In an effort to show you just how meaningful the donations made during Burundi Week are, we are highlighting one of our many courageous advocates working for justice in Burundi. Gatavu Audace was selected to be an IBJ JusticeMaker Fellow in 2012 for his dedication to improving the legal situation in his home country. Recently, we had a chance to interview Audace about his JusticeMakers project and what IBJ Burundi means to him.


IBJ: What made you apply for IBJ’s JusticeMakers Competition?

AG: When I applied for IBJ’s JusticeMaker Competition, I was working with people living with HIV/AIDS and I was shocked by the way they were threatened in prisons. They were {not} considered as normal prisoners because of their incurable disease. I applied therefore to save some from prison as soon as possible.

IBJ: What were some of the initial challenges you faced in implementing your work?

AG: I faced the challenge of talking to judges that do not {give} consideration to the particular situation of prisoners with HIV/AIDS. There was a serious problem of undue delay of procedures and these people were hopeless! Some of them refused to take their medication and died in prison just because they considered their life already lost!

IBJ: What were you able to achieve with your grant of $5,000?

AG: I stood beside hopeless people and raised my voice for their cases. I encouraged some of them not to give up despite the hardships they were experiencing. With the $5000, the prison officials and prisoners and the community knew that these people have value and are worthy. In representing them before the court, I gave them the consideration they longed for since they knew they was HIV positive.

IBJ: What have you gained from joining the international community of JusticeMakers Fellows?

AG: I am always learning from other Fellows. I now belong to a community of service providers to which I am conscientious of the quality of their work.

As a recipient of IBJ’s JusticeMakers Competition, what advice would you give to those looking to apply?

AG: IBJ’s JusticeMakers Competition is an opportunity that is given to YOU to serve YOUR community. Don’t miss it! Try! You’ll never know if you do not try!

Beyond his work with IBJ, Audace has been recognized by other legal organizations, notably receiving a fellowship from the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law in Washington, D.C. this year. Read the full interview here.

You can follow Gatavu Audace on Facebook for updates on his work here. Watch an earlier interview conducted with Audace here.