Dira Sengwe (take action) is a South African based NGO that was established in 2003 by the members of the local organizing committee of the groundbreaking XIIIth International AIDS Conference held in Durban in 2000. The 2000 Conference still remains one of the largest AIDS Conference ever held in Africa and is acknowledged as the turning point in the struggle to ensure affordable AIDS treatment. Following the international awareness generated by the more than 2000 journalists who attended the 2000 Conference, successful pressure was exerted on the pharmaceutical industry to dramatically reduce the cost of AIDS treatment and an international movement was begun to secure donor support for treatment in Africa. This eventually led to the establishment of the PEPFAR Programme and the Global Fund.
The Dira Sengwe Board decided to institute this Leadership Award in order to recognize exceptional contributions by individuals or organizations in the country in the response to the HIV epidemic. It is quite clear to us that there are numerous persons and groups doing excellent work in a difficult field often under challenging circumstances, most of then unknown to their country and unrewarded.
Once again we wish to offer an opportunity to these unheralded people to tell their peers and their fellow South Africans how they made a contributions so that their expectations can become lessons and their courage or
determination an inspiration to others. Our view is that the country suffers from a serious crisis in the absence of a sufficient number if individuals to serve as guides, as ethical beacons and leaders,whom the young can emulate.
Leadership in many walks of life and in massive number of public and private institutions, is dreadfully scarce. We have therefore, by this tiny effort, tried to encourage leaders of the future through this award.