University named among global faith-based HIV response team

By Clifford Akumu
Monday, August 17th, 2020
Shannon Hader, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme.
In summary

Kenya’s St Paul's University has been named among a host of faith-based organisations (FBOs) that will support national HIV response strategies.

The initiative, launched in June this year, aims to leverage global and county leadership by faith-based organisations in HIV response and address HIV-related stigma and discrimination within the faith communities. 

The university leads the Academic Consortium, which also includes Emory’s Interfaith Health Programme and the University of Cape Town, under which it will implement the project launched by United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) and Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). 

Launched in 2016, the two-year initiative aims at strengthening capacity of faith-based leaders and organisations to advocate for and deliver sustainable HIV responses.

“More than ever, it is important that faith communities and leaders are strong voices for people,” says Shannon Hader, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme (pictured).

“This means, in a time of Covid-19, recognising a call to action on the pandemic and HIV should be complementary and synergistic.

We will rely on faith partners to be strong and true voices of support for people living with HIV,” she added.

Other implementing partners include African Christian Health Association Platform, Caritas Internationalis, Inter-Faith Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV (INERELA+), Islamic Relief Worldwide, World Council of Churches-Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and Ecumenical HIV and Aids Initiatives and Advocacy.

Other countries involved are Cameroon, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

These FBOs, will align their activities to Faith Action Plans in support of national HIV response strategies.

Such alignments have been shown to results in a better coordinated and sustained participation.

“Our ability to partner with faith communities is part of a sustainable approach to address both HIV and Covid-19,” says Sandra Thurman, Chief Strategy Officer at Pepfar.

However, global level activities are aimed at increasing collaboration, visibility and coordination of the contribution of faith-based organisations to the HIV response.

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