2014 Omololu Falobi Award For Excellence In HIV Prevention
Research Community Advocacy Presented Posthumously to Nigerian Advocate Oyelakin Taiwo Oladayo Award honors passionate young advocate lost too soon
“All of us have to choose to respond to the challenges of our own times. For me the challenge is HIV/AIDS”
– Omololu Falobi
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Oct. 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Oyelakin Taiwo Oladayo, a passionate advocate for the rights of young people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS, has posthumously received the fifth Omololu Falobi Award for Excellence in HIV Prevention Research Community Advocacy. The award was accepted on behalf of his family by fellow Nigerian advocate Olayide Akanni during the closing plenary of the HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P) conference.
Taiwo focused his work on the rights and dignity of those who are most marginalized. He helped form the first network of young people living with HIV in Nigeria (APYIN). He also helped create Youths and Adolescents Network on Population and Development in Africa (AFRIYAN) and, recently, the Network of Young People Living with HIV in Africa (AY+N). Taiwo was the co-chair of the Global Network of People Living with HIV Y+ Leadership Initiative. He was also a 2013 AVAC Advocacy Fellow hosted by Positive Treatment for Action in Nigeria. His Fellowship project sought to amplify the voices of young women as plans for Option B+ were being considered in Nigeria, and ensured their recommendations were included in national prevention plans. On Thursday, 17 April 2014, Oyelakin Taiwo Oladayo was killed in a car accident in Lagos.
The Omololu Falobi Award highlights the essential role of community advocacy and leadership in HIV prevention research. It celebrates the life and values of the late Omololu Falobi, a long-time HIV advocate and journalist who founded Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS) in Nigeria. Falobi was an instrumental pioneer member of the Nigerian Treatment Access Movement, and co-founded the New HIV Vaccine & Microbicide Advocacy Society. Omololu was killed in Lagos, Nigeria in October 2006. The award serves as an ongoing legacy that recognizes his commitment and lasting contributions to HIV prevention research advocacy.
"Omololu was a visionary leader and activist, who accomplished much in his too-short life. He dedicated himself to powerful advocacy for HIV and HIV prevention research in Nigeria, Africa and worldwide," said Olayide Akanni. "His legacy lives on through this award and through the work of JAAIDS. Taiwo reminds us of our friend Omololu in many ways. He was a brilliant young Nigerian advocate lost to us too soon. He embodied Omololu's ideals in many ways by making the work of HIV advocacy his life's work as well. In his short professional life, he proved himself a leader and an inspiration to many; he believed that HIV prevention research was an important part of addressing the epidemic."
"Taiwo's work is an inspiration for us all. He exemplifies the passion and commitment that is the lifeblood of advocacy and activism. We must all continue to speak with his voice and amplify his message," said Anna Forbes, recipient of the 2012 award.
For the 2014 award, the coordinating committee, with endorsement from past recipients, past reviewers and advocates, unanimously decided to present the award to Taiwo instead of seeking nominations for deserving candidates. A plaque and cash award will go to the family he left behind, including his new bride and his father.
"Taiwo's passion for his work inspired all of those around him. I know his work made a difference in the lives of young women and other Nigerians living with HIV. I am so happy that his fellow advocates have given him this honor," said Abiola Oladayo, his wife.
The award was presented by Manju Chatani-Gada of AVAC, who directs the AVAC Advocacy Fellows Program.
"Taiwo had many dreams and many aspirations for the future - as an international activist, as a photo documentarian, as a politician, as many things. Like Omololu, Taiwo lived his life in a hurry. And like him, he left his mark on all those who met him," Chatani-Gada said. "Taiwo's work exemplified the spirit of this award to recognize community advocates' critical role in research and in getting new options to those who need it most."
The Omololu Falobi Award For Excellence In HIV Prevention Research was conceptualized and the process coordinated by the African Microbicides Advocacy Group (AMAG) in partnership with AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention Research, the Global Campaign for Microbicides (GCM), International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA), Journalists Against AIDS in Nigeria (JAAIDS), the New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society (NHVMAS), and the Treatment Action Movement Nigeria (TAM). Joining the coordinating committee this year are the International Rectal Microbicides Advocates (IRMA) and the African AIDS Vaccine Programme (AAVP).
The award honors Omololu Falobi, a visionary leader who continues to inspire many people and projects. He was a leading HIV/AIDS activist, an advocate for prevention research, and an exceptional journalist. Omololu made enormous impact in Nigeria and beyond – he nurtured and/or led campaigns related to prevention, treatment and research; won multiple awards nationally and internationally; and earned a tremendous reputation from all who had the privilege to work with him. He established the Journalists Against AIDS in Nigeria (JAAIDS), co-created the Nigeria-AIDS eForum, co-founded the New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society of Nigeria (NHVMAS), was an instrumental pioneer member of the Treatment Access Movement (TAM) Nigeria and a key leader of the African Civil Society Coalition on HIV and AIDS.
Financial support for the Award since 2008 comes from AMAG, AVAC, GCM, FHI360, NHVMAS, the Open Society Institute in South Africa and UNAIDS.
CONTACT: Manju Chatani, firstname.lastname@example.org; +1-413-923-8674, or Kay Marshall, email@example.com; +1-347-249-6375 or +27 76 867 0818
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