On October 12th, the Internews Health Journalism Network announced that El Colectivo 506 co-founder Katherine Stanley Obando’s four-part series on HIV in Costa Rica, with photographs and editing by Mónica Quesada Cordero, has been selected as the outstanding reporting product from this year’s global HIV-AIDS Reporting Fellowship.
The fellowship provided partial funding for Katherine’s reporting. It is run by the Internews network with support from the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an organization founded by Brian May, Roger Taylor, and their manager Jim Beach, in memory of Queen’s iconic lead singer Freddie Mercury. Mercury died in 1991 from AIDS-related causes.
“Katherine’s story series on HIV/AIDS in Costa Rica went above and beyond expectations for the fellowship, and her stories have certainly helped to drive much-needed conversation and focus around this topic in her community,” Internews wrote in its prize announcement. The series explored success and limitations in efforts to improve the mental health of people with HIV in Costa Rica, through the stories of three residents at a Cartago HIV home.
Through the fellowship, Katherine received mentorship from renowned health journalist Paula Andalo, and attended trainings alongside her fellow recipients—extraordinary journalists from around the world, some of whom face intense pressure and even threats to their physical safety as they report on HIV in contexts of severe discrimination, stigma, and homophobia. They are Laura Otieno, Kenya; Avit Ndayiziga, Burundi; Aliya Bashir, India; Alex Ababio, Ghana; Ugonna-Ora Owoh, Nigeria; Aaron Ainomugisha, Uganda; Aletta Shikololo, Namibia; Catherine Mwauyakufa, Zimbabwe; and M. Waqar Bhatti, Pakistan. Read more about them here.
We thank everyone who was involved in creating the series with us, especially Vanessa Coto, Nelson Chacón, and Noelia Solano of Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza HIV Home in Cartago; and Dr. David Reyna of the Hospital México HIV Clinic and the Care with Love Foundation.
Above all, our thanks go to Alonso*, Sofía*, and Miguel for their honesty and courage. Your stories will stay with us always.
And attend our IN-PERSON, Spanish-language event in San José for a podcast listening party and discussion of HIV in Costa Rica: