ANGELA DUSABIMAMA works in HIV prevention at The Rwanda Biomedical Centre. She also recently joined Arukah Network's new Cluster in her country. In this Q+A, she explains why.
Tell us about your work. I'm involved in HIV research. I conduct interviews with sex workers and homosexual men, and collect blood samples, to understand the prevalence of HIV here in Rwanda. But I'm also a part-time entrepreneur - I sell jeans.
Is HIV a big problem in Rwanda? Yes, it is. Our government is doing a good job. The prevalence now is about 3%, but we're working to reduce it further.
How did you hear about Arukah Network? I know Hormisdas [the Cluster Mobiliser]. He talked through the idea - of helping people without expecting a profit. It was different. I thought 'wow, this sounds good!', and I wanted to be part of it.
What did you learn at the Cluster launch? I learned how to better engage a community through SALT, which is amazing. I also learned how to connect with people from different backgrounds. For example - it's a small thing - but I learned that when I introduce myself, it's not always good to talk about my education and economic status. This might not look good in the eyes of other people, and some things are more important than these. I also learned about teamwork.
Did you meet new people at the Cluster launch? Yes, I only knew two people at the launch, so it was great to meet new people there. I met a man who also works in healthcare. We shared our experiences and challenges on working with HIV, and we talked about creating community activities to support sex workers and reduce HIV amongst this group. It was very cool.
What are your hopes for the future of the Cluster? I think we have real potential to help a lot more people in the country. If we work together we'll achieve many things.
Thanks for sharing a little of your story Ange - we're pleased you're a part of this network!
Learn more about Rwanda Cluster here.