Inviolata Mwali Mmbwavi
Current Organization: International Community of Women Living With HIV (Kenyan Chapter)
Organization at the time you received Katherine Fleming Award: Grassroots Empowerment Trust
How did receiving the Katie Fleming award inspire you?
I felt appreciated, humbled, challenged, and knew a lot was being expected of me. I remember then Director of Coady, Mary Coyle telling me in my ear after graduation, “I am looking up to you….” This, for me, was a huge expectation. I promised not to fail this expectation. I have lived with this statement as a huge but sweet burden. Every time I do something, I remember this statement. This statement inspires me.
What does your organization do, how does it help develop your community?
My organization, the International Community of Women Living with HIV-Kenyan chapter (ICW-Kenya), is a national network run by and for women living with HIV and AIDS in Kenya. The main activity of the network is advocacy to improve the lives of women living with HIV, bringing women together around the common call, “Nothing for us, without us!” ICW-Kenya works to build and strengthen the movement of women living with HIV to undertake advocacy at national, county, sub-county, community, and, most importantly, at a household level. This we believe can be achieved through mobilizing, organizing, advocating, mentoring and raising consciousness on the issues that directly impact women living with HIV in Kenya, and will contribute to other progressive efforts for the empowerment of all women in Kenya. It helps the entire community to understand human rights, the importance of respecting all peoples human rights, and what to do when those rights are violated – especially for women living with HIV. As Executive Director, my role is to provide overall leadership to the organization and mentorship to the incoming young generation.
What are your goals/vision for the future?
I dream of a moment where all forms of stigma and discrimination against women will be history. My goal is to be able to reach thousands of women with the right information especially in rural areas to demand for their rights and the society to respect the same
I remember then Director of Coady, Mary Coyle telling me in my ear after graduation, “I am looking up to you….” This, for me, was a huge expectation. I promised not to fail this expectation. I have lived with this statement as a huge but sweet burden. Every time I do something, I remember this statement.