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SAfAIDS Executive Director emerges a winner



SAfAIDS Executive Director emerges a winner

The SAfAIDS Executive Director, Lois Chingandu shrugged off stiff competition from top women in business and government to become a Country Winner in the Welfare and Civil Society Organisations sector of CEO Global Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards, held in Lusaka, Zambia, recently.


Taking a leaf from Julius Nyerere that “development is for people by people;  people cannot be developed, rather they must be capacitated to develop themselves”, over the years, Chingandu has served as a catalyst in raising people’s consciousness of their inherent capacity to develop themselves.


This accolade comes in recognition of her influential contribution to the NGO/civil society sector in Africa’s HIV response, where she has worked for the last 25 years, starting out as a community midwife. Today, she is the Executive Director of SAfAIDS, a regional southern African non-profit organisation. Throughout her career, she has been actively involved in mobilising communities to address the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV and other marginalised populations to change the harmful cultural practices that undermine women and put them at risk of contracting the infection.


She is known globally as a civil society advocate for gender equality and women’s rights, through writing and delivering papers at international platforms on HIV and sexual reproductive health, including the United Nations, and sitting on strategic task forces and boards where she speaks for the millions of women and girls who have no access to these spaces.


Her passion is people. She believes that people are the most important resource of any organisation community and nation. Developing individuals results in growth that translates into productive energy, innovation and competitive edge, while investing in their development makes them feel valued and increases their feelings of ownership and commitment to the organisation.


Amongst her key achievements, both individually and as Executive Director of SAfAIDS, is her representation of civil society organisations on the numerous Think Tanks and Advisory Committees to which she is invited to provide her vision and guidance.


In June 2016, she represented civil society on the Zimbabwe Government delegation to the United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV, in New York, while as Deputy Chairperson of the United Nations Taskforce for Women and Girls, she has participated in many joint country missions alongside other task force members and the UN family. In this role, she met with Former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda, and the Malawi parliament, to motivate them to pass a law raising the age of marriage from 16 to 18 years.


This was followed by a mission to South Africa where they met with then Vice President Kgalema Monhlante, to raise awareness on the high levels of gender-based violence against women and girls, people living with disability and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Similar missions have taken her to Namibia and Zimbabwe to meet with the first ladies of both countries and as co-chair of the community committee, Mrs Chingandu was instrumental in supporting Zimbabwe to successfully host the December 2015 International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), attended by 7,000 people.


Lois was instrumental in the conceptualisation and design of the innovative ‘Changing the Rivers Flow’ model, which enables communities to confront traditional and religious practices that marginalise African women and adolescents increasing their risk to HIV and gender-based violence.


She has also been the guiding light behind the SAfAIDS Regional Young Women Leadership Academy for the development of women and girls, which has seen 75 young women and 6 men from across the region graduate and go on to excel as individuals and take up roles in leading the continent to greater development heights.    

SAfAIDS ED Wins Award220916.pdf6.18 MB