HIV around the world
The Church of Scotland's HIV Programme is currently supporting 27 projects in 15 countries of the world: below is information from some of these countries.
Amity is an indigenous Chinese Christian NGO which runs a wide range of development programmes; this project in Longchuan Province, close to the border with Myanmar, is helping people living with HIV who are often reformed drug addicts, and who experience a high degree of stigma and discrimination within their own communities.
Amity give training in farming methods, and through a micro-credit scheme, give small loans to help them to get started with growing crops or raising animals. By helping families with micro-funding, it builds up self-confidence and health, and reduces stigma.
The Evangelical Church of Egypt
The Evangelical Church of Egypt - Council of Services and Development: Church Network against AIDS – speaking out and raising awareness.
There is still a lot of denial about HIV in this part of the world, and cultural resistance to talking about the subject. This project is creating a network of Christian and faith-based organisations who are already working amongst vulnerable and high-risk groups. Network members are given training which helps them to raise awareness in their own constituencies, with a view to changing attitudes and fostering safe and healthy practices. It is important to get the backing of church leaders, both nationally and locally, and this the programme seems to be achieving.
The project has also been invited to address the issues at youth conferences, and also works with parents.
Evangelical Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency
EPDRA is a relatively new partner for the HIV Programme. Their current project is raising awareness within the community of issues surrounding HIV and AIDS, encouraging and providing voluntary counselling and testing, challenging stigma and discrimination and supporting in a practical way people who are living with HIV. We are awaiting their first report.
PCG Presbytery Relief Services and Development
Pastors and their wives (or husbands) are much respected in communities, and so have the potential to influence. This project is working with the 700 pastors' spouses in Ghana, educating them in the facts and realities of HIV, and helping to empower them to work to promote behaviour change within their communities, with an emphasis being put on abstinence and faithfulness.
Pastors' spouses have an important role within congregations and communities, and through this training, they will also encourage voluntary counselling and testing, as well as challenging the stigma and discrimination faced by PLWH.
Such has been the success of the project, a further 228 lay people have been trained to help with this work in their own communities and congregations, and there has been a huge uptake in the number of young people willing to come forward to be trained as peer educators.
Church of North India Diocesan Integrated Society for Holistic Action (DISHA) - Project Sahaiyata - Kalimpong
This is one of our longest – running partnerships. DISHA has been running an HIV/AIDS awareness programme since 2000. Their activities include the development of information and education material in the appropriate regional language, the training of teenage peer educators, seminars held with church groups and local community groups, and awareness programmes with truckers along the main national highway in their area.
DISHA runs training for peer educators, including in the local prison. In the past year they have conducted 10 programmes at church level within the Diocese, and reached 654 people. They were also able to have a workshop at a Church Leaders' Training Programme, at which they were able to explore how churches could get more involved in the programme. Awareness-raising sessions have been held with tea plantation workers, and the project offers counselling and psycho-social support to those who are living with HIV.
Henry Martyn Institute (HMI), Hyderabad, India
The Henry Martyn Institute is a major player in promoting interfaith work, and working for peace, justice and reconciliation. They have done a lot of peace-building work and conflict resolution in project areas in the old city of Hyderabad.
Activities in the past year have included 14 monthly awareness sessions for women, and one session for men – they have reached 195 women and 45 men. A World AIDS Day event helped to raise awareness, as did a painting and slogan competition. But the main focus this past year has been on peer-group training; 13 Muslim women and 8 Hindu women have been identified and received a three-day training course. They now visit door to door in their communities, and there are a couple of case studies indicating the impact of this work. They meet together monthly to review their activities. They reckon they have reached over 16,000 people through the work of these peer educators.
Stigma and discrimination are still very high in the community one case study tells of how the peer educators encouraged a man to be tested and within 24 hours of being tested positive he had been driven from his community.
We also fund projects in the following countries:
- Sri Lanka
- South Africa
For further information contact our HIV Team.