World Bank HIV/AIDS initiative…
Sixteen sub-projects to receive $82M in third phase
- MoUs for collective funding inked

Kaieteur News
January 25, 2007

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Sixteen local organizations actively involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS yesterday signed memorandums of understanding for collective funding to the tune of $82M to fuel their interventions against the pandemic.

The project is part of the third phase of the World Bank's US$155M Caribbean Multi-Country HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Adaptable Program Lending (APL) approved in June 2001.

The overall objective of this program is to assist Caribbean countries in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and reducing transmission among high risk groups, improving access of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) to care that is effective, affordable and equitable within the context of government health policy and strengthening their institutional capacity to respond to the disease in a sustainable way.

In May 2004, the government of Guyana signed a $US11M Grant Agreement with the International Development Association of the World Bank to provide financing for the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Project. Government contributed $US1M of the amount.

This grant aims at providing funds to supplement financing by government and other donors for high priority cost effective interventions for HIV/AIDS as well as to target and provide non-state organizations with resources for their initiatives.

The project's objective is to slow the spread of HIV infection in Guyana and mitigate the effects of AIDS through prevention and care activities.

Since the commencement of activities in March 2005, the Health Ministry through the Health Sector Development Unit has made three public calls for proposals, all of which have had an overwhelming response from Civil Society organizations.

In the first two calls, 28 sub-projects were funded to the tune of more than $120 M.

The sixteen sub-projects which will receive funding in the third phase are Lifeline Counseling Services, Roadside Baptist Church, Operation Restoration, Monique's Helping Hands, U& Me Organization, Sunshine Women &Youth Organization, Information for Life, The Youth Mentorship Endeavour, Dance Alive, Guyana Labour Union, Project BX, Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination(SASOD), Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association, Ruimveldt Children's Home & Care Centre and the Family Planning Association of Guyana.

Giving an overview of the sub-projects, Civil Society Coordinator Asmita Chand said that 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 youth, mining and indigenous communities, farming areas, sports fraternities, persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS (including orphans and vulnerable children), the military, workplaces and persons in various faith-based settings.

She noted that the nature of the interventions funded to date included provision of nutritional & psychosocial support, home and hospital care to PLWHA and OVC, awareness programmes targeting specific groupings, condom distribution, training of peer educators, testers and counselors, setting up of two VCT sites in Georgetown (including one for the GDF) and one mobile testing service for the hinterland region.

She said support has also been provided for the operation of a soup kitchen in Goshen and hot meal programs for OVC in Georgetown , Linden , and the Corentyne.

The official stated that workshops have also been conducted to address issues such as adherence & nutrition for PLWHA, stigma and discrimination, life skills, vocational skills training, and guidance for parents and caregivers.

“The new sub-projects will further enhance our reach into vulnerable and high risk groups- in particular men who have sex with men (MSM), in and out-of-school youth, employees and workplaces. Projects will also include supporting hospices, nutritional and other care for children living with HIV/AIDS and OVC, nutrition and healthy living interventions for PLWHA.

Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy related that the project, since its establishment, has been achieving the objective of funding organizations which represent a diversity of culture, geography and ethnicity.

While pledging continued support for the groups, he however acknowledged that he has been less than pleased with the performances of all the organizations which received grants.

He re-emphasized to the groups, the importance of accountability. Noting the need for effective assessment of the work being undertaken by these bodies, he divulged that there will be a conference which will bring together the more than 100 non-governmental and faith-based organizations involved in the battle.

“More than sixty of these groups receive funding through the National programme and it's important that we have a forum where experiences could be shared and we could learn from best practices. There is also need to assess the impact of the services being offered.”

A national coordinating body for NGO's is also expected to be established shortly, according to the Minister.

Sub-projects undergo a detailed review and evaluation process before they are eventually funded. Evaluation is done by a broad-based committee comprising technical persons from the Health Ministry and other technical agencies such as PAHO/WHO, GHARP and CHF.

The $82M was disbursed to the groups according to the type of work they will be involved in.

The amounts range from $728,000 to $9.3million.