INTERVIEW: NBS’ Humphrey Nabimanya Started His HIV/AIDS Activism At 13

Humphrey with Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia's former President

Keep fit walk a journey with friends and family members

His Television program Youth Voice Which airs every Saturday morning on NBS TV is the country’s most popular youth program because of the unique message it carries compared to others.

Inspiration Guru and Reach A Hand Uganda CEO Humphrey Nabimanya is known for his awareness Drive that uses Celebrities to campaign against HIV/AIDS in the country. Today, he will be a key note speaker at the TED EX experience whose theme is “Positive Disruption”. He spoke to Red Pepper Online’s Alex Masereka about why he chose this path.

Tell Me about yourself

Humphrey Nabimanya (L) and Uganda's minister of Trade Amelia Kyambade at a recent function in which the former was recognized for his work
Humphrey Nabimanya (L) and Uganda’s minister of Trade Amelia Kyambade at a recent function in which the former was recognized for his work

I am Humphrey Nabimanya, born 23 years ago, my mother succumbed to cancer when I was nine months old so I was raised by my sister until I clocked the age of sister  lost her first husband to the deadly HIV.I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Psychology at Makerere University in my 3rd year.

Both my sister and her partner were HIV positive and a time came when they had to take that difficult step to disclose their status to the public and begin sensitizing people about the dangers of HIV/AIDS.

Is That what inspired you to start an awareness campaign against the virus?

Yes, I was strongly affected by the status of my guardians. I also experienced discrimination just like them from my peers and their parents.

So I started sensitizing my peers about the dangers of HIV/AIDS when I was 13 years old, at some point I was suspended from school for openly advocating for safe sex and abstinence in school.

Didn’t That break your resolve?

No, actually it encouraged me to fight harder because in 2004, at 15 I joined secondary school at Kiira College Butiki. In my first year at the School, I joined many clubs of my interest until I landed on the World Starts With Me Program (WSWM), an HIV/AIDS awareness and sexuality education program funded by Rutgers World Population Foundation and implemented by school Net Uganda.

When did you realize that you could be a peer educator?

Humphrey with Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia's former President
Humphrey with Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s former President

It was at Butiki while serving in the World Starts With Me Program, because of the passion I had for creating awareness, I was identified as a peer educator and started attending WSWM training for teachers and peer educators.

Through “the world starts with me” project, I got the opportunity to visit over 100 schools across the country sharing my experience with other young people and advocating for safe reproductive health choices.

How did this help build the person you are now?

Through that I saw myself contributing to the development of our nation and being at the forefront in the fight against HIV/AIDS. So many young people approached me with different questions and that really inspired me to work a little harder; I therefore I created a youth television program on NBS Television.

I have been hosting the show since 2007. The youth talk show on NBS TV relays positive messages to young people, teachers and parents on issues to do with HIV/AIDS, sexuality, entrepreneurship skills.

How did Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU)begin? and What is it all about?

Humphrey (R) at an international conference attended by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Humphrey work has enabled hi to travel the world creating awareness about reproductive health
Humphrey (R) at an international conference attended by Archbishop Desmond Tutu(C). Humphrey work has enabled hi to travel the world creating awareness about reproductive health

After thinking of something that I could add to the Television program to increase the reach of my message, In 2010 I started Reach A Hand Uganda,  a youth empowerment and sensitization organization as a platform for young people in Uganda to express themselves, acquire knowledge and skills to enable them make informed decisions in life.

In Reach A Hand Uganda, we use artists and prominent figures in society to inspire the young people through our visits which are normally to secondary schools.

We also use peer learning which creates a conducive environment for youth to share and explore.

What is the status of the program at the moment?

Currently due to our available capacity and resources, RAHU covers 30 secondary schools in four districts in central Uganda; Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono and Mpigi.

Apart From Creating Awareness about HIV/AIDS, what else has this work earned you?

Through my advocacy work with young people I have received recognition. I received a Young Achievers Award in 2011 in the Film and Television Category which recognized the role I have played in the society as a young person, The National Thanksgiving gala, Nambi initiative award 2012 for my work towards mitigating the suffering of vulnerable children in Uganda.

Also, I have been recognized and been able to attend international conferences since 2009, giving key note speeches in different countries including Indonesia, Netherlands, Kenya, Rwanda, USA, Malaysia etc.

Where do you see yourself in the near future?

My dream to day is to expand the Reach A Hand Uganda project into a sustainable project on reproductive health, physical, social and intellectual growth and development of young people in Uganda.

I have a passion for youth development programs because I believe we are the drivers or our nation. If we don’t do it, no one will do it for us! Young People for Young People.



About Post Author