KAMPALA – On Thursday, November 18, 2021, Uganda AIDS Commission in partnership with Uganda Network on Law, Ethics and HIV/AIDS (UGANET), National Forum of people living with HIV/AIDS (NAFOPHANU), International Community of Women Living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA), Uganda Key Population Consortium (UKPC) and Friends of Canon Gideon Foundation (FOCAGIFO)with support from TASO Uganda launched Philly Lutaaya award — celebrating courage, fierce fight against stigma and exceptional leadership.
The awards launched at Hotel Africana under the theme “Ending HIV Stigma, Promoting Resilient Communities”, were calling upon communities of people leaving with HIV, leaders in the struggle to nominate themselves or any other person that has walked in Philly Lutaaya’s footsteps.
Lutaaya (19 October 1951 – 15 December 1989) was a renowned musician who was the first prominent Ugandan to give a human face to HIV/AIDS.
On Tuesday evening at ONOMO hotel in Nakasero, several people living with HIV scooped themselves awards for a job well done and emulating Late Lutaaya to fight stigma and discrimination amongst HIV/AIDS victims.
Canon Gideon B Byamugisha, the first religious leader in Africa to publicly announce that he was HIV positive was awarded the winner of the Philly Bongoley Lutaaya of the year 2021.
Born in 1959, Byamugisha is a theological ethicist, professional teacher and ordained priest in the Church of Uganda. In 1992, he became the first religious leader in Africa to publicly announce that he was HIV positive.
Byamugisha has been recognized by many countries, organizations and by Networks of People Living with HIV and those Working to End AIDS, Stigma and their Drivers Including the Parliament of Uganda (2008) and Niwano Peace Foundation (2009) that honored him with the Niwano Peace Prize Money & Award that he used to strengthen the FOCAGIFO Hope Institute he founded to contribute to realizing Philly Lutaya’s vision of sponsoring, empowering and skilling young people (in Truth & Love). The Institute has supported 3000 youths to train and graduate with knowledge and skills to be HIV health competent, spiritually empowered, gainfully skilled, productively employed and social justice sensitive.
He has supported 60 countries with his ‘ stigma & discrimination’ sensitive sermons & personal experience sharing and like Lutaaya, has contributed a lot through public testimony, video productions, mentorship and personal example to promote the dignity and human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Byamugisha founded the African Network of Religious Leaders Living with and Personally Affected HIV and AIDS (ANERELA+) in February 2002.
The second awardee is Martha Clara Nakato with the Upcoming Philly Lutaaya of the year.
Nakato is a young woman living openly with HIV, a trained Health Educator and a dedicated HIV/AIDS & SRHR Advocate. She has 7 years of experience in HIV/AIDS, Gender and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights(SRH-R) Programming including SRH-R led Advocacy, Communications for Behavior Change for Young People, Policy Development and Resource Mobilization.
She is a bold and fierce advocate against Stigma and Discrimination of minority groups especially People living with HIV, with disability and the LGBTIQ persons. She currently works as the Community of Action Facilitator for the WE LEAD Program which is hosted by the SRHR-ALLIANCE Uganda.
Nakato is also a Youth Representative on the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism of Uganda. She was recognized as one of the Five Global Face of the Fight for the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment campaign-Step Up The Fight which was a massive success with Multilateral donors and countries pledging a record of $14 Billion, the largest ever funding raised for Global health in the Fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria epidemics.
She has also contributed to various Global and National Advocacy and Policy processes aimed at improving the quality of life and protection of rights of Young people, Adolescent Girls and Young women living with and affected by HIV/AIDS such as; “WE’VE GOT THE POWER” Report by UNAIDS. Martha Clara has mentored and continues to mentor more fierce and stigma-free young people in Uganda.
Rose Dropia Atibunu, an old woman living with HIV also made it to the winners with the Upcoming Philly Lutaaya of the year.
Atibuni stood strongly for people living with HIV during the insurgency in Northern Uganda. She continues to advocate for people living with HIV in the West Nile Region.
Another awardee with the Upcoming Philly Lutaaya of the year is Mr. Wataka James Wamalukuh an exceptional leader and the epitome of HIV positive living in Eastern Uganda and by celebrating his efforts we will defeat stigma and live life with love and appreciate the most important gift of life that God gave us regardless of our HIV status. He tested positive in 2002.
He has been a representative of the Clients Council TASO Mbale, coordinator of PLHIV Mbale district since 2013, founder member of Mbale District Forum of People living with HIV Network with support from NAFOPHANU, District AIDS community member Mbale District Local Government, CLM – ICWEA – Mbale/ Karamoja Region.
Wataka has been advocating for stigma and promoting positive living. He has championed positive living and the fight against stigma amongst people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Uganda Network of Young People living with HIV/AIDS – UNYPA won the award of Institutions Challenging Stigma.
Uganda Network of young people living with HIV & AIDS started in 2003 to provide leadership and coordinate the greater and meaningful involvement and participation of YPLHIV in Uganda in the national, regional and global HIV and AIDS response.
The elements of UNYPA’s national programme and advocacy include promoting universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support; fighting stigma and discrimination against young people living with HIV. It has contributed to the reduction of stigma towards people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in the community through its outreach and programming efforts.