It’s been a while since the last Making Waves blog. Members of the collective have been occupied with activism, campaigning, peer support, self- and collective care, working within our organisations, doing consultancy work, tweeting, feeding into policy consultations, spending time with family and friends, reading, resting, living, in Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Malaysia, Spain and the UK. Collective members who run organisations have been busy with them – Positive Young Women Voices, the Ssozi Foundation, Sinar Sofia, 4M Mentor Mothers, and Salamander Trust. Between November 25 and December 10, there was a huge amount of activity for the 16 days against violence against women and girls, World AIDS Day, international day of the girl and international human rights day. Here’s a quick round-up of some of the many things Making Waves women have been involved in in the last couple of months:
In Zimbabwe, Martha Tholanah was part of the development of a booklet on menopause, ageing and HIV, available in English, Shona and Ndebele here.
In Uganda, Jacquelyne Alesi’s organisation the Ssozi Foundation held a community activity on October 15 providing services including; free cervical cancer screening, ANC, scan for pregnant women, HIV testing for women, immunisation for children, and also COVID19 Vaccination. 82 women received services, 133 children were immunised and 80 people were vaccinated against C19. See photos here and here.
Nunu Diana Alison of South Sudan Young Positives presented peer-led research by Making Waves, Salamander Trust and ITPC at the FIGO international conference of obstetricians and gynaecologists. See the Poster here. Read more about the project here.
Martha Tholanah from Zimbabwe was one of the speakers at the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group meeting on women and HIV on October 20th. You can watch it here.
Lucy Wanjiku and Jacquelyne Alesi both took part in the Lisbon Fast Track Cities meeting. See speakers list here for information.
Salamander Trust was commissioned by WHO to develop a toolkit for women living with HIV on SRHR, as part of a wider project to implement the WHO Consolidated Guideline on SRHR of women living with HIV. A number of members of the Making Waves collective are involved. Find out more on the Salamander Trust website.
In Kenya, Lucy Wanjiku appeared on Citizen TV’s #MondayReport on November 8, talking about the rise in teenage pregnancies. Watch it here.
Also in November, Lucy Wanjiku Njenga spoke about how we can challenge the barriers for HIV, SRHR and harm reduction service uptake among young key populations, as part of the AidsFonds Young, Wild and… Free? project. Watch it here.
On November 18, Martha Tholanah, Jane Shepherd and Rebecca Mbewe joined other women to talk about HIV and the menopause in ICW’s #Gender Matters webinar ‘Another Year Older’. You can watch it here.
Jacquelyne Alesi was announced as the new Director of U=U Global Community Leadership at the Prevention Access Campaign. This new programme will bring together all activists advocating for U=U.
Frontline AIDS published the Good Practice Guide: Gender-transformative approaches to HIV, co-authored by Emma Bell and Fiona Hale. Joyce Ouma and Lucy Wanjiku were part of the young women’s advisory group.
Various Making Waves members have been involved in writing or co-writing articles for submission to the special edition on Women and HIV of the Journal of Therapeutic Advances in Infectious Disease. More on this soon.
World AIDS Day saw a number of events Making Waves members were involved in, including:
- Lucy Wanjiku wrote a World AIDS Day blog for Positively Women Young Women Voices, ‘Should we be happy, should we be sad?’ Read it here.
- Joyce Ouma spoke about young people living with HIV at the UNAIDS and WHO World AIDS Day commemoration event. Watch it here.
- Rebecca Mbewe and Longret Kwardem were part of the 4M Mentor Mothers World AIDS Day events in the UK, including the release of the brilliant 4M Femifesto and the equally brilliant Bearded and Flushed event where women living with HIV shared poetry and creative writing about their experiences of the menopause. Find out more on the 4M website.
- On International Human Rights Day 2021, the CUSP Collective (which Salamander Trust is part of) shared a new thoughtpiece. Entitled “Enhancing Social Norms Programs: An invitation to rethink “scaling up” from a feminist perspective“, CUSP hopes that the article will be of interest to, and spark debate amongst, anyone seeking to reduce violence against women and girls and to advance their sexual and reproductive health and rights, increasing the safety, security and well-being of women and girls in all their diversity, across the lifespan and around the world. To access the full article, please click here.
2021 has been quite a year, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the many strategic developments that relate to HIV, gender equality, SRHR, and violence against women, girls and gender-diverse people, including the new Global AIDS Strategy, the Generation Equality Acceleration Plan, the WHO HIV, STI and Hepatitis Strategy, the High Level Meeting on HIV, the climate change COP26, new PEPFAR and Global Fund strategies, and others. The challenges continue – challenges related to opposition to gender equality, rights of women, girls and gender-diverse people, lack of funding for networks of women living with HIV, access to SRHR which has been badly affected by COVID-19, and so many others. But we carry on, advocating, acting, connecting with each other, supporting each other.
Here’s to hope. Here’s to 2022.