Sophie Dilmitis has almost two decades of pioneering grassroots work and top-level policy development focusing on women and young people in developing and developed countries.
Born in Zimbabwe, Sophie has been living with HIV for 24 years. She is a vocal advocate for policies and programmes that work for women in all their diversity and programmes that integrate sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) with HIV. Her expertise at all levels of AIDS policy-making and implementation in these areas adds considerably to her portfolio of experience.
In Harare, Sophie founded the Choose Life Trust, a youth-led organisation run by young people living with HIV, where she developed a comprehensive sexuality education and HIV awareness-training programme, implemented in 30 schools over a five-year period and reaching more than 7,000 young people. Her weekly newspaper column, “Factor Positive”, on issues related to HIV and published in the Harare Sunday Mirror, won the Auxillia Chimusoro Award for excellence in media reporting.
Sophie worked for the World YWCA for five years (2006 – 2011), developing and implementing their Global Strategy on SRHR and HIV. In 2007 she convened a leadership summit for women living with HIV, bringing together over 300 women living with HIV from across the globe. The training package on SRHR and HIV that she developed for the World YWCA Regional Training Institutes was implemented in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, the Caribbean and in Europe, reaching over 50 YWCA Member Associations.
Since 2012 Sophie has worked as a consultant – on a variety of projects with a substantial focus on the Global Fund’s response to gender. Sophie played a substantial role in supporting Women4GlobalFund (W4GF) which brings together women’s rights advocates, especially women living with HIV, and directly affected by TB and malaria — to advance gender equality through the Global Fund. Sophie has been with W4GF since April 2015 and since September 2016 became the Global Coordinator.
Sophie was a member of the Conference Coordinating Committee for the 2008 and 2010 International AIDS Conferences, and was the European Regional Representative on the board of the International Community of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (ICW) from 2007-2009. In 2010, she was appointed to represent women living with HIV on the Technical Advisory Group for the Commission on HIV and the Law. In 2016, she stepped down from the International Steering Committee of the Robert Carr Fund for civil society networks, after serving two terms.
Sophie lives in Zimbabwe, with her son.