Our Founding Story
Nearly ten years after the first recorded case of HIV in Rwanda, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi took more than one million Rwandan lives, severely depleting the country’s health workforce and devastating an already fragile health care system. In the following years, dedicated leaders, communities and individuals came together to rebuild Rwanda and its health infrastructure in the face of the growing HIV/AIDs epidemic.
In 2006, a unique partnership between the Rwandan Defense Force (RDF), Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) and Drew Cares International (DCI) formed to serve a population particularly at risk of contracting and spreading HIV: the military, their families and surrounding communities.
In 2017, Alliance for Healthy Communities (AHC) was born out of this partnership, with the goal of creating local, sustainable capacity to continue the progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDs with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP). Drawing from a decade of experience and successes working with the RDF, CDU and DCI, AHC continues to play a critical role in providing innovative technical assistance with the aim of building the capacity of HIV/AIDs prevention, care and treatment programs in Rwanda.
In line with its goal to create sustainable capacity in communities across Rwanda, AHC is committed to strengthening the health systems in which it operates. While health systems have improved in Rwanda since the first case of HIV in 1983, regional progress has been unequal.
Health systems in sub-Saharan Africa are particularly in need of more and better-trained health workers. With more than 25% of the global burden of disease, but only 3% of the world’s health workers, people are falling through the cracks across Africa. When human capacity falls short, gaps in the delivery of life-saving health services grow wider.
Today, AHC is helping fill these critical health service gaps in Rwanda through evidence-based programs, including in HIV/AIDs and family planning, while also leveraging national best practices to address the root causes of the continent’s quality health workforce shortage through capacity building and evaluation across a diverse range of health issues and needs. See here for a summary of AHC’s work.
These programs would not be possible without the unwavering trust of the communities AHC serves, and the collaboration and support of its partners.
Eugene Sangano, MBA, MScExecutive Director
Charles Hilliard, Ph.D.Technical Advisor
Edouard Mashyaringa, MBAFormer SI and Operations Director at AHC
Dennis Tumwesigye, MAHR & Operations Director
Eugene Sangano, MBA, MSc
Eugene Sangano, MBA, MSc, is the lead Co-Founder and the inaugural Executive Director of Alliance for Healthy Communities. A global health leader with over 14 years of experience in sub-Saharan Africa, Eugene has held numerous managerial roles in program development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, as well as in the general management of programs and technical hands-on work. Eugene also serves as Principal Investigator/Project Director to the U.S. DOD HIV Prevention Program in the Rwandan Defence Forces.
Prior to joining AHC, Eugene worked with Drew Cares International in Rwanda since 2007 and served as the Country Director from 2013 to 2017. Previously, Eugene worked at Population Service International from 2004 to 2007.
Eugene holds a Master of Business Administration from The Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands, a Master of Science in Global Healthy Delivery from the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Rwanda (formerly known as the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology).
Charles Hilliard, Ph.D.
Dr. Charles L. Hilliard is a clinical psychologist, Assistant Clinical Professor, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, and Clinical Director of SPECTRUM Community Services and Research, a mental health center in South Los Angeles serving individuals living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Hilliard has dedicated himself to developing, establishing and leading HIV prevention, treatment and care programs in South Los Angeles, Rwanda and Zambia, particularly through the twin principles of capacity building and developing local leadership. For the past 23 years he has focused his clinical and research activities on mental health, HIV and under resourced communities, including the incarcerated, post-incarcerated, men who have sex with men, and adolescent girls and young women.
Edouard Mashyaringa, MBA
Edouard served as SI and Operations Director for AHC from October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018. He led the development and implementation of AHC’s overall monitoring and evaluation (M&E) strategy and framework. In this role, Edouard ensured that key information and feedback are reported to project stakeholders, builds the capacity of key decision makers to communicate and manage information more effectively, and develops systems and policies that facilitate communication between the technical team and other departments. Edouard also coordinated the operations support unit of the organisation.
With over 12 years of M&E experience, Edouard has held positions across a range of programs, including as the Strategic Information and M&E Manager at Drew Cares International, and the M&E Manager at Global Health Communities. Prior to this, Edouard supported UNFPA in Rwanda as its Information Technology and Data Manager, and also in the Central Africa Republic and Nigeria as the M&E Data Manager consultant on a UNFPA-UNAIDS HIV/AIDS Prevention, Women and Gender Balance Promotion program.
Edouard holds a B.A in Computer Science, and an MBA with a focus on Project Management, both from the University of Rwanda.
Dennis Tumwesigye, MA
As HR and Operations Director, Dennis ensures that the relationship between AHC and all staff is managed within a clear and appropriate framework. Dennis also coordinates AHC’s back-office operations to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the Administrative, Finance and Program Departments.
Prior to joining AHC, Dennis served as Finance Manager and later Human Resources and Finance Director at Drew Cares International in Rwanda, from 2010 to 2017. Dennis has held numerous positions at leading companies in Rwanda, including as Senior Tax consultant at KPS Associates, Head of Audit Unit at Rwanda Revenue Authority, Head of Personnel and Administrative Unit for the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Rwanda, and Lead Personnel Development for the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Rwanda.
Dennis graduated from the University of Rwanda with a Bachelor’s degree in Management, as well as from Makerere University in Uganda with a degree in Economic Policy Management. In November 2018, Dennis will earn his Master of Business Administration and Finance from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.