Alliance India’s own Sonal Mehta is now a blogger for The Huffington Post’s “Big Push” campaign, an effort to galvanize increased support for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
In her first post, she describes how leaders in India’s MSM and transgender communities conceived, designed and led the implementation of Pehchan, the Global Fund’s largest single-country grant to date focused on the HIV response for vulnerable sexual minorities:
In late 2007, a group of advocates for men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgenders in India were concerned that efforts to strengthen community systems for vulnerable sexual minorities were not getting the attention or funding needed.
The group organized around a basic but compelling principle: “MSM and transgender communities in India must act as equal partners in the national HIV response and work collectively to increase funding and expand programming for these populations.”
Over the next two years, this core group, together with other key leaders working with sexual minorities in India, went on to become the driving force behind the successful Global Fund proposal which has become the Fund’s largest single-country grant to date focused on the HIV response for vulnerable sexual minorities….
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Sonal Mehta is Director of Policy & Programmes at India HIV/AIDS Alliance in New Delhi. She leads a diverse and growing programme portfolio that includes Pehchan.
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.