Will you chip in?

TODAY – thanks to the generosity of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and IRMA members, we already have $3,485 in our John Shaw Memorial Scholarship Fund to help support IRMA advocates attend the Microbicides 2010 conference coming up in Pittsburgh, May 2010.

We would like to bring that total to $10,000 – so we can help as many people as possible attend this important conference – and here is where you come in.

To donate to the John Shaw Memorial Scholarship fund, you may do so securely right here on this blog. In the upper left hand corner, there is a Chip In! box (just like the one right in this post) that allows you to donate whatever amount you would like via PayPal – securely.

The planners of M2010 are providing a large number of scholarships – so IRMA plans to fill in the gaps for rectal microbicide advocates who were unable to secure that support. We plan to release information on IRMA’s competitive scholarship process in early January 2009. Microbicides 2010 will be announcing their scholarships on February 1 – and IRMA will announce recipients of our support by March 1, 2010. IRMA scholarship recipients are required to have applied for M2010 support to be considered.

IRMA created the John Shaw Memorial Scholarship Fund in late 2007. John was a valued, enthusiastic and delightful member of the IRMA Steering Committee for over a year. He passed away Thursday, September 27, 2007. An LGBTQ/human rights advocate for over 20 years, John was also a Person With AIDS since at least 1990.

His fund helped rectal microbicide advocates attend the M2008 conference in New Delhi. Click here for a list of scholarship recipients, including Kadiri Audu of IRMA Nigeria, who went on to become Community Vice Chair of IRMA’s Steering Commitee. He wrote about his Delhi/Microbicides 2008 conference for the IRMA blog – which we have republished below.

We hope he will inspire you to chip in – anything at all helps!


Correspondence from IRMA advocates
by way of India

M2008 memories and the path forward

Taking rectal microbicide advocacy
to the next level in Lagos

by Kadiri Audu, Lagos. Nigeria
[read Kadiri’s bio]

First, I want to thank the organizers of Microbicides 2008, IRMA, AIDS Foundation of Chicago and the John Shaw Memorial Scholarship fund that gave me the opportunity to attend the M2008 in New Delhi.

New Delhi is beautiful and the weather was just alright. I do not know if there is any better place to have hosted the conference in India, the conference was exciting and wonderful. It was interesting to have met new advocates from other parts of the world, and it was also interesting to know that people from the developed world like the USA and Canada are actually leading the research on rectal microbicides. Also, the Advocates Corner was a splendid idea because it gave the John Shaw Scholarship recipients, new advocates, and other IRMA members the chance to meet one another and build networking links among ourselves. My favorite memory was the chance to meet other advocates and the dinner organized for the conference participants.

I have been sharing my experience of the conference with members of the various networks that I belong to in our meetings. In addition to sharing my experience, I also share some materials that I collected at the advocates corner, i.e. stickers, pens and posters carrying the message about the conference.

In taking rectal microbicide advocacy to the next level, we have already formed Lagos IRMA, the aim is to mobilize more advocates in line with IRMA research and activities. We have even started e-mailing in that regards – our email address is lagosirma@yahoo.com, myself and Abdullrahaman formed it. He is also a new advocate that attended the conference and we operate from the same city. As of today we have 21 new members from our community.

Presently we are looking at reaching out to more people and groups like the youth leaders, the artisan groups like the hair dressers association, barbers association, the auto mechanic association, etc within our locality.

I would also like to suggest that we have training opportunities for us and our new members so as to be able to carry on the work effectively.

Thanks once again.
Kadiri Audu E