In 2002, thirty-seven African first ladies met in Geneva at a meeting facilitated by UNAIDS and the international AIDS Trust (IAT). As a result of this historic meeting the organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) was established as a collective voice for Africa’s most vulnerable people, women and children infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. ˧

Since then, OAFLA has transformed itself from a forum of ideas to an institution capable of providing the continent-wide leadership needed to bring about change in peoples’ lives. With its permanent secretariat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, OAFLA has moved from addressing the symptoms of the HIV/AIDS crisis to the root causes of poverty and the overall inequality of women in the region. ˧

© the authors changed: June 6, 2017