In a heartfelt and emotional gathering that resonated with unity, resilience, and gratitude, last Friday, August 18th, marked a significant milestone for Uganda’s key population community and civil society organisations. The occasion was the farewell evening for Ambassador Natalie E. Brown, hosted by the Uganda Key Populations Consortium (UKPC). With representatives from various sectors and organisations in attendance, the event underscored the profound impact of Ambassador Brown’s engagement and partnership.
A Night of Unity and Reflection
Richard Lusimbo, the Director General of UKPC, encapsulated the evening’s sentiment as he addressed the audience. “Tonight, we come together not just to bid farewell but to celebrate the transformation that Ambassador Brown has helped catalyse within our key population community,” he remarked. Lusimbo, who later had a fireside chat with the Ambassador, highlighted the shared journey of advocating for health, human rights, and socio-economic justice, and expressed the collective appreciation of Ambassador Brown’s enduring support.
Voices of Gratitude
The evening saw a series of heartfelt speeches from representatives of various organisations who had worked closely with Ambassador Brown. Kenneth Mwehonge-Executive Director at Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development(HEPS-Uganda),Lillian Mworeko-Executive Director at Interrnational Community of Women Living with HIV East Africa(ICWEA), Ruth Awori-Executive Director at Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV (UNYPA), Macklean Kyomya-Executive Director at Alliance of Women Advocating for Change, and Allan Nsubuga- Sexual Minorities Uganda(SMUG) all took turns to share their experiences and express their gratitude. Each speaker attested to the unwavering support and genuine partnership that Ambassador Brown extended, which transformed aspirations into actions.
As a tribute to the Ambassador, UKPC presented her with a special book, meticulously curated to encapsulate her engagement with the key populations across Uganda. The book, a tapestry of memories, narrates Ambassador Brown’s interactions, her visits to various regions, and her active participation in events that championed the key population cause. Lusimbo spoke about the book with reverence, underlining its significance as a testament to the impact that Ambassador Brown has had on the lives of countless individuals.
US Support Against Stigma and Discrimination
One resounding theme echoed throughout the event: the impact of US support against stigma and discrimination. Ambassador Brown’s engagement was celebrated as a testament to the commitment of the United States in standing shoulder to shoulder with Uganda’s key population community. Her efforts were commended for fostering an environment of inclusivity, dignity, and progress.
A Farewell with Gratitude
In her closing words, Ambassador Brown expressed her deep gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with the key population community. “This evening is a celebration of our shared values and our commitment to building a more inclusive and equitable society,” she affirmed. Ambassador Brown recognized the collective achievements, expressed her hope for continued progress, and emphasised her optimism for the future of Uganda’s key populations.
As the evening concluded, hearts were full of gratitude, and eyes glistened with emotions. The farewell to Ambassador Natalie E. Brown was not just a goodbye; it was a testament to the connections, memories, and transformative impact she had on Uganda’s key population community.
With ambassadors of change like Ambassador Brown, the path towards a more just and inclusive society remains steadfast, and the memories of this evening will continue to inspire growth and unity in the years to come.