Kennedy Mupeli

Center for Youth of Hope - 2017 Fellow - 2017

Kennedy is currently engaged in science literacy training for civil society organizations for people living with HIV and in national U=U campaigns. He became involved in grassroots AIDS activism after going public about his HIV status in 1998. Although not a scientist, he is passionate about biomedical research. He has been involved in efforts for greater involvement of people living with HIV and more recently on issues of access to treatment and biomedical prevention interventions.

Fellowship Focus
Kennedy formed the first PrEP advocacy coalition in Botswana: PrEP Watch Botswana. He joined the Ministry of Health’s PrEP Technical Working Group, where he catalyzed the drafting of PrEP guidelines and funding for PrEP implementation. He worked closely with communities to introduce PrEP information across the country, generating awareness, demand and advocacy for its implementation. He also identified and supported a PrEP ambassador to champion PrEP and be the public face of PrEP. As a result of his successful PrEP campaigning, Kennedy was invited to write a weekly column on HIV for the Midweek Sun newspaper. His coalition continues to advocate for PrEP rollout as well as the dapivirine ring and other biomedical prevention. He also helped to set up a pioneer health journalists coalition in Botswana to keep HIV/AIDS and other health issues at the forefront of their coverage.

In Their Own Words
During my early years of advocacy, I was exposed to a more radical advocacy approach. I have since learned that sometimes diplomacy is an equally effective approach to influence change. You only need a plan with realistic objectives and evidence. Intensive literature review is also vital for a successful advocacy project. I had all this and it worked for me. I was able to work within the ranks of the Ministry of Health (technical working group) to influence change, and change has happened and is still happening.


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