This profile was prepared when Jeanne Kouamé was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Jeanne Kouamé is setting up and encouraging local associations of people living with HIV/AIDS so that they will be able to pool their efforts in order to protect, articulate and promote their rights, interests and responsibilities. With a collective effort resulting in a regional network, these local associations can proactively put into place the mechanisms to deal with the common concerns that worry people suffering from the disease, such as the fate of their children after they have passed away. Through their associations, people living with HIV/AIDS will also be able to bring an effective contribution to the struggle against the infection.According to Jeanne, dealing with HIV/AIDS and its related issues is neither a matter of individual concern nor a question of leadership: it is a matter of being useful to the community, "it is a concern for all and everyone." Her work reflects her conviction that those who stand the best chance of developing social and political programs that deal effectively with the rapid spread of HIV and AIDS in the region are the populations that are the most affected.