ATHENA 3.0 Update from our board chair on our Transition and growth as a network

 

Dear friends of ATHENA:

Happy New Year! In these strange, difficult, dangerous and troubling times, we write with cause for celebration:  ATHENA has moved to Windhoek, Namibia, in a new partnership with ARASA (AIDS and Rights in Southern Africa), as ATHENA’s fiscal host. This is the culmination of ATHENA’s vision to co-locate ATHENA's administrative hub with our programs and to become primarily Africa-based.

We are especially pleased to announce that long-time ATHENA core team member, Teresia Otieno, has stepped in as Acting Interim Director.  Teresia joined ATHENA as a team member in 2015, working to enhance community engagement and partnerships. She co-led ATHENA’s LEARN project under the DREAMs Initiatives to mobilize and educate young women around PrEP in Eastern Africa. Teresia has experience working across continents to mentor others and harness the mobilizing power of women, especially young women. She is from Kenya, now living in the US, and has served in various technical working groups and advisory committees globally. Teresia served as the chairperson of the International Community of Women Living with HIV and later as ICW North America Regional Coordinator.  We are grateful for her leadership. Teresia will supporting this next chapter of ATHENA with Catherine Nyambura (Kenya), Nyasha Sithole (Zimbabwe), Irene Ogeta (Kenya), and Helena Nangombe (Namibia).
 
WE WILL BE CONDUCTING A SEARCH FOR A PERMANENT DIRECTOR IN THE COMING MONTHS.
 
There are many friends, comrades and sister-travelers to thank in ATHENA’s global family.  I’d like to take this moment to offer deep thanks to several individuals who have been critical to envisioning, supporting and implementing this transition.  First, thanks go to the ARASA team who have warmly welcomed ATHENA and will serve as our fiscal host.  Second, ATHENA’s core team members and all of the many collaborators who have supported ATHENA over the years have all been crucial to this move.  The core team has been especially pivotal, nurturing   strong visions for ATHENA’s future with a focus on Eastern and Southern Africa as a base.  They have also sustained and grown ATHENA’s programming during a period of complicated and sometimes bumpy transition. We would also like to thank long-term staff members Ebony Johnson and Alex Murphy who worked with ATHENA until the closing of its US office. Many other consultants and team members have supported ATHENA over the years.

I also want to express my appreciation to ATHENA’s Advisory Board Jacquelyne Alesi, Nomi Fuchs-Montgomery and Mitchell Warren who have accompanied the core team through this process. Allen Kyendikuwa, who has since cycled off the Board, was also a critical participant in the process.
 
Deep gratitude is also due to ATHENA co-founder Tyler Crone (who founded ATHENA with Rachel Yassky).  Tyler has shepherded ATHENA from a loose network to a fully operational initiative.  In expressing her excitement about ATHENA 3.0, Tyler recently stressed her confidence “that this community will continue to innovate, evolve, and adapt to navigate and push for ever greater impact for gender equity, human rights, shared human dignity, global solidarity, and global health.  I am excited to see how ATHENA will continue to seed ever more feminist leadership, and itself continue on a feminist learning journey.”
 
We join in this excitement about the launch of ‘ATHENA 3.0,’ and see it as an opportunity to continue to amplify voices for gender equality and human rights in HIV and health policy venues, and especially the voices of young women and girls. With its vibrant and strong advocates in the lead, ATHENA is poised to continue to flourish from its new home and with new leadership.

Susana T Fried, Chair, ATHENA Board of Advisors

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