Dr Joseph Matovu is senior lecturer at Busitema University and senior research associate at Makerere University in Uganda.

His research aims to improve HIV testing and links to HIV healthcare among men and young people in the Kasensero fishing community in Rakai, Uganda. His work explores whether it’s feasible for locally trained members of the community – known as ‘peer-leaders’ – to distribute HIV self-test kits to people in their social networks.


AREF’s workshops are unique as they bring together the expertise of facilitators who have a history of winning grants with people involved in peer review of research proposals. The facilitators not only show what it takes to write a winning grant, but they also provide a glimpse into the peer-reviewers’ room, revealing what it is specifically that they are looking for.

I learned how to pose a compelling research question and realised the importance of collaboration for writing and winning competitive grant proposals.

I’m so grateful to AREF for their support. I’m constantly using skills picked up in the workshop, and these have helped me secure funding as a Global Health Equity Scholar (GHES) at Yale University, and through AREF’s own fellowship programme – both of which have helped drive forward my research into HIV.