myth young people in my community had about HIV/AIDS."
"Evah is an inspirational young woman and will be a hard act to follow," said Samuel Boova, Beckman Coulter's Director Alliance Development, High Burden HIV Markets. "She is exactly the kind of youth leader that President Obama wanted to encourage to develop the Africa of the future. We are honored not only to have her as our first winner, but to have her support in launching the global initiative.
"The award gives a platform to the work of unsung heroes, people who have shown individual dedication, commitment and courage or who have made a difference in the battle against HIV/AIDS."