You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘UN agencies’ tag.

A year ago I tried everything to get out of going to the AIDS conference. I’ve been to every AIDS Conference since Durban (2000) bar Bangkok and I’ve just been feeling the AIDS fatigue bug myself. So when it was decided that I was leading our initiatives at this year’s conference in Vienna, I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy.

Technically I should have been. I knew before we even saw the results, that we’d be announcing the impact evaluation results from our multi-country study of the Ignite project – which I led – and there was the Viacom initiatives as part of the HIV/AIDS sub-committe that I co-chair, so technically it made sense that I should lead our involvement. I still wasn’t jumping for joy.

The results from our programming are worth going to Vienna for. And in true MTV style we’ve made it a bit of an event (on a budget). Viacom isn’t scaling back either, we’re having our biggest booth, therefore presence, than ever before, and we’re aiming to top our Mexico party (hard to do, but I’m feeling our leadership in action theme). Today I saw the remaining artwork for the signage and I’m actually excited about going to Vienna.

I’m excited because we’re showing that we do care. As a company we could just pay lip-service, but with the presence of the senior executives attending as well as our investment in these events, I think we are saying, we care, we matter, and we want to keep being involved.

And somewhere along the line I hope to learn a lot, but not get information overload. I was actually looking at the new UNAIDS report and was glad to see that it was in an easy to digest format, and with a decent number of pages that didn’t make me have to put aside too much time to go through it. I like the fact that UNAIDS is prioritising youth leadership – as I’ve always had a problem with tokenism but also with youth thinking they’re entitled to Lord knows what – but to have them meaningfully engaged, that’s what matters. As long as they know that they too have to put the work in. Leadership is a huge responsibility. As I say, great leaders are born, but anyone can learn to be a leader, as long as they take up the challenge themselves.

But I’ll also be glad when the conference is over – so I can get some sleep. Going to bed at 2am two nights in a row is no fun. Today, I had to give in and attempt to go to bed early – I should hit my usual 11ish bed time. Though when I get back from Vienna, I’m in London for like two days before I jet off to Joburg for a planning meeting with the base Africa team. Happy days.

Anyway look out for my blogs while in Vienna, I’ll keep you posted.

this is an interesting one.  coming from the relatively small NGO world in Africa to work for this huge global entity, it really was like a different world all together. you know the HIV/AIDS world has it’s own language, but then so does the private sector and that excited me.  then i started working with my boss on our ‘partner’ relations (i call it that, that’s not the official term for it – public-private partnerships i think it’s called in the NGO world) and i began to see the merging of the language.  it wasn’t always pretty.

the truth of the matter is that the ppps work because each partner recognizes the need of the other, but when one starts taking the other for granted, it doesn’t quite sit well.  i think sometimes the private sector do have their own little arrogance because they don’t have to play by the same rules as the NGO or UN agencies and other philanthropic organisations and sometimes that’s a good thing – because they can push the boundaries in the way the agencies can’t.  but then again the non-profits don’t always appreciate this.

the non-profits have their own arrogance too, because they know the issues, they’re in touch with the ‘real people’, they’re saving people’s lives on the ground.  allegedly. (ok some of them can prove this).  and they think their way – the tried and trusted way – is the right way.  So you know there’s going to be conflict.

i must admit that sometimes i listen to middle class white americans (no offence) based in a US city telling me what a young African woman would or wouldn’t do.  and don’t get me wrong, i don’t think for a minute that i represent all young african women or that i’m a typical african woman, because i know that i did have the privilege of growing up in London and Stockhom and that i have- as my father would say- western ideals.  but i still think that i know a little bit better about young African women – especially the type we reach with MTV.

sigh.  oh well, at the end of the day the most important thing is getting the message across right?  hmmm i’ll give you my take on that one another time.

(by the way if this post doesn’t make sense, i totally blame it on the fact that i started writing it and then went to a digital thing for almost 3 hours and then came back to finish this off!)