Joel Nana (right) at the recent
OUT Gala Dinner with a friend.

Joel Nana, who is based in South Africa, has won an award for International Activist of the year from Ireland’s National Lesbian and Gay Federation.

Cameroon-born Nana has worked as a LGBT human rights advocate in a number of African nations, including Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, in addition to his home country.

Last year Nana set up African Men for Sexual Health & Rights (AMSHER), a coalition of organisations from 15 African countries that seeks to promote the sexual health of men who have sex with men. The organisation is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“I feel honoured to have been chosen out of the many superlative activists working towards redressing the human rights violations faced by LGBTI persons on the continent and around the world,” Nana told Behind the Mask after winning the ‘GALA’ award.

“For me, the prize represents more than just myself. It is the recognition of the contributions made by us all to advance the protection of LGBTI persons,” he said.

Nana – who has also worked in the field of HIV and AIDS activism – is fluent in English, French, Banso, and Medumba and has also studied German and Estonian. He obtained his LLM (Masters) in International Human Rights Law from the University of the Western Cape.

As part of the GALA award, Nana won a bursary of €2,000, provided by Amnesty International, ICCL, Frontline Defenders and NLGF, towards his continuing LGBT activist work.

The Gay and Lesbian Awards (GALAS) are hosted by the Irish National Lesbian and Gay Federation to honour lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people and organisations .

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