INTERVIEW: Humphrey Nabimanya calls himself a social entrepreneur. Apart from hosting a youth show on one of the local TV stations, Nabimanya is a HIV/AIDS activist and a counselor.
“My personal experience and what I witnessed in society created a yearning in me to cause change,” he says. He says when he was only 13-years old, neighbors never wanted to associate with his family because his guardians were HIV positive. They made him believe he was HIV positive too until tests recommended by a peer educator who visited their school proved that he was actually negative.
Nabimanya says this made him realise that his peers had to know what HIV was all about. He had information because his guardians had gone public about their status. They had a lot of material at home about HIV and sexuality; like posters and literature.
He started sharing whatever information he got from home with his school mates. Later while in secondary school, he decided to start sharing the same information with neighbouring schools, something that nearly earned him an expulsion because he often had to leave school without permission to do that.
Finally, he started a TV show not only to get him more audiences but because to him being on TV is considered ‘cool’ (prestigious). While he was not getting monetary gain, the TV show got him access to musicians and comedians.
“I thought of how to tap into this new opportunity because I knew the youth love celebrities. I made them my friends because I didn’t have money to pay them. I requested them to come along with me as I visited schools. They helped me spread my message. Soon I started receiving requests from teachers booking for my services,” he says.
In 2010, he founded Reach A Hand Uganda, an NGO that reaches out to the youth on HIV/AIDS and sexual reproductive health issues to further spread his message. Nabimanya is now 26 years old. He knows what impresses the youth and this is always at the back of his mind when laying the next strategy for empowering his age-mates with HIV, reproductive health, and life skills information. His latest is the Sautiplus.org website. It was launched on Sept.28 in a colorful event held at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) offices in Kampala.
The new bright and colorful site has extensive youth appealing information on sexual reproductive health and rights information. It has short videos, street casts, blogs and podcasts in addition to a talk-show known as the `Red Seat Moment’. There is also a tab for a counselor known as Sauti Senga.
“The youth don’t like dull unattractive things. They like learning as they enjoy. I love tickling them because I have faith that young people can be the best if well guided,” he says.
Nabimanya’s Lite side
Any three things we don’t know about you?
I have an eight months old baby although I am not yet married. I am also an orphan. My mother died when I was just nine months, it’s my sister who raised me.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness comes when one has people who love them unconditionally.
What is your greatest fear?
I fear excitement because it takes a lot of things away from your life for instance when you get excited about becoming famous, it can make you live a life that you may not afford.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I am too kind that sometimes it has cost me.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?