UNAIDS welcomes three new fellows in the fourth edition of its Special Youth Fellowship Programme
22 September 2011
Abhinav Singh from India, Ritah Namwiza from Uganda and Anthony Adero from Kenya have just joined the UNAIDS headquarter in Geneva, as the fourth round of the UNAIDS Special Youth Fellowship programme. Designed to create opportunities for young people from low- and middle income countries to contribute to HIV programme and policy development, the programme ensures a two-way transfer of skills between the fellows and UNAIDS staff.
Founder of the youth led organization The Dove Foundation, Abhinav Singh was working with the Uttrakhand State AIDS Control Society when he was accepted as the first ever fellow from India.
“Being the first from my country makes me feel delighted and also brings in a lot of responsibility towards the young people in India,” said Abhinav Singh. “I expect to learn profoundly and also gain quality experience for working with young people and HIV in my country. Being in UNAIDS Secretariat is like a dream come true for a public health professional and I feel really privileged to be a part of this global team.”
Most young people still have limited access to good quality education and sexual and reproductive health programmes that provide the information, services and commodities to protect themselves from HIV. The Special Youth Fellowship programme aspires to build the capacities of young people and reinforce their leadership skills to strengthen national responses to HIV.
This is a great learning opportunity—I will interact with people who have a wealth of experience in their respective fields. Everybody has been so helpful and welcoming!
Ritah Namwiza, UNAIDS Special Youth Fellow 2011
“I was thrilled to be chosen for the fellowship” said Ritah Namwiza, who previously worked with young people’s HIV outreach programmes in Uganda. “This is a great learning opportunity—I will interact with people who have a wealth of experience in their respective fields. Everybody has been so helpful and welcoming!”
Selected through an open and competitive process, the youth fellows spend 4 months at the headquarters in Geneva, followed by 5 months in the UNAIDS Country Office in the fellow’s country of origin.
Anthony Adero, from Kenya, is a youth peer educator and activist for the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities. He felt it was a dream come true to be accepted to the programme. “To have this opportunity to develop my capacity on youth programs and leadership skills, I am very elated to be part of this programme. I hope to learn, get mentored and grow strategically to develop a strong leadership role in AIDS response in Kenya!”
Instituted in 2008, so far 12 fellows completed the programme. The SYP alumni are working in various capacities to strengthen the HIV response at global and national level.