First Red Ribbon award for Burundians

For the first time in its 10-year history, a Burundian organisation has won the prestigious Red Ribbon Award (RRA) that celebrates community leadership and action on AIDS.

This award is hosted by UNAIDS in partnership with AIDS 2016, the Global Network of People Living with HIV, the International Community of Women living with HIV, the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations against AIDS and Irish Aid.

“Winners of the Red Ribbon Award 2016  are for us examples of what it really means to speed up the response against AIDS and to do so in a way that is inclusive and promotes human rights and gender equality “said Jan Beagle, assistant executive director of UNAIDS.

The winners were chosen by regional representatives of civil society organisations from almost 1,000 nominations from more than 120 countries were. The other organizations which won an RRA were from Mexico, Belize, Kenya, Nigeria, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Nepal, Chile and New Zealand. Each winning organisation has received a prize of $10, 000. The 10 laureates who have received this award were chosen in five categories from the Sustainable Development Goals: 3, 5, 10, 16 and 17.

Proof of youth engagement

The National Network of Young People Living with HIV (RNJ+ ) of Burundi is a community organisation which advocates and provides comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and rights (SRHR) for young people living with HIV on a global platform. Since 2004, RNJ + reached more than 20,000 young people through peer education and community outreach programs to raise awareness about HIV.

This organisation has a youth centre which provides services for key populations. In total it hosts more than 10 young people a day for SRHR services; it is the only centre in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi offering integrated services to young people living with HIV.

Commenting on the award, Cedric Nininahazwe, executive director of RNJ+, said: “This is the first time that an organization of Burundi receives such an award and it is a great joy for the organisation.

“We are proud and honored to receive the prize. After 12 years of serving the community, this event just marked our history and we are further encouraged, we celebrate this moment in memory of our friends who have already left us.”

Claudia Nizigiyimana, a legal representative of RNJ+, added: “I know this will be an example for Burundian organisations fighting against AIDS to work hard.”