Brain Awareness Week (BAW), a global campaign organized by the Dana Foundation, aims to foster public enthusiasm and support for neuroscience among the general public all over the world. Together with Dana, IBRO offers Brain Awareness Week Grants every year, which intend to increase opportunities for outreach and awareness campaigns in regions challenged by a lack of resources, support and/or public understanding about the brain.

In this interview, Olivier Uwishema, an enthusiastic physician scientist from Rwanda currently studying in Turkey, and the founder and chairman of the Oli Health Magazine Organization (OHMO), talks about his experience organizing several activities with the support of an IBRO/Dana BAW grant. The activities took place in Rwanda, his home country, in March 2022 and 2023, and focused on raising awareness about stroke and other neurological diseases. The activities included lectures and seminars, the distribution of factsheets and booklets with educational information about stroke and other neurological diseases, and informative videos which were shared on OHMO’s social media channels. In addition, Olivier and his team collaborated with healthcare workers, local radio and television channels, and community leaders, who helped them disseminate accurate information to the locals.

It is the second year in a row in which Olivier has received a grant from the Dana Foundation and IBRO. Furthermore, Olivier was selected for the prestigious Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list in Medicine and Research for 2023.

What motivated you to organize these activities?

Growing up in Rwanda, I vividly remember how many clinics in my country were understaffed and did not have correct and trusted information on many neurological diseases, such as stroke. When I was a child, I helplessly watched many people who were suffering from different neurological disorders and diseases in my country. The desire to make a difference in these people’s lives has played a vital role in increasing my inclination to conduct research and come up with different projects to draw awareness to neurological diseases, such as the Brain Awareness Week activities I organized.

How did the grant help?

The grant enabled our organization to carry out many activities. The award was spent on materials for the lectures and seminars, such as projectors, microphones, a power generator, and internet, as well as on logistics, to provide transport, accommodation and refreshments for facilitators, printing and translation services, and advertising costs. I am really grateful to IBRO and the Dana Foundation for this award because without it we would not have been able to make the activities happen. 

Join Olivier Uwishema: Submit your Brain Awareness Week Grant application by 1 October 2023.


If you are an IBRO awardee and would like to share your experience, contact IBRO Communications Manager, Carolina Araujo Sousa, at