India HIV/AIDS Alliance recently hosted a study tour of the Pehchan project for the China Association of STD and AIDS Prevention and Control (AIDS Association). This tour came in the wake of a significant decision made by the Chinese Government a few years ago to support the increased involvement of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the response to AIDS in China. To support this goal, the AIDS Association was selected by the Global Fund to handle its contribution of $18 million for Community Based Organisations (CBOs). The journey ahead for the AIDS Association is an exciting one especially given the scale of its responsibilities, which include establishing an independent grant management mechanism managed by civil society.
The visiting team, consisting of delegates from the AIDS Association, China CDC, Ministry of Health, Chengdu Gay Care Organisation (CGCO), State Council AIDS Working Committee Office (SCAWCO) and UNAIDS China, were given a complete overview of the National AIDS Control Programme in India. They met with various stakeholders in NACO, SACS, UNAIDS, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to understand the role of the government, UN agencies and big donors in promoting the participation of the CSOs in the national AIDS response. The delegates also visited a Hijra CBO in Hyderabad, supported by the Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS), which offered them the opportunity to interact with CSO members and hear their experiences about working with the government.
The team learned about Alliance India’s work, particularly the Pehchan programme, and received technical inputs on developing systems and mechanisms in the areas of M&E and finance. They also learned about the various systems which have been developed by Alliance India to provide technical support to CSOs and to build their capacities in the effective management of data and grants.
As the visit came to an end, the Chinese delegates shared a few insights gathered from their trip which resonated strongly with them. Amongst these was Pehchan’s ability to reach the hard-to-reach populations which the government would otherwise find difficult to make contact with. These interventions serve as a bridge to build the capacities of CBOs and to link communities to government supported HIV programmes. The delegates also stated that Pehchan’s ability to align the cost of the Global Fund programme with the Government’s unit costs is essential for the sustainability of the programme once the Global Fund’s support has ended.
You can learn more about the work being done on HIV and MSM by civil society organisations in China by clicking on Alliance China’s report, Community Response to HIV among Men who have sex with Men in China.
With support from the Global Fund, Pehchan builds the capacity of 200 community-based organisations (CBOs) for men who have sex with men (MSM), transgenders and hijras in 17 states in India to be more effective partners in the government’s HIV prevention programme. By supporting the development of strong CBOs, Pehchan will address some of the capacity gaps that have often prevented CBOs from receiving government funding for much-needed HIV programming. Named Pehchan which in Hindi means ‘identity’, ‘recognition’ or ‘acknowledgement,’ this programme is implemented by India HIV/AIDS Alliance in consortium with Humsafar Trust, SAATHII, Sangama, and SIAAP and will reach 453,750 MSM, transgenders and hijras by 2015. It is the Global Fund’s largest single-country grant to date focused on the HIV response for vulnerable sexual minorities.