09 Oct 2017
Please join us in welcoming Sasha Volgina and Omar Syarif to the GNP+ Team!
The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) is thrilled to announce the addition of two outstanding global HIV activists to our reinvigorated Secretariat team. Beginning this month, Sasha Volgina will join the Amsterdam office as our new Director of Programmes, and Omar Syarif will join GNP+ as our Treatment Access Specialist Program Officer, based in his hometown of Jakarta, Indonesia.
Sasha Volgina is a former intravenous drug user who became interested in AIDS advocacy in 2000 following her HIV+ diagnosis. She quickly became an activist in FrontAIDS, the treatment advocacy movement in Russia and co-founded Svecha, one of the first HIV community-based organizations in the country. Over the years, Sasha has been recognized for her work establishing antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence programs for drug users in Russia as well as for leading a campaign against ART stock outs in Russia in 2011. Since 2013, Sasha has been living in Kiev, Ukraine, working first with the East Europe & Central Asia Union of People Living with HIV (ECUO) and most recently as the International Advisor for the All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH. Sasha is a former member of the NGO Delegation to the UNAIDS PCB and currently serves as an acting member of the communities delegations of both the Global Fund and UNITAID boards.
Omar Syarif’s journey in the AIDS movement started when he joined a local People Living with HIV (PLHIV) support group in Indonesia in 2005. Soon after, he left his career in the hospitality industry and dedicated his time to working as an outreach worker for injecting drug users with a harm reduction NGO in the western part of Jakarta. In 2008, the HIV positive community organized and formed the Indonesian National PLHIV Network and Omar supported them throughout the process. He then became their Resource Mobilization Deputy and served as the Indonesian PLHIV Network’s National Coordinator from 2011 – 2012. During this time, Omar represented the PLHIV community in many strategic platforms both at the national and regional level, including with Indonesia’s Country Coordinating Mechanism with the Global Fund and with the United Nation’s Regional Joint Initiative on HIV and Migration. Until recently, Omar has been working as the Capacity Development Program Manager of the Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV (APN+) in Bangkok, Thailand. Omar is passionate about strengthening the advocacy voice of community groups for better HIV and Hepatitis C treatment access, and as such, he is pleased to continue being actively engaged in the global networking of treatment activists championing for access to affordable medicines through his new role at GNP+
“In our shared struggle to get good medicines, health care, legal and policy environments, and other human rights protections, Sasha Volgina and Omar Syarif are unparalleled advocates,” says Laurel Sprague, Executive Director of GNP+. “Sasha’s commitment to communities of people living with HIV shows throughout her actions, whether leading street protests, calculating budgets, tracking drug prices, or negotiating with governments. Additionally across the Asia Pacific region, Omar is recognized for his astute analyses of the barriers to HIV and HCV treatment and his support for PLHIV-led advocacy,’’ Sprague adds. “As GNP+ listens ever more closely to PLHIV and key population communities and adapts to respond to the current priorities of our communities around the world, we are delighted to bring Sasha and Omar and their experiences, expertise and passion into our Secretariat team.”