Human Rights Watch mourns the death of its Nigerian colleague Omololu Falobi, 35, a multiple-awards winning journalist and human rights activist. Falobi died unexpectedly on October 5th, leaving behind his wife and two young children.
Human Rights Watch spoke with Falobi in July 2006 about his work and his hopes for the impact of journalism on the AIDS epidemic.
Falobi was the founder/executive director of Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS) Nigeria. At the 15th International AIDS conference in 2000, he won the International AIDS Society's Young Investigator Award. The same year, he was named the winner of the Highway Africa Award for Innovative Use of New Media, an award that recognizes outstanding and innovative use of the Internet in African journalism.
In 2001, he was appointed an Ashoka Fellow in recognition of his outstanding and innovative approaches to 're-engineering society'. In recognition of this advocacy on HIV/AIDS in Africa, he was selected as the African NGO representative on the board of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) for 2004 and 2005. More recently, he helped in convening the African Civil Society Coalition on HIV and AIDS, which serves as an umbrella movement for organizations involved in HIV and AIDS advocacy and campaigns on the continent.
“His individual leadership, his longtime commitment to pushing for Africa's own community leadership over its epidemic, his example of how journalists can be stronger social activists, his vision and championing of the Nigeria E-Forum (the only HIV/AIDS-focused listserve of its type and breadth in Africa), and his ability to draw other activists together for positive change have inspired and motivated people from around the globe into action - including me. His legacy speaks for itself...but his departure from us leaves a great void.” –Ron MacInnis, the Director of Health Journalism at Internews
More tributes to Omololu at: http://omololu-falobi.blogspot.com/