Groups get $82.5M for HIV/AIDS fight By Neil Marks
Guyana Chronicle
January 25, 2007

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AN ORGANISATION fighting discrimination against men who have sex with men, and a church providing hot meals and remedial training to orphans and vulnerable children, were among 16 community and faith-based groups which yesterday received funding totalling G$82.5M to fight against HIV/AIDS.

The funding comes from the civil society component of the Guyana HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Project (GAPCP) which the government signed with the World Bank in May 2004 for US$11M.

This is the third year such organisations are receiving funding, and according to Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, it now adds up to G$203M.

The projects being funded target a wide cross section of the population, in particular those groups classified as vulnerable and high risk. These include in and out of school youths, mining and indigenous communities, farming communities, sport fraternities, persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS (including orphans and vulnerable children), the military, workplaces and persons in different faith-based settings.

The new projects receiving funding are:

** Art of Living – This organisation would provide yoga and counselling for people living with HIV/AIDS to focus on developing self control and improving their physiological well being.

** Dance Alive – This project is modelled after an analogue of “Love Life”, the South African national HIV/AIDS youth band which has been adopted by the Parliament of the country and is strongly supported by the private sector and civil society in that country.

** Project BX – This comprehensive prevention and care programme would be implemented in the Buxton/Foulis area, East Coast Demerara.

** Guyana Labour Union – Some 29 workplaces would be sensitised on issues of stigma and discrimination and HIV/AIDS, working towards the development of workplace policies.

** Ruimveldt Children’s Home – This organisation would provide care and support to children living with HIV/AIDS.

** The Youth Mentorship Endeavour – This project aims at creating role models to mentor smaller groups of young people towards adopting responsible behaviours.

** Sunshine Women and Youth Organisation – This group plans to work with youths in Regions One and Three to develop vocational skills while providing HIV/AIDS education.

** Information for Life – This would be a regular television programme to provide counselling, support and information on how to access services.

** Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association – This programme will provide HIV/STI education, counselling and medical testing to in and out of school youths in Regions Three, Four, Five and Ten.

** Monique’s Caring Hands – In this project, women would be involved in a peer education programme modelled after a programme designed for African-American women. Orphans and vulnerable children will also be supported in this project.

** U & Me Organisation – This project aims at working with youths in Old England, Coomacka and other areas in Linden to address HIV/AIDS and other social issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancy.

** Lifeline Counselling Services – Through this grant, Lifeline would provide care and support to orphans and vulnerable children in Region Four, such as hot meals, school supplies, tutoring, and computer classes. Lifeline also plans to do skills training and provide nutritional support to people living with HIV/AIDS.

** Roadside Baptist Church – The church plans to give care and support to orphans and vulnerable children in Region Six by providing hot meals, skills training and remedial learning. In addition, it would hold sensitisation sessions with parents and teachers and hold an abstinence rally.

** Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination – SASOD has been given funding to create a website to provide health information and HIV/AIDS education for men who have sex with men. In addition, they plan to develop a closely-monitored heath discussion forum.

** Family Planning Association of Guyana – This organisation will provide education for youths in the lower Pomeroon area and for youth groups in Region Three.

Ramsammy said he was pleased that the funding this year would reach groups in all the 10 administrative regions of Guyana and called on the organisations that have been given funding to be accountable.

He said a national conference with all the NGO’s would be held this year, so instead of competing with each other, they could work together “to reach everyone in Guyana.”