Kene Esom

OPEN UP LEADERSHIP

AMSHeR Executive Director, 2015 – 2017
As a child, Kene Esom was intrigued by stories of Martin Luther King Jnr’s commitment to achieving social change through dialogue. Little wonder then that as part of the AMSHeR team from 2011 to 2017, he made a significant contribution to advancing thought leadership on human rights and access to HIV health services for LGBT+ and other key populations in Africa through training and technical advisory. As a remarkable contribution, he developed a research agenda to support policy reform and evidence-based advocacy with government officials that was implemented across 25 African countries.

Kene quotes “integrity, compassion, and diligence” as three cardinal values that governs his professional and personal life.

Indeed, during his tenure as Executive Director from April 2015 to August 2017, he focused on entrenching AMSHeR’s position as a credible, authoritative community voice and thought leader on issues of human rights, HIV, sexual orientation and gender identity in Africa. Specifically, he led AMSHeR through a period of organisational transformation, ushering in a new strategic direction and expanding the organisation’s footprint in the international rights and health governance sector.

His personal views on HIV/AIDS are possibly most evident in the following extract from a speech he made during at the 38th annual United Nations Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) reception in Geneva in 2016: “Funding Key Populations communities is not only the pragmatic, evidence-based, sensible thing to do, it is also the morally just thing to do in order to end AIDS.” Or, in the words of Martin Luther King Jnr, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Funding Key Populations communities is not only the pragmatic, evidence-based, sensible thing to do, it is also the morally just thing to do.

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