Meet the Voices of NCDI Poverty Advocacy Fellows!

Author: NCD Synergies team
June 10, 2021

On Wednesday June 2nd, 2021, stakeholders and advocates from across the NCDI Poverty Network gathered to formally welcome the first ever Voices of NCDI Poverty Network Advocacy Fellows at a virtual opening ceremony for the fellowship. Four advocates living with non-communicable disease and injuries (NCDIs) in NCDI Poverty Networks countries were chosen as members of the 2021-22 cohort.

The event introduced fellows to the work of the NCDI Poverty Network and Lancet NCDI Poverty Commissions and groups. Commissioners and advocates from Nepal, Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi, and others shared insights with the fellows on leadership and advocacy, and the importance of lived experience voices in taking the agenda forward. Fellows also had a chance to share their stories and discussed what they are excited to focus on in the coming months.

The fellowship is set to run from June 2021 through December 2022. The fellows will be working together across disease-specific issues and regions to co-develop and implement advocacy projects and strategy, in close collaboration with the larger NCDI Poverty Network. Fellows will participate on the Steering Committee of the NCDI Poverty Network, as well as be provided individual mentorship and peer-to-peer support. Training sessions on a number of related topics will be regularly provided through monthly workshop sessions, and fellows will receive individual mentorship through the co-secretariat team and the wider community. Fellows will also be provided regular opportunities to network and meet with prominent advocates, implementers, and researchers and have opportunities to represent the NCDI Poverty Network in speaking engagements or other conferences and events.  

Meet the 2021-22 Fellowship Cohort:

Anu Gomanju, Nepal: Anu Gomanju is a registered public health professional, currently pursuing a Master of Public Health in Global Health program of Thammasat University-Thailand with a thesis in progress in Nepal on Safe Motherhood. She has previously achieved a Master’s in Sociology and a Bachelor’s in Public Health from Universities of Nepal. She is very pleased to have an opportunity to be involved in Mental Health advocacy and to contribute to the promotion of health and nutrition in relation to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injury advocacy. When Anu was 11 years old, she was diagnosed with Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) and since that period she has been under medication, enduring a life-threatening health condition and two open-heart surgeries. With her experiences living with this condition, she knows how poverty and NCDs can affect every facet of one’s life as well as the lives of their loved ones. Therefore, she is interested as well as excited to advocate for people living in settings of poverty in preventing their lives from morbidity and mortality caused by preventable NCDs and injuries and to promote their health and prolong their lives.

Eunice Owino, Kenya: Eunice Owino is a Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) advocate and the Founder and Executive Director of the Sickle Cell Uhuru Trust (SCUT), an organization working to create awareness about Sickle Cell Disease and emphasis on the importance of care for persons living with Sickle Cell Disease in Kenya and around the world. Eunice is a sickle cell warrior (a person living with sickle cell disease). She was diagnosed with the condition at eight months. Her family has been her greatest support system growing up and this enables her to endure the pain and struggles of living with sickle cell disease. She has been able to manage sickle cell conditions very well and lead a normal life. She delights in advocating for Persons Living with Sickle Cell Disease and as such, she’s represented the plight of SCD patients on various platforms including; conferences in Africa and California, documentaries, and media interviews across the globe.
Moses Echodu, Uganda: Moses Echodu is a childhood cancer survivor and currently volunteering with Uganda Child Cancer Foundation as the Program Director. As a child, he suffered from Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Moses graduated from Makerere University with a Bachelor’s Degree honors in Information Technology. He has spent his last 7 years involved in Cancer Awareness among young people, advocacy, and leadership. Currently, he is actively engaged in creating cancer awareness and advocating for policies to improve access to cancer services for young people. This has been achieved through the 3C (Children Caring about Cancer) program that engages youth in secondary schools. He is glad to be joining the Persons Living with the NCDI Advocacy Fellowship to learn and expand on his knowledge to accommodate all other NCDI efforts to advocate for access to services for all people in Uganda and the region.
Paladie Kampuhwe, Rwanda: Paladie Kampuhwe MATEGEKO is a Type 1 Diabetes Champion with a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management and a concentration in Global Perspectives. After being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and facing a lot of challenges including stigma, she decided to help others; people living with non-Communicable Diseases (PLWNCDs) like herself to overcome some of those challenges. As a person who lives with an NCD, she knows how these conditions affect someone’s life which is why she decided to be an advocate so as to help other vulnerable people who are not able to speak for themselves and are facing a lot of challenges, especially poverty. She has worked with the Rwanda NCD Alliance in helping PLWNCDs share their stories and the challenges they are facing so as to amplify their voices. That is why she is also very excited to be part of the Voices of NCDI Poverty Advocacy Fellowship so as to bring her unmatched interests and dedication to make its mission a success.

***

Please reach out here if you would like to stay in touch with our team around the Voices of NCDI Poverty fellowship or related advocacy efforts! There will be many opportunities for others across the Network to work with and learn from the fellows as we move forward on campaigns and other opportunities together.