The Red Ribbon Awards held a ‘Special Session’ to congratulate the 2016 Red Ribbon award winners and to celebrate the vital work being done by these grass level community based groups.
Speakers at this one-hour Special Session were:
- HRH Princess Mabel van Oranje of the Netherlands
- HRH Princess Tessy of Luxembourg
- Former President of the Republic of Fiji, H.E. Epeli Nailatikau,
- UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Jan Beagle,
- Minister of Health and Child Welfare of Zimbabwe, David Parirenyatwa
- Moderator: Mary Ann Torres, Executive Director, ICASO
I jotted down some quotes from the speakers:
‘HIV is a development issue, a rights issue and a respect issue. These awards honour those innovators tackling the global epidemic one community at a time.’ Jan Beagle
‘No person should be infected by a virus that can be prevented.. We must leave no one behind. We must care for each other.’ H.E. Epeli Nailatikau
‘Women and girls are carrying the burden of care globally. Grassroots organisations are making the difference for this group.’ HRH Princess Tessy
‘Governments worldwide now know they can not function without the work of grassroots. We underestimate what they do. We need to return and revisit what you are all doing. Truly value it and get funs to enable progress.’ David Parirenyatwa
‘If we don’t prevent, we will not win this war. If you office is flooded, the first thing you do is close the tap, not scoop the water.’ David Parirenyatwa
HRH Princess Mabel van Oranje of the Netherlands made two points in her speech:
- There will be no end to the epidemic without grassroots. She spoke of grassroots being taken for granted and that ultimately change will only happen with the work of these groups we’re acknowledging (as Red Ribbon Award winners). These groups are delivering the actual solutions and we need to put money where our mouths are – ‘it is these guys doing the work, not the UN, not the top levels who take the majority of the cash.’
- We must prioritise girls and women. The numbers are shocking. Princess Mabel spoke at numerous other sessions championing the need for prioritising girls and women.
Read more about the ten Red Ribbon Award winners here.
Read more from my time at AIDS2016 here:
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