Share this

CABSA and Advocacy - An Introduction

We often hear about advocacy, and sometimes we who operate in the faith context or from faith based organisation are unsure of our involvement in advocacy issues.

Over the last months, the CABSA staff thought and talked about this quite a bit.

We are increasingly realising the overall theme of everything we do is in fact ‘advocacy’.  An advocacy role can be seen from different perspectives.  Many different definitions exist for advocacy.  To start with, I looked at the following:

Social Welfare Forum: "Advocacy means any action geared towards changing the policies, positions or programmes of any type of institution. Advocacy is about identifying a problem in a community, coming up with a solution to that problem, establishing strong support for that solution and providing an effective implementation plan."

Merriam -Webster Online Dictionary: "Advocating: the act or process of advocating or supporting a cause or proposal

Advocate = support (1): to promote the interests or cause of (2): to uphold or defend as valid or right (3): to argue or vote for."

CABSA sees very specific added dimensions to advocacy in faith based contexts.  We verbalised this as firstly “Standing in the Gap” and secondly “Being a Prophetic Voice.”

Join CABSA as we continue to explore this theme in future.  In this section we will highlight different opinions and approaches to advocacy and specific themes around which advocacy is necessary. 

Share this

Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance

Lyn's Comment: A very prominent advocacy voice in faith communities is the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, based in Geneva, Switzerland.  CABSA has been working with the Alliance in various ways and are official members of the Alliance.

I found the following useful in my understanding of the different forms of advocacy:
From "Final Report Evaluation of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance 2005 – 2008; Tübingen / Kampala, October 2008 by Bernward Causemann, Ashanut Okille",

".....the terminology of advocacy differs widely. For the purposes of this evaluation, we make the following distinction: Advocacy encompasses three different forms: Lobbying, Campaigning and Awareness raising/development education.
• Lobbying entails working with decision makers, trying to influence them not only through pressure but more by offering expertise and showing solutions for issues that are of concern to decision-makers. Lobbying is usually not directed at the public, it is usually longterm and often is highly flexible, taking in high complexity. People who lobby have to build a reputation for competence in a certain sector, and within that need to address varying issues and sometimes shift quickly to aspects within their competence that shows opportunities for influence in the desired direction. Others call similar concepts “constructive policy engagement” or “insider-track advocacy”.
• Campaigns happen in public and involve mobilising in various ways, and trying to convince or pressure decision makers to take certain decisions. Campaigns usually have very focused, easy to convey messages, clear targets and are time-bound. Experience shows that successful campaigns, after attaining their targets and the high attention is over, are often transformed into institutions or remain existent as networks and usually use the status and expertise acquired to concentrate on lobbying.
• Awareness raising/development education is directed more at the public than at decision- makers. It generally tries to make people aware of issues of injustice or issues that need attention. It is not targeted to achieve concrete change but builds a foundation on which targeted advocacy (both campaigning and lobbying) can build.
If the churches want to influence decision makers, they will need to apply all the forms of advocacy i.e. lobbying, campaigning and awareness raising. Depending on the issue, the concrete decision at stake and the timeframe (among other factors), sometimes lobbying will have more potential. In other cases, especially where there is much resistance to change, campaigns will be more effective. Effective lobbying will usually require the option of the people lobbying to draw upon the support of their constituencies which can be through campaigns, or through visible support from leaders of the constituencies."
Share this

More Information on Advocacy from the Social Welfare Forum

"The aim of the Policy Engagement programme of the National Welfare Forum is to ensure public participation in the formulation of social service, welfare and development policies. The ultimate goal is to not represent civil society but to facilitate the process for members to coordinate and represent themselves."

Lyn's Comment: The material below is taken from various parts of the Participant Handout for the Policy Engagement programme, which can be downloaded from the Forum website The Participant Handout 2009 can also be downloaded

What Is Advocacy?

Advocacy means any action geared towards changing the policies, positions or programmes of any type of institution. Advocacy is about identifying a problem in a community, coming up with a solution to that problem, establishing strong support for that solution and providing an effective implementation plan.

Lobbying influential people for support is part of the advocacy process.

When the beneficiary is an individual the advocacy effort could be considered as Private Advocacy. When the advocacy aims to benefit the public at large, or a large group of individuals, it could be regarded as Public Advocacy. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish public advocacy from private advocacy.
Sometimes public advocacy efforts stem from private advocacy initiatives. Most advocacy conducted by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) is public advocacy.
Examples of Private Advocacy:
When an individual campaigns for street lighting in their neighbourhood to prevent crime; When an individual campaigns for a bus stop in the neighbourhood.
Examples of Public Advocacy:
When organisations come together to launch a specific effort to combat crime in business, ego Business Against Crime; When several organisations come together to improve road safety or public transport. 

What is Social Justice Advocacy?
Social justice advocacy is public advocacy that draws attention to an injustice and promotes the public good. It focuses attention on improving the well-being of the poor and marginalised members of the community, for example, women, children, workers, the disabled, etc. 

What is Lobbying?
Lobbying comes from the verb "to lobby", which means an attempt by citizens to influence public officials at a high level. Lobbying is one of the most common methods used by citizens to influence public policy. It is used to put pressure on politicians and government officials to take up the interests of the people and to support their cause. In most democracies lobbying is recognised as a legitimate way for citizens to have their voices heard. However, critics of lobbying say that wealthy people and business are better able to spend time on and pay for various lobbying activities. 

Advocacy Goals
It is useful to remember that there are long term and short term goals in advocacy work. The long term goal relates to the change the campaign wants to make in people’s lives. It is known as the Impact goal. This goal reflects the problem the campaign wants to address.
Usually this change is only policy if a law changes or a new law/policy is developed. This change in the legislation or system is the short term goal on the journey toward solving the problem. It is known as the Effect goal and it usually describes the decision that the decision maker is called on to take.  These goals are met through an interactive process known as the cycle of advocacy. The stages in the advocacy cycle do not necessarily follow a specific order and often the campaign shifts from implementation mode back to redefining the problem as the campaign progresses and more information about the problem or stakeholders emerges.

The Advocacy Cycle 

‘Just as humans seek a dignity that says not by bread alone, so we as (social) advocates must work to effect change not by elections alone, not by mass mobilisation alone, not by lobbying alone, not by information alone, not by coalition alone, not by media alone and not by anything else alone.’   (Michael Pertschuk, Advocacy Institute, USA)

The advocacy process may involve any combination of the above approaches.
The effectiveness and success of any advocacy process depends, amongst other factors, on how well the following processes are implemented:

Analysis includes collective brainstorming of the problem which can be carried out in the form of a detailed problem tree analysis. The output of this exercise will form the basis for the advocacy approach to be developed later. During this stage research about the problem environment is critical to develop a comprehensive picture of the dimensions of the problem. This could merely entail the reference and synthesis of research already undertaken by other institutions, or the commissioning of tailor-made research.
Strategy Development entails making a realistic selection from the dream list of policy options already identified during policy analysis, and then prioritising based on what is realistic and expedient in terms of maximum outcome for minimum inputs. During this stage, the organization will also identify key stakeholders and possible strategic partners to engage.
Implementation refers to the operationalisation of the advocacy strategy to ensure that responsible individuals or teams are clearly mandated with specific tasks. Even though advocacy should be an organization-wide undertaking, the location of coordination and leadership around specific tasks is necessary to ensure that activities are carried out as planned and on time. Ideally, the advocacy plan should be integrated into the broader organizational and team work plans.
Evaluation and Review refers to the monitoring of advocacy and lobbying outcomes in relation to stated goals: How far have we come in relation to where we want to be and what further actions are needed to realize our goals? Was the strategy realistic, or does it require some strategic adjustment on our part? 

Advocacy Roles:
It is necessary to clarify the role that your organisation will play to achieve your policy goal. There are mainly four roles to consider:
1. Expert informant – Can you use your relationships with policy makers for providing technical advice on policy issues?
2. Capacity Builder – Can you support other organisations in their efforts to carry out advocacy?
3. Lobbyist – Do you want to take a visible approach and address your target audience personally?
4. Mediator – Can you broker competing interests of various groups and through mediation achieve policy change?"


Share this

Advocacy Resources - General


Share this

Are Grassroots Faith Organizations Better at Advocacy/Making Change Happen? 28/9/2017

Published by OXFAM

As part of thinking about how power operates in fragile/conflict states (for the LSE’s new Centre for Public Authorityin International Development, CPAID), I’m doing a bit more reading around the role of different kinds of ‘non state actors’. One of the most influential in many fragile/conflict settings are faith organizations, so I finally got round to reading ‘Bridging the Gap: The role of local churches in fostering local‑level social accountability and governance’ from Tearfund, which describes itself as a ‘Christian charity passionate about ending poverty’.

The report looks at Tearfund’s support for grassroots advocacy by its partner in Uganda, the Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG).This is part of a wider church and community mobilisation (CCM) process.

‘CCM approaches differ according to the context. However, they all involve the local church congregations participating in Bible studies and other interactive activities together, which catalyse them to work across denominations and with their local communities to identify and address the communities’ needs with their own resources.

As the first step, the church leaders at the denominational level are trained as CCM facilitators. The local church then goes through the ‘church awakening’ phase, which aims to change people’s attitudes to see themselves as all equal before God, to identify the resources they have and to build a vision for working together towards developing the community. The local church then liaises with community leaders and invites the wider community to come together to identify their needs, resources and skills. They then elect a Community Development Committee (CDC) which, with the help of the facilitator, maps community assets and key stakeholders, preparing a vision and action plan. The solutions vary across contexts – sometimes savings groups are formed – and in response to a variety of issues depending on the community’s most pressing needs, including food security, health, water and sanitation, or livelihoods.’

With a few tweaks of language, this could have been written by any secular NGO working on similar issues, but I was looking for the special sauce – what’s different about working through the Churches, compared to non-religious partners? Here’s what Tearfund says:

Local churches are trusted

CCM advocacy has proven that local churches are regarded with a high level of trust. They are trusted by their congregations, by the communities in which they are located and by local government.

The trust that the congregation and the majority of the community place in the church was a key driver in motivating participation in the CCM process, the advocacy training and also governance more generally. In Uganda, more than 80 per cent of people are Christian and it became apparent in the research that the church is a trusted authority figure, both by church members and by the wider community. This has led to an increase in citizen engagement in those communities who have completed the CCM and CCM advocacy training. This trust in the church enabled the CCM advocacy process to be established successfully in the community, with good engagement, and for the trainings to be taken on board quickly and effectively.

Participants’ responses revealed the main reason why the church is trusted. Firstly, as many in the community have embedded Christian values, trust derives from shared values. Many people consider the Bible an authority and therefore, where the CCM advocacy included references to the Bible, there was more engagement and take-up.

‘It would have not worked well with a secular NGO: the Bible has teachings, it encourages people to share, people fear God, they know it is God’s language and know they should listen!’ Woman from Arapai, where there was CCM and some advocacy

Secondly, as the church is established in the community and has a good reputation historically, people are willing to

Including changing local government, apparently. From the PAG website

Including changing local government, apparently. From the PAG website

be involved in its initiatives. Thirdly, linked to this is the way in which local church leaders and the church have existing relationships and links within the community. The process therefore did not require starting a new network or building new relationships. Finally, people felt safe to attend as it is a familiar environment for many. This meant that the church could become a ‘school for learning’ (to coin a phrase used in one community). Trust in the church allowed for this knowledge to be accepted and communities to use what they had learnt, as the knowledge had come from a trusted source.

Another key to the success of the engagement was the volunteerism encouraged by the church. Many groups explained that, whereas with NGO programmes the participants would expect handouts, the church is not expected to provide in the same way and people expect to volunteer their time at church. When discussing the motivation behind participating in CCM advocacy, more than 50 per cent of people referred to ‘my church’.

The training included biblical verses about advocacy: this encouraged community members to participate and understand that they have a right as citizens and a mandate to fight for justice, particularly on behalf of the marginalised such as widows and orphans. One hundred per cent of respondents who had had some of the advocacy training indicated that they had been encouraged by the church to attend government meetings, which they would never normally have been keen to do.

Government trusts the church

Ugandan local govtA key to ensuring increased good governance and accountability is the way in which the government sees the church and therefore the participating communities as trustworthy and honest. The government perceives the church as an important influencer in encouraging the community to obey the government and keep the peace. It is therefore willing to share information through the church, both about government programmes (eg immunisation schemes) and via sensitisation meetings (where government workers share learning on a particular topic, such as HIV prevention). The church is ‘faithful’ and embedded in the community, with a ready audience and an understanding of local issues.

‘We trust the church. We have so many organisations and individuals who come but, at the end, they disappear. But the church is there permanently. Even when there are changes in leadership, the church remains.’ Onya George, Regional District Councillor of Akonopeesa, Serere district’

Powerful and convincing stuff. The report acknowledges that things are not so easy when the community is less uni-faith, and that stirring it up with advocacy training might weaken its ‘trustworthiness’ in the eyes of government.

One thing I did wonder about was the use of ‘the Church’ in the singular. My experience of evangelical churches in Latin America is that they sometimes resemble ferrets in a sack, fighting for adherents, rather than cooperating – does that not complicate the effort to build an advocacy movement?

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m a lifelong atheist.

Share this

Inter Agency Statement – Ending Discrimination in Health Settings. 8/7/2017

Published by UNAIDS

Discrimination in health care settings is widespread across the world and takes many forms. It violates the most fundamental human rights protected in international treaties and in national laws and constitutions. People we work for and with experience it very often.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had issues a Joint United Nations statement, signed by 12 UN agencies, on ending discrimination in health care settings. Recognizing that discrimination in health care settings is a major barrier to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations entities commit to working together to support Member States in taking coordinated multisectoral action to eliminate discrimination in health care settings.

You can access this resource here

Share this

'Advocating for Change for Adolescents' Toolkit. 16/6/2017


Launched at the Global Adolescent Health Conference in Ottawa, Canada, this toolkit was developed by young people, for young people, through a collaboration between Women Deliver and The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health. This toolkit provides guidance to youth networks on the design, implementation, and monitoring of an effective national advocacy campaign for adolescents. It encourages meaningful engagement of young people and provides as step-by-step roadmap to advocate for adolescent's health, rights, and wellbeing.

You can access this resource here


Share this

UNAIDS and The Global Fund Launch Guidance on HIV Human Rights Programmes. 27/5/2017

Published by UNAIDS

To support countries to integrate human rights principles in their HIV prevention, testing and treatment programmes, UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) jointly launched two mutually supportive technical documents on 29 May.

The UNAIDS guidance document Fast-Track and human rights offers practical advice on why and how efforts to Fast-Track HIV services should be grounded in human rights principles and approaches. It includes three checklists to support and guide the design, monitoring and evaluation of HIV services in order to realize human rights and equity in the AIDS response.

The Global Fund technical brief HIV, human rights and gender equality supports grant applicants to include programmes to remove human rights and gender-related barriers to HIV services. It also gives advice on implementing human rights-based and gender-responsive approaches to HIV.

Together, the documents will inform the development of Global Fund concept notes, national Fast-Track plans and other work to accelerate the response to HIV. They will provide practical guidance to national policy-makers, HIV programme implementers, communities, civil society organizations, the United Nations and donors as they design, oversee, fund, monitor and implement efforts to Fast-Track HIV programmes. 


“We must go beyond talking about HIV-related discrimination and human rights violations. Now is the time to act and support governments, civil society and affected communities to respond to these challenges through programmes to advance human rights, dignity and equity.”

Michel Sidibé UNAIDS Executive Director

“Under its new strategy, the Global Fund is committed to reducing human rights-related barriers to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria services. We need to do this because it is the right thing to do, but also because it will increase the impact of our investments. We are taking a practical, pragmatic and programmatic approach, and this means ensuring countries vastly increase investment in the seven key programmes to reduce stigma and discrimination and increase access to justice that our new technical brief and the UNAIDS guidance document describe.”

Marijke Wijnroks Chief of Staff, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Share this

A Collection of Resources for Teaching Social Justice. 14/2/2016


Ask teachers to describe the impact they hope to have on their students, and most will eventually say something along these lines: I want my students to grow into responsible citizens. I want my students to participate in society in an active, productive way.

And maybe: I want my students to change the world.

But how many of us know how to make that happen, really? Can we explicitly teach students how to change the world? If this question has been whispering in the back of your mind, the resources in this collection will help.

What is social justice, and how does it fit into the curriculum?

The National Association of Social Workers defines social justice as “the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.” To study social justice is to learn about the problems that dramatically impact quality of life for certain populations, and how people have worked to solve those problems.

If you teach social studies, you’ll have no trouble finding direct curricular links to social justice. The National Curriculum Standards for the Social Studies includes Civic Ideals and Practices as one of its 10 Themes of Social Studies, and this includes an emphasis on learning how to get involved in influencing public policy. In history and social studies class, social justice teaching is a natural fit.

In other content areas, teachers disagree over whether social justice has a place. We put ourselves in a vulnerable position by exploring issues that are seen as more controversial than others (a topic I will get into in the next section), and some teachers prefer to completely steer clear of those kinds of complications. For others, social justice was a driving force in why they became teachers, and they weave it into whatever content they are teaching. If you choose to address some or all of these issues in your classroom, the next section offers some tips for doing it effectively.

Some Advice for Teaching Social Justice

As an undergraduate, I served as a student counselor for three years and a resident assistant (RA) for one. I regularly delivered workshops on social justice topics, and I learned a few important lessons along the way. Here are some things to keep in mind when studying social justice issues with your students:

  • Make getting to know students a key component of any social justice teaching. If you and your students don’t spend time examining your own backgrounds, biases, and beliefs, you will be missing an essential component of any social justice curriculum. We all view every social justice issue through the lens of our own experience, and these different lenses can block our growth and learning if we aren’t aware of them. If we fine-tune our self-awareness, our individual lenses can richly inform classroom conversations and help us understand issues on a much deeper level, directly from each other.
  • Know that not all students feel the same way about these issues. Most, if not all, of these resources have been created from a pretty liberal, progressive viewpoint. For example, one of the lessons in the Teaching Tolerance series described below is on Confronting Unjust Laws. The lesson uses California’s Proposition 8 as an example of an unjust law. But not all of your students (or their families) will see a law like Prop 8 as unjust. In fact, some may strongly oppose same-sex marriage. That doesn’t mean you can’t successfully talk about controversial issues; in fact, teaching students how to respectfully discuss an issue with people who don’t share their opinions is a lesson that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
  • Familiarize yourself with the material before teaching. Sometimes we just skim materials before we teach. With social justice topics, this would be a mistake. Not knowing exactly what’s in all of your teaching materials, including the texts or videos you and your students will be looking at, can leave you vulnerable to problems when unexpected content pops up.
  • Keep your administrator in the loop. As with any potentially controversial lesson, it is essential that you talk to your administrator about it ahead of time. Show the curricular connections between your planned lessons and the standards you’re teaching. Talk about potential problems or objections that may come up and how you both plan to address them. That way, if your administrator gets a phone call from a concerned parent, she or he won’t be blindsided.

Featured Resources

When I set out to find good resources for social justice teaching, I was looking for classroom-ready materials, lesson plans with supplementary texts or videos that would prompt students to learn about, think about, and talk about social justice issues. I also hoped to find some that would actually teach students about activism, about how a citizen zeroes in on a problem, formulates a solution, then does the grassroots work necessary to see that solution come to life.

Some of these resources fit the bill perfectly, especially the first one on the list. Others do not include lesson plans at all, but serve such an important and innovative role in social justice education, I thought they were essential to include here.

Anti-Defamation League: Current Events Classroom

The ADL’s Current Events Classroom is a collection of lesson plans that use current events as a springboard. For example, What is the School-to-Prison Pipeline?, a lesson for high school students, has students watch the video of the South Carolina police officer who flipped a student out of her chair. The rest of the lesson has students study and discuss the impact of zero-tolerance policies in schools, statistics on the connection between school suspensions and the juvenile justice system, and their own school discipline policy. The end of the lesson offers students a choice of next steps for taking action on this issue.

Most of the lessons in the collection are written for middle and high school students on a wide range of topics including anti-Muslim bigotry, the refugee crisis, homelessness, cyberbullying, and gender stereotypes. The longer I look at this collection, the more impressed I am with it. Definitely worth a look.

Update: Since publishing this post, a few readers have pointed out that some of ADL’s other website content (separate from this curriculum) takes a strong stance on issues relating to Israel and may offend some users. I still feel that this curriculum contains incredibly valuable lessons on very recent events that you won’t find anywhere else, but this reinforces my second and third points above: Know your audience, and read through the materials carefully. For more details on this issue, please read the comments below.

Teaching Tolerance: Classroom Resources

This award-winning organization comes up most often any time social justice teaching is discussed. There’s lots to explore on their site, including the Classroom Resources section, which is loaded with lesson plans and other resources teachers can use for free in their classrooms. One of these lessons is Confronting Unjust Practices, where students learn about the anti-segregation actions taken by the Freedom Riders and the attack on one of these buses in Anniston, Alabama (pictured above).

Other lessons from this library include What is Ageism?, Unequal Unemployment, and What Makes a Family? Lessons are available for elementary, middle, and high school students.

No lesson plans here: is an outstanding organization whose goal is to support the work of young people who want to make a difference in their world. Students browse through a big list of campaigns, public education and activism projects students can launch right in their own communities, and choose one or more that they’d like to participate in. Once they have finished a campaign, students submit a photo or video to prove they completed the required steps. This entry makes them eligible to win prizes, including scholarships. Currently, only U.S. students are eligible for these scholarships, but is expanding into other countries as well.

Although this site will not help you do any direct instruction about social justice, it provides incredible opportunities for students to actively participate in social justice projects. Most campaigns are just right for high school students, and some would be appropriate for middle schoolers as well. Some topics may be considered risque, so review the content before introducing it to students.

On a related note, is the organization where Katia Gomez, the college student who started her own school in Honduras (featured in the first Cult of Pedagogy documentary last year), got her start. One more bit of trivia that totally doesn’t matter but might if you are a Melrose Place fan: was co-founded by 90’s heartthrob Andrew Shue. Squeee!!

The Global Oneness Project

The Global Oneness Project offers a beautiful collection of multicultural films, photo essays, and articles that “explore cultural, social, and environmental issues with a humanistic lens.” Many of the featured stories are paired with a lesson plan for high school or college classrooms, aligned with Common Core and national standards.

One such pairing starts with the film Amar, which follows a young Indian boy living in a high-poverty neighborhood through a typical day that includes rising before dawn to do one of his two jobs and attending school. The accompanying lesson plan is called A Day in the Life, which has students examine the film and other resources related to the economic situation in India.

The films are truly stunning. This collection doesn’t include explicit teachings in any kind of civics or grassroots activism, but it will provide students with a deep understanding of lives completely unlike their own. And that kind of empathy is one of the most important building blocks for any kind of social justice action.

Pushing the Edge: Social Justice Resources Collection

Educator Greg Curran’s podcast covers a range of educational topics, but quite a few episodes circle around issues of social justice. Recently, he curated these resources into a Social Justice Resources Collection. These episodes will be mainly useful for teachers to educate themselves about social justice education: what complications and questions come up, helpful do’s and don’ts, and why it’s worth it. He interviews practicing teachers and administrators who are walking the walk with social justice teaching. Listening to them will give you a template from which to build your own practice.


Here’s an example of one episode, where Curran interviews Nakisha Hobbs, principal of the Village Leadership Academy, a k-8 social justice school in Chicago.

Share this

Invest in Advocacy (2016)

Published at

Advocacy by people living with and affected by HIV has been critical to the progress made the response to HIV since the beginning of the epidemic. Advocacy has sparked action in the face of denialism and indifference, mobilized unprecedented financial resources and enabled communities to participate in designing health services that meet their needs. When traditional policy- making processes stall due to bureaucracy, advocacy shines a light on the problem and leverages community power and political will to drive action and innovation. This is why AIDS advocates around the world remain a major force for an accelerated, more equitable scale-up of effective HIV and health programming.

Download PDF

Share this

Social Justice Is a Christian Tradition — Not a Liberal Agenda. 8/11/2015

Published by SOJOUNERS

Many Christians are wary of participating in social justice because of a deep-rooted fear of being labeled “liberal,” “progressive,” or “secular.” They don’t want to be associated with “secular” movements, and are uncomfortable delving into issues that go beyond their cultural comfort zones.

But the Bible tells us that Jesus cared deeply about the social causes around him.

Instead of saying all lives matter, Jesus said, “Samaritan lives matter.”
Instead of saying all lives matter, Jesus said, “Children’s lives matter.”
Instead of saying all lives matter, Jesus said, “Gentile lives matter.”
Instead of saying all lives matter, Jesus said, “Jewish lives matter.”
Instead of saying all lives matter, Jesus said, “Women’s lives matter.”
Instead of saying all lives matter, Jesus said, “Lepers’ lives matter.”

So saying “Black Lives Matter” and participating in a movement seeking justice, positive reform, and empowerment is one of the most Christ-like things we can do.

Christians must recognize that our society is filled with numerous groups and communities facing systemic oppression, and we must act. We must be willing to admit and address the complex realities within our world that create such problems, and avoid the spiritual laziness that tempts us to rely on generic excuses and solutions.

Christians do a disservice to the gospel message by removing the cultural context from Jesus’s ministry and watering down his message to one of religious platitudes. We like to generalize the words of Jesus and transform his life into a one-size-fits-all model that can apply to all of humanity.

Throughout the New Testament Jesus was more complex than we give him credit for.

He intentionally, purposefully, and passionately addressed very specific causes. He radically addressed the diverse and complicated conflicts of the time and shattered the status quo.

Jesus wasn’t just preaching a universal salvation message for the world, but he was also addressing specific political, social, and racial issues. He was helping those who were being abused, violated, and oppressed.

Involving ourselves within these issues — serving those who need justice — is an example of following Jesus that today’s Christians must adhere to, because throughout the world there are millions of people who are suffering. But many Christians remain simply apathetic, ignorant, or refuse to admit any problems exist.

They’re uncomfortable facing the complex and controversial issues surrounding race, ethnicity, history, and culture.

To avoid such discomfort, many Christians assume that equality and justice looks like a total dismissal — and rejection of — any cultural, ethnic, or distinguishing form of identity. They believe our very humanity should supersede all other labels or descriptions, and that a love of Christ wipes away any “superficial” characteristic such as skin color, heritage, or other cultural identifier.

Ironically, verses like this show that these things — race, ethnicity, culture — DO matter to God, because God is recognizing the very public fact that there are various laws, expectations, practices, and opinions regarding each distinction mentioned.

Paul is validating all of the cultural issues associated with Jews, Gentiles, slaves, the free, men, and women rather than disregarding them. He’s stating that Jesus is relevant to these differences, and is working throughout their lives by understanding and recognizing the unique pros and cons they’re dealing with — the privileges, disadvantages, stereotypes, assumptions, treatment, rights, social value, and expectations they face on a daily basis.

Participating in social justice is a Christian tradition inspired by Jesus, not liberal causes, populist agendas, media platforms, lawmakers, or mainstream fads. It’s a deeply spiritual practice.

Instead of being motivated by political affiliations, financial gain, power, pride, control, or our own secular motivations, we should be active participants for the sake of following Jesus — for the purpose of glorifying God by through acts of justice, empowerment, and love.

Because everyone is created in the image of God and loved by God, we are responsible for identifying with the victimized — not rejecting their existence.

That’s why the New Testament goes into great depth detailing the newfound worth given to the Gentiles, slaves, and women. These countercultural instructions to believers were radically progressive, to the point where the gospel writers had to put them in writing to make sure they were implemented within the newly formed church.

While God does love everyone and all believers are united in Christ, this doesn’t negate the fact that we have a unique cultural identity and upbringing and are called to recognize the marginalized, help the oppressed, and avoid rejecting their significance by denying their identity or ignoring their plight.

By acknowledging and actively participating in the #blacklivesmatter movement, addressing racism, immigration, gender equality, and a litany of other issues, you are following in the steps of Jesus.

It’s not a matter of pitting social causes against the gospel message of Christ; it’s a matter of realizing that these causes ARE actually an important part of that gospel message.

Share this

CTs for Feminist Movement Building Activist Toolkit.


Just Associates, Association for Progressive Communications, Women'sNet

Activists around the world use information and communications technologies (ICTs) to speak out and stand up against injustice, to take action against violence and inequality, and build movements for transformative change. But the big questions for many activists remain: How do we tell our own stories and make ourselves heard? How do we tell stories that empower and inspire, and challenge mainstream stories that tend to silence, erase women’s lives, experiences and voices? How do we communicate with each other and with people beyond our movements? What is the best way to develop messages that reach out to people and make our movements bigger? What tools make the most sense for our context and capacity?  How can we communicate safely and securely in a world that has become increasingly risky for activists and women’s rights activists online and offline?

We hope ICTs for Feminist Movement Building: Activist Toolkit will help YOU:

  • Experiment and be creative about communicating
  • Think about how communications can help to build movements for social justice
  • Fight gender stereotypes and Amplify women’s voices so they can tell their own stories
  • Design strategies that make sense for their organisations and movements
  • Be safe, be smart and be secure!

DOWNLOAD the toolkit IN FULL or INDIVIDUAL CHAPTERS at the bottom of the page.

About the Toolkit

In this toolkit, we draw on the experience and contexts of women activists in southern Africa and beyond. And while we focus on women’s rights activists, anyone who is part of a movement for social change will find it useful.

The toolkit aims to assist activists to think through their communication strategies in a way that supports movement building. It offers an exciting and practical guide to writing a communication strategy and reviews a number of tools (ICTs) and technology-related campaigns which can be used in organising work. At the core, this toolkit is also about feminist practice and how to use tools to communicate in ways that are democratic, amplify women's voices whilst challenging stereotypes and discriminatory social norms. We hope it will assist activists in making creative, safe and sustainable choices in using ICTs in our communication strategies.

Just Associates (JASS), in partnership with Women’sNet and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), is proud to present the ICTs for Feminist Movement Building: Activist Toolkit.  ICTs for Feminist Movement Building is designed to support more effective, resilient, visible and safe movements by helping activists to understand ICTs, influence how they are developed, empower ourselves to use them and harness them to make a difference.

This toolkit highlights the extraordinary potential of ICTs to help us bring about social justice, equality between women and men, as well as for all oppressed groups. While much of our activism and organising happens in-person and “offline”, linking tools of the online world creates powerful ways to make our campaigns visible in new and wider spaces.

Special thanks to Warda of WE Designs and Donovan Ward for their creative design and artwork on the ICT Toolkit.

Click below to download.


Resource Type: 

Resource Category: 

Publication Language: 

Publication Date:

Aug 2015

Share this

Community Advocates Training Manual.

Subtitle: The HIV/AIDS Prevention Project for Vulnerable Youth in  Northern Nigeria

Published by the Population Council 2007

Abstract: The Community Advocates Training Manual is a joint effort between Population Council/Abujaand its partners  Adolescent Health Information Projects (AHIP), Federationo Muslim Women Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) and Islamic Education Trust( IET). The curriculum aims to improve knowledge and strengthen the skills of community representatives from the northern region of Nigeria to openly discussen sitive issues relating to HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and marriage.

-Table of Contents
-Module one:  The Training Environment
-Module two:  Introduction to Advocacy
-Module three: HIV/AIDS & SRH Issues
-Module four:  Advocacy Skills
-Module five: Planning and M & E

Download this training manual here (PDF, 827.45 KB, 75 pg)

Share this

Investing in Community Advocacy for HIV Prevention: Showing Results 12/06/2013

Publication Date: December 1, 2010

From the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO), this report summarises the existing and emerging results, lessons, and recommendations of the 5-year Prevention Treatment Advocacy Project (PTAP) in 10 countries. It seeks to demonstrate the value added and impact of investing in community sector advocacy on HIV.

Implemented from 2005-2009 in 10 countries, PTAP aimed to contribute to a policy and programming shift by building the knowledge and capacity of communities (in effective advocacy, networking, and communication) and, in turn, mobilising a broad-based community movement for HIV prevention. It paid particular attention to areas of strategic importance to achieve scale up, including access to HIV counselling and testing, programmes that help people living with HIV, new prevention technologies, and the needs of key populations. PTAP was led by ICASO's International and Regional Secretariats and implemented by national focal point organisations, and was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Canadian International Development Agency of the Government of Canada (CIDA), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the Ford Foundation, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), and Positive Action.

The report includes the following 10 case studies:

  1. Promoting community sector involvement in National Strategic Plan (NSPs)/National Strategy Application (NSAs), Rwanda
  2. Involving key populations in NSPs and communities in national budgets, Kenya
  3. Reviewing/introducing legislation to address stigma and discrimination, Ukraine
  4. Empowering people living with HIV to advocate on stigma and discrimination, Jamaica
  5. Using culturally sensitive strategies to mitigate stigma and discrimination, Botswana
  6. Establishing positive prevention as a key strategy, China
  7. Scaling up access to voluntary counseling and testing and female condoms, Belize
  8. Advocating on harm reduction and substitution therapy, Russia
  9. Advocacy by and for people living with HIV to scale up Drop-In Centres, India
  10. Establishing a civil society think tank to create a movement on prevention, Nigeria

The results of these experiences are detailed; in brief:

  • "The largest cumulative result of PTAP was the increased contribution by the community sector to shaping national policies and programs to support the scaling up of HIV prevention alongside expanded access to treatment. This involved advocacy within key national processes: from target setting for universal access to the development of National Strategic Plans (NSPs), with particular attention to mobilizing action on HIV prevention, promoting the role of the community sector and using evidence to prioritize people living with HIV and key populations. It also involved engaging in and influencing countries’ budgeting processes and allocation of resources, including the development of proposals to the Global Fund."
  • "Advocacy to change the legal environment for HIV prevention - particularly relating to stigma and discrimination, criminalization (of behaviours and HIV transmission) and the rights of people living with HIV and key populations - was a strong focus of PTAP. In many cases, national-level efforts to change unjust and oppressive laws and policies were complemented by programs to empower affected communities to learn about their rights, document violations and take the lead on advocacy."
  • "PTAP partners advocated for the introduction, improvement and/or expansion of good practice interventions that are critical to the scale and quality of HIV prevention. These included positive prevention, HIV counseling and testing, new prevention technologies, prevention of vertical transmission and joint HIV/TB [tuberculosis] interventions, alongside population-specific approaches (such as harm reduction for people who inject drugs). To complement this, PTAP also advocated for the expansion of access to HIV treatment..."
  • "The empowerment and involvement of people living with HIV and key populations was central to PTAP. In all 10 countries, important results were achieved in mobilizing and building the capacity of such groups and ensuring their meaningful involvement in advocacy on HIV prevention. In turn, this was part of the Project's broader strategy to build a diverse, skilled and powerful community movement to support the scale up of HIV prevention alongside expanded access to treatment."

PTAP partners highlighted a number of challenges to community advocacy on HIV prevention. Examples included those related to the national context (such as governments not meeting international commitments); national response to HIV (such as priorities not being matched with resources); legal and social environment (such as oppressive legal environments); community sector (such as limited capacity for national policy work); and funding environment.

Lessons learned from PTAP include:

  • Community advocacy can bring significant impacts on national policies (such as the prioritisation of key populations in NSPs) that, in turn, bring concrete programmatic benefits and resources.
  • Resource mobilisation is challenging for community advocacy.
  • Community advocacy needs to be evidence- and capacity-based (responding to gaps in the national response and the "added value" of communities), while building on international commitments.
  • Community advocacy needs to combine capacity building with structural opportunities for constituencies to develop a shared agenda.
  • Advocacy targets need to be specific to contexts and involve a range of stakeholders and target institutions, rather than individuals.
  • People living with HIV and key populations must be at the heart of compelling advocacy messages.
  • HIV prevention programmes alone are not enough; they need supportive environments that enable people to fulfill their rights and provide protection from infection.

Recommendations are offered for action on the part of the community sector and national governments and other key stakeholders. It is suggested that the community sector, including people living with HIV and key populations, should: continue to be advocates for the scaling up of HIV prevention alongside treatment; work to develop the package of knowledge and, particularly, skills needed to engage effectively in national advocacy and policy-making on HIV; and work to build the infrastructure necessary to gather information, channel input, and give feedback on advocacy work in order to engage and represent a wide range of constituents. It is suggested that other key stakeholders: be open to evidence-based advocacy by the community sector; welcome the role of community advocacy in highlighting regional and international agreements and best practices on HIV prevention; treat the community sector as genuinely equal partners within the national response to HIV; provide free and transparent access to their information, for example on budget allocations; and secure supportive environments for effective responses to HIV and increasing the impact of the services that they fund.

Share this

Live Justly is an in-depth scriptural and practical study to help people live justly

Live Justly is a website with is an in-depth scriptural and practical studies to help people live justly in 6 key areas of life:
advocacy, prayer, consumption, generosity, creation care and relationships.

Live Justly is part of the Michah Challenge, below they explain why we should live justly:

"Justice is often invoked by passionate teachers, pastors, and leaders inviting us into NEW action. For example, a justice-themed sermon from a leader or pastor to encourage the church to volunteer, go on a missions trip, or give to a cause. Justice is often focused upon doing something new, but what about the actions you and I take every day?

Here’s the thing: justice isn’t always about doing something new; it’s about infusing what we already do with Kingdom values. We wake up every day and make about fifty decisions–we decide what clothes to wear, what food to eat, how to commute to work or school, how to treat our friends, family, and strangers, what to pray for, where to invest our money, and so on. Justice isn’t simply an action once a year; it is a lifestyle. Our prayer is that our everyday actions will be infused with justice–not our definition of justice but God’s revelation of justice in Scripture.

The scriptures and the movement of the Holy Spirit have deeply touched our own lives here at Micah Challenge, and the call to seek justice has permeated our everyday life choices–pushing us not just to seek justice but to live justly. Perhaps you too feel that call to seek justice.You are not alone in this experience–countless churches, campus groups, small groups, families, and individuals have heard the call and asked us “what’s next?”"

You can enter the Live Justly website here

Share this

Participatory Advocacy: A Toolkit for VSO Staff, Volunteers and Partners. 11/09

Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) have recently launched: ‘Participatory Advocacy: A Toolkit For VSO Staff, Volunteers And Partners’ . It provides a rich variety of approaches to advocacy. Although the toolkit has been written primarily for the use of VSO staff, volunteers and partner organizations, you can adapt and use all the materials for your own organization and cultural, social or political situation. Use this toolkit to plan and implement effective strategies that lead to enduring social change.

To download this resource, click here (PDF, 3.55 MB, 51pg)

Share this

Practical Action in Advocacy Part C

Part C of Understanding Advocacy.

Published by Tearfund 2002
ISBN 1 904364 00 4

Part C of Understanding Advocacy.  The advocacy cycle is suitable for all types of advocacy work and following it will improve your chances of success. The five sections in Part C explain the five steps in the advocacy cycle, from identifying the issue at the start, to evaluation at the end. These five stages lead into one another, but you may need to keep going back to previous stages if you want to gather more information or change your methods.

The actual time for planning and doing advocacy work will vary, depending on the urgency and complexity of a particular issue, the amount of information needed and the advocacy methods chosen. The basic process outlined in the introduction provides a framework and the main questions to address for an immediate response to an issue. You will need to work through each section in more detail for issues requiring a more longterm response.

Headings Include:
- Introduction: The advocacy cycle
- Issue Identification
- Research and analysis
- Planning: Putting it all together
- Action
- Evaluation
- Resources and contacts

Download this document here (PDF, 849.80 KB, 84 pg)

Share this

Understanding Transformational Advocacy - 3 May 2013

CABSA received the following worthwhile information (see attached file) from Tearfund via the Micah challenge.

The subject is Introduction to Transformational Advocacy written by Tom Baker (

He defines transformational advocacy as "the process of challenging ourselves and our leaders to change behaviour, policies, and attitudes that perpetuate inequality and deny God’s will for human flourishing.”

In addition to the document made vailable, there are also plans to run workshops.

Aims of session;

  • Participants leave with an understanding on the concept of transformational advocacy.
  • Participants leave with practical tools about how they can implement the idea of transformational advocacy into their contexts.
  • Participants leave inspired about the potential for getting engaged with transformational advocacy and ideas about how they can go about doing that. 


Share this

Advocacy & Communication - Handbook for CBOs. IDASA (2006).

In a democratic society there are many different groups which might have competing interests. You need to make your voice heard and get your viewpoint across to achieve your vision. The formal terminology for this process is advocacy, lobbying and communication.   Many CBOs already use these tools very successfully. However, obstacles sometimes occur when CBOs operate on their instincts, rather than using more objective and structured tools to ensure their impact is as wide as possible. People expect CBOS to operate in a highly professional manner.
This notebook will help you and your CBO to ensure that you use these tools in the most effective way possible. We will look at advocacy, lobbying and communication as separate processes, but will also highlight the links between them. Often they are difficult to tell apart, but they need to work in harmony to ensure your campaigns are successful.
1. Introduction
2. Advocacy
3. Lobbying
4. Communication
5. Running a Campaign
6. The TAC example
7. The RAPCAN example
8. Conclusion
9. References
Download (PDF - 447KB) from IDASA website at, under Programmes, Institutional Capacity Building.
Share this

Advocacy 2.0 Guide: Tools for Digital Advocacy

Quick and Easy Guide to Online advocacy. This guide presents advocates with a collection of popular online services that can be used for advocacy quickly with little to no technical support. There are services for publishing photographs and video, for setting up a campaign blog or for using mobiles to communicate in a group. An amazing amount of functionality and tools are available simply by connecting to the Internet and opening up a web-browser. You don't need to have a lot of technical expertise to try some of these. You also don't need much money, these services are offered at low- to no-cost.

Share this

Endorse the NGO Code of Good Practice

On December 1 2007, the Code of Good Practice for NGOs Responding to HIV/AIDS will re-open for new endorsements.

The NGO Code of Good Practice sets out the key principles, practice and evidence base required for successful responses to HIV, drawing on the knowledge and experience gained since the response to HIV began. Key issues addressed in the Code include:

- The meaningful involvement of people living with HIV and affected communities.
- Evidence-based programmes based on the needs of the most vulnerable.
-Transparent governance and accountability to beneficiary communities.

160 NGOs have already signed on to the Code. We invite you to make YOUR commitment to continuous improvement and accountability today by reading the Code and sending a signed endorsement letter to the Code Secretariat

Share this

Footsteps 45: Advocacy

 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

An advocate is someone who speaks out on behalf of someone else to bring about justice. In Jesus we have the perfect example of an advocate. While we were still God’s enemies, he died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Now he pleads with God on our behalf, as our advocate in heaven. There are many other examples of advocacy in action in the Bible, including Abraham, Moses and Nehemiah.

Advocacy means to speak or take action either with, or on behalf of, the poor, to change the situations that cause their poverty and bring about justice.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 45 click here (PDF 904 KB)

- See more at:

Share this

HIV and AIDS Advocacy & Media Relations. Training Manual for Religious Leaders.

Religions for Peace has a commitment to strengthen advocacy among religious communities regarding the AIDS pandemic. Due to stigma and discrimination, children are often deprived of basic social services and the support of their extended families. Such an enviroment can open the door for abuse, sexual exploitation, and other issues.   Advocacy means championing a cause; creating awareness and understanding about AIDS; and working to ensure that relevant policies and programs are put in place. HIV/AIDS advocacy helps drive a more effective response globally, regionally and nationally.

This training manual, used together with the participants’ handbook, is meant to strengthen the advocacy and media relations skills of religious leaders at both national and community levels in order to expand their advocacy efforts on behalf of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, with the goal of bringing greater priority to their needs and expanding the response. Download here

Share this

How a Red Ribbon Conquered the World. 2/6/2011

History of the red ribbon as symbol for HIV and AIDS

By Tom Geoghegan BBC News, Washington DC

Thirty years after the HIV virus was first documented, the red ribbon is the ubiquitous symbol of support for those living with the illness. Who thought of it and how did it get so big?

In the sparse surroundings of a former classroom on a spring day in 1991 - a decade after the rise of Aids - a group of 12 artists gathered to discuss a new project.

They were photographers, painters, film makers and costume designers, and they sat around in the shared gallery space known as PS122 in New York's East Village.

Within an hour or so of brainstorming, they had come up with a simple idea that later became one of the most recognised symbols of the decade - the red ribbon, worn to signify support for people with HIV/Aids.

"We wanted to make something that was self-replicating," says Patrick O'Connell, who chaired the meeting. "It's extremely simple, like Bauhaus but half a century later. You cut the ribbon 6-7 inches, loop it around your finger and pin it on. You can do it yourself."

The ribbon was the latest project by Visual Aids, a New York arts organisation founded by O'Connell that raises awareness of HIV/Aids.

When they sat down in the shared gallery space of PS122 in May 1991, they wanted to get people talking about the illness that was decimating their professional and social network, in the face of public indifference and private shame.

People were dying without even telling their friends why they were sick, and the artists wanted a visual expression of compassion for people living with Aids and their carers.

"Even in New York, we were very aware of how many people couldn't talk about it, or were oblivious, or were going through it themselves but ashamed to talk about it," says photographer Allen Frame, who was also one of the 12. "We wanted to make people feeling isolated more supported and understood."

Their inspiration came from the yellow ribbons tied on trees to denote support for the US military fighting in the Gulf War, he says. Pink and the rainbow colours were rejected because they were too closely associated with the gay community, and this was an illness that went well beyond.

"Red was something bold and visible. It symbolised passion, a heart and love."

The shape had no significance but was easy to make.

It took two more meetings to refine the design and then they set to work on making the ribbons themselves, distributing them around the New York art scene and dropping them off at theatres.

Initially there was a text that went with it, to explain why they were being worn, although this was later dropped because it became superfluous.

A few weeks after that first meeting, the group sent a box of 3,000 ribbons to the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway, ahead of the Tony Awards for the theatre industry. Some of them were making ribbons and watching the televised event as actor Jeremy Irons, one of the presenters, came on to the stage wearing one.

"Within three days, the media finally figured it out and it snowballed. I started being contacted by people in Hollywood," says O'Connell.

Demand increased to such a degree that supply needed to be outsourced, and Visual Aids used a charity working with homeless women to make the ribbons. They sent out 10,000 ribbons for one Oscars ceremony, and over the coming years they made about 1.5m.

Stars like Bette Midler and Richard Gere were not only wearing them, but openly discussing why it was important. A ribbon-sporting culture developed within the acting profession.

"It became trendy and sometimes I think celebrities felt blackmailed and thought they had to show up wearing a ribbon, which wasn't the case," says O'Connell. "We weren't keeping count that way."

The ribbons first crossed the Atlantic in large numbers on Easter Monday in 1992, when more than 100,000 ribbons were distributed at an Aids benefit concert in London's Wembley Stadium for Freddie Mercury.

They also began to proliferate in mainstream American life. Schools and churches across the US touched by the illness started to contact Visual Aids for advice on how they could explain it to children and parishioners - the answer was to hold a ribbon-making event.

"This was a way to educate people in a non-combative way," says O'Connell, who has a ribbon on every item of clothing. Direct action was still important, he says - campaigners occupied the Stock Exchange and tried to re-enact a funeral on the White House lawn - but the ribbon was a way to broaden the conversation.

One unforeseen consequence has been the number of awareness ribbons that have been adopted since - pink for breast cancer being the most well known.

The artists purposefully never trademarked it - the point of the project was to invite more people in, says O'Connell - which meant it could appear anywhere without Visual Aids' permission or any payments. It even turned up on a US Post Office stamp.

But he and some of the other artists behind the concept believe the proliferation and merchandising of the ribbon - ornamental ribbons selling for $19.95 in department stores and red ribbon mugs - has commercialised and trivialised their idea.

In a spirit more in tune with the one envisaged by Visual Aids, the ribbon is replicated in many different forms for memorials on World Aids Day, and its symbolism no longer needs any explanation.

In the poorest parts of the world, ribbon production has been central to efforts to raise funds and change attitudes, says Sir Nick Partridge, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust in the UK.

Women's collectives make ribbons and adorn them before selling them in their community.

"A number of people living with HIV really appreciate seeing other people wearing the red ribbon. They realise they're not alone and recognise that the majority of people wearing them probably don't have HIV themselves, and that sense of support and solidarity is very, very important.

"There has been some criticism, that it is only a symbol. But symbols are important, and the way in which the red ribbon was embraced by community activists, doctors and researchers is a unifying emblem in what is a very disparate epidemic.

"The brilliance of the artists was not copyrighting it. Making it freely available was a gift to the Aids community worldwide."

Those 12 artists never worked together again as a group, but with the battle against the illness ongoing, their activism continues.

Share this

Media Advocacy Manual.

American Public Health Association.  Advocacy is used to promote an issue in order to influence policy-makers and encourage social change. Advocacy in public health plays a role in educating the public, swaying public opinion or influencing policy-makers.
Media coverage is one of the best ways to gain the attention of decision-makers, from
local elected officials to members of Congress. Download PDF ( 74.82KB; 15p.)
Share this

Survival is the First Freedom: Applying Democracy & Governance Approaches to HIV/AIDS Work. PACT 1999

This tool kit aims to provide a collection of tools for use in applying democracy and governance approaches to HIV/AIDS work. It is a compilation of the diverse expertise and experiences from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Pact, and other development organisations. It was produced to assist efforts to scale up responses to the pandemic and increase access to prevention and care services through collaboration at individual, community, and national levels. This tool kit is designed for use by donor organisations, civil society, government, and the private sector. According to the publisher, ultimately the aim is to develop a dynamic website so that users can add new tools to create an ever-expanding and up-to-date learning tool.  
The tool kit is organised around key democracy and governance concepts that have direct application to specific needs in HIV/AIDS programming.
Specific tools for relating these focus areas with HIV/AIDS work are included at the end of each section.
Download pdf (3.22 MB)
Share this

The Internet Advocacy Book

The online version of The Internet Advocacy Book is a free resource for non-profits and socially-progressive political organizations who use the internet to advocate for their cause.While "techies" may benefit from The Internet Advocacy Book, the intended audience is non-profit executives, cause marketing consultants, and political campaign professionals.Rather than a "how to" format, The Internet Advocacy Book is written as a "how better to" guide, with laser focus on the best uses of your internet-advocacy time. Here, you'll find candid advice and insightful recommendations, without the bias or self-interest of rah-rah sales reps. This approach is evident throughout the book. For each topic, you'll notice that the coverage of advantages and disadvantages includes at least as many cons as pros. Self-assessment scorecards will help you identify areas of current strength as well as weakness. And our recommendations are concise and specific; so you may find that you can accomplish many of your internet marketing goals with in-house staff and volunteers.

Share this

Why Advocate on HIV? (Tearfund) 2008.

“Advocacy is about influencing people, policies, structures and systems in order to bring about change. It is about influencing those in power to act more fairly.”

“This booklet is for organisations that are engaged in work with people who are living with or affected by HIV but have not yet considered carrying out advocacy on HIV. In this short guide, we look at what advocacy is, what global and local commitments have been made to address HIV, and why advocacy on HIV is necessary.

We look briefly at how to begin advocacy work on issues around HIV, and recommend further resources and contacts.

The aim of this booklet is to inspire organisations to integrate advocacy into their work in responding to HIV, in order to bring long-term positive change.

Download PDF (256.17 KB)


Share this

Advocacy Resources - Access to Treatment


Share this

High-Priced Medicines and Lack of Needs-Driven Innovation: A Global Crisis That Fuels Inequality. 9/2017

Published by OXFAAMERICA

In 2015, the UN Secretary-General established a High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines to ‘review and assess proposals and recommend solutions for remedying the policy incoherence between the justifiable rights of inventors, international human rights law, trade rules and public health in the context of health technologies’. The High-Level Panel (HLP) report, released in September 2016, was welcomed by former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who ‘encouraged all stakeholders to review the report and its recommendations’ and ‘to chart a way forward in appropriate fora to ensure access to medicines and health technologies for all who need them, wherever they are.’

One year later, the UN and relevant UN agencies have not taken action to move the report’s recommendations forward. Direct opposition by some governments –especially the United States –and pharmaceutical companies has caused unnecessary delays. Yet many governments, experts and civil society organizations have welcomed the report, reaffirming the need for new ways to address the global crisis of high medicine prices and lack of needs-driven innovation. The current system for biomedical research and development (R&D) is driven by market dynamics, as pharmaceutical companies invest in medicines that can produce the highest profit. This model results inunaffordable prices.

The pricesof new and even some old medicines continue to be too high to be affordable across the world. In South Africa, a 12-month course of Herceptin, a breast cancer medicine produced by Roche, costs approximately US$38,000 or about five times the country’s average household income. The price of the first real cure for hepatitis C was launched at a cost of US$1,000/pill/day, which would require around US$300bn in order to treat the three million infected people in the United States. The same story is repeated in other countries.

You can access the resource here


Share this

TAG Releases An Activist's Protocol Review Toolkit. 23/5/2017

Published by TAC

Treatment Action Group (TAG) released a toolkit designed to facilitate community participation in the development and review of clinical trials protocols.

The three tools contained in the toolkit are intended to help Community Advisory Boards (CABs) think through different aspects of trial design and implementation, organize feedback for the research team, and evaluate impact on study design and implementation.

The Protocol Review Toolkit for Activists was developed in consultation with members of the Global Tuberculosis Community Advisory Board (TB CAB) and the Community Research Advisors Group (CRAG).

You can access the resource here


Share this

Advancing the Right to Health: The Vital Role of Law. 1/1/2017


  This report aims to raise awareness about the role that the reform of public health laws can play in advancing the right to health and in creating the conditions for people to live healthy lives. By encouraging a better understanding of how public health law can be used to improve the health of the population, the report aims to encourage and assist governments to reform their public health laws in order to advance the right to health.

The report highlights important issues that may arise during the process of public health law reform. It provides guidance about issues and requirements to be addressed during the process of developing public health laws. It also includes case studies and examples of legislation from a variety of countries to illustrate effective law reform practices and some features of effective public health legislation.

Share this

Analysis 58: Medicines Patents, Access and Innovation. 6/2016


Millions of people around the world do not have access to the medicines they need to treat disease or alleviate suffering.  Strict  patent  regimes  interfere with widespread access to medicines by creating monopolies that can lead to  medicine  prices well beyond the reach of the people who need them.

The magnitude of the AIDS crisis in the late nineties brought this issue to public attention, when millions of people in developing  countries  died from an illness for which medicines existed in Western countries, but which were usually not available or affordable elsewhere. Faced with a huge health crisis – 8,000 people worldwide dying daily – the public health community launched an unprecedented global effort that eventually resulted in the largescale  availability  of  quality assured  generic HIV medicines  and  a  steady  scale-up of treatment  programmes that provided access for many to those medicines. Today, 17 million people are on HIV treatment (UNAIDS 2016) leading longer, healthier lives as a result.

However, trends in international intellectual property law could impact many of the policy tools used to scale up HIV treatment. Developments in global health, and specifically policies designed to ensure access to medicines, are now  at  an  important  juncture.  Impressive  progress  has been made in access to medicines for HIV and many lessons can be learned from that experience. But it is important  to  examine  whether  those  lessons can be applied  to other  new  medicines,  including  medicines to treat  HIV, that are high priced because, for example, they are not included in the  Medicines  Patent  Pool  (MPP). 

The  Medicines Patent Pool was set up as a one stop shop for voluntary  licences.  The MPP negotiates  licenses  with  patent holders,  mostly  pharmaceutical  companies,  which  allow generic manufacturers to produce these medicines, including in combination with other products. This has facilitated generic competition in the market and access to lower priced treatments for HIV including fixed-dose combinations which are easier for people to take than single pills.

Today’s pharmaceutical patent regimes affect almost all  medicines  developed  since  1995  in  most  countries.  The high prices of new medicines, such as for cancer, tuberculosis, hepatitis C, and HIV cause huge access challenges globally, in both developed and developing countries.  While important  progress  has  been  made  to  increase  access  to  HIV  medication,  dealing  with  high priced patented  anti-retrovirals  (ARVs)  that  are  only available from the patent holder remains a problem.

You can access the resource here

Share this

Public Health Groups Call for Congress to Reject TPP 12/4/2016

Published at

By Vicki Needham - 04/12/16 08:51 PM EDT

More than 50 public health groups on Tuesday called on Congress to reject a trade agreement between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations because it will block access to affordable medicines.

Led by Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam America, the groups wrote a letter to Congress arguing that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement contains provisions that would undermine public health and in many cases make it more difficult to deliver lifesaving medicines to patients.

The health groups — Health GAP, Alliance for Retired Americans and National Nurses United — say that the TPP would extend the monopolies of pharmaceutical companies, keep drug prices high and prevent medical providers from getting the medicines they need while blocking the availability of generic drugs in many TPP countries.

"In the United States, TPP would tie Congress’s hands, potentially for decades to come, preventing policymakers from having flexibility as they formulate sensible policies to promote access and keep medicines affordable,” the groups wrote.

They said the TPP would take apart public health safeguards and force developing countries to change their laws "to incorporate abusive protections for pharmaceutical companies," making it harder to obtain affordable medicines.

“Competition has consistently proven the most effective means of reducing prices and ensuring prices continue to fall over time,” the letter said.

“As written, the TPP is inconsistent with U.S. domestic health priorities and global health policy," the groups wrote.

"We urge Congress to reject the TPP as long as these damaging provisions are part of it. The stakes for public health are too high.”

Share this

The Global Fund has Been Backing Away From Efforts to Promote Generic Competition 5/4/2016

Published at
Fund’s strategy has come under growing scrutiny

With progressively stricter patent protections, the costs for new treatments continue to rise. It is a global problem that affects countries across income levels, but it is particularly challenging for poor and transitioning economies.

Until recently, The Global Fund has advocated for the affordability, availability, and financing of medicines and other health commodities, taking the time-tested position of promoting generic competition as the most effective means for bringing down the price of medicines.

According to The Global Fund’s 2012 Guide to Policies on Procurement and Supply Management of Health Products, the Fund has long supported efforts to “address barriers and practices that prevent access to affordable medicines by promoting generic competition in order to help reduce costs,” including “the use of TRIPS flexibilities [see below] to ensure the lowest possible prices for quality medical products, and allows for grant monies to be used for securing the necessary expertise.”

But lately the Fund has increasingly taken a very conservative approach or even remained silent when its political weight could have been used to promote the pro-generic policies that many countries rely on to ensure access to quality medicines.

As a result, The Global Fund’s strategy regarding intellectual property (IP) has come under growing scrutiny from rights advocates and health and development partners, including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), UNITAID, and Health GAP. They have called on the Global Fund to use its influence to promote the use of generic competition, and to supplement those efforts by leveraging its purchasing power to lower the price of medicines.

Free trade pacts

This campaign to protect affordable access to medicines is intensifying as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a landmark agreement that will create the world’s largest free trade zone and affect 40% of the world’s economy – undergoes the final legislative processes for ratification.

Besides increasing costs as a direct result of stricter patent protections, trade pacts have generally favored IP rights holders to the disadvantage of competition and consumers. But the TPP goes further than previous pacts in that it threatens future access to affordable medicines. The TPP creates additional forms of monopoly protections – i.e. over and above minimum protections that already been agreed globally.

For example, the TPP expands provisions for monopoly drug patents and grants additional enforcement powers to foreign pharmaceutical corporations to directly challenge domestic public health policies. Activists argue that these longer, broader, and stronger patent protections will result in higher drug costs and longer times to bring generic drugs to market, thus pricing vital drugs out of the reach of millions of people. If ratified, they say, unprecedented monopolies on medicines will undermine the flexibilities negotiated under TRIPS that safeguard a country’s access to affordable drugs.

TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) is one of the annexes to the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO), the international body overseeing the global trading system, in 1994. For member countries of the WTO, TRIPS introduced protections for IP rights.

In response to concerns raised about the damaging impact of IP regimes on public health and development, particularly for developing nations, the DOHA declaration was issued by the WTO in 2001. DOHA stated that IP provisions in trade agreements should not infringe on the human rights obligations of governments. It affirmed the right of WTO members to make full use of TRIPS flexibilities (e.g. compulsory licensing, parallel importing, voluntary licensing, exceptions, and exemptions) to protect public health and ensure access to medicines for the poorest.

Fund is uniquely positioned

Procurements of health commodities constitute 40-50% of The Global Fund’s annual grant disbursements, making the Fund uniquely positioned to influence the price of key medicines – particularly given the Fund’s expressed desire to maximize value for money. But instead, the Fund appears to be backing away from public health–friendly, pro-competition policies that it has actively promoted in the past.

An immediate case in point is its silence during global IP debates, and specifically during recent negotiations in which least developed countries (LDCs) requested an extension from the WTO in implementing stricter IP rules. In the end, the WTO granted their request, although it limited the extension to 2033 with the possibility of additional extensions. 

Another example is the Market Shaping Strategy which The Global Fund Board recently adopted. The policy attempts to expand the Fund’s role in shaping market dynamics to increase access to health products (see GFO article). Critics charged that an initial draft of the strategy circulated by the Secretariat for comment was too weak on IP barriers and generic competition issues. Members of the NGO and communities delegations of the Board provided hundreds of pages of input to the Secretariat to try to strengthen the language. But the revised text presented to the Board still fell short even though some last-minute lobbying at the Board meeting where the strategy was adopted resulted in some improvements to the language.

Although The Global Fund professes to support efforts to address IP barriers to affordable medicines, it has failed to develop strategies for overcoming IP barriers in implementing countries. Moreover, according to activists, the Fund has taken the position that such matters are outside the scope of its Market Shaping Strategy.  

Many actors are involved in the fight for more affordable medicines, including development initiatives such as UNITAID and the Medicines Patent Pool, which provide substantial investments to ensure affordable access to medicines. MSF contends that the existing tools and levers to overcome IP barriers can be significantly leveraged with the Global Fund’s market and political power – if only that power were forthcoming.

Another issue raised by MSF is the Global Fund’s approach to centralizing key activities, such as bulk procurement and the e-marketplace. Strategies that centralize these activities seek to drive innovation and reduce costs, among other benefits, but they also build near-monopsony power for The Global Fund, potentially at the expense of building country capacity to address IP barriers in order to to protect their public health interests. (In economics, a monopsony is a market structure in which only one buyer interacts with many would-be sellers of a particular product.) MSF says that negotiations to lower the price of medicines lack transparency and oversight mechanisms, reducing country ownership in the process.

Brook Baker of Health GAP adds that “even if the Global Fund is promoting pooled procurement, it could provide countries with better information on patent status and help them amend their laws and use TRIPS flexibilities to access affordable more affordable generics.” He said that the Fund could also be doing more to strengthen procurement and supply system capacity in low-middle-income countries.

“Grant funds can be used to support IP/TRIPS-related work, so countries can put activities related to this in their proposals,” Baker said. “But the availability of Global Fund support for this IP work is not explicit. There should be clarity on this for recipient countries, both in advocacy and in TA. This is a particular concern for countries transitioning from Global Fund support, where the Fund should leave behind a set of policies and practices for effective procurement that will have an impact not just for commodities related to HIV, TB, and malaria.”

Explore all avenues

“All avenues for securing affordable access to medicines should be explored,” asserts Rohit Malpani, Director of Policy & Analysis with MSF. “The Global Fund, through its sheer weight, can employ a variety of means to enable recipient and graduating countries to protect their public health priorities. That means explicit support for the use, or threat of use, of TRIPS flexibilities in addition to leveraging its procurement options.”

“Further,” he adds, “The Global Fund should encourage wide review of these procurement options to inform its support to specific countries. It should conduct and publish clear analyses on the impact of free trade agreements or other trade policies on generic competition for health commodities.”

Another recommendations put forth by MSF and Health GAP is that The Global Fund should hire an in-house IP specialist as part of its market analysis work. In addition, they said, the Fund should align with, and build on, the work of UNITAID and the Medicines Patent Pool on overcoming IP barriers by, for example, negotiating voluntary licenses for key commodities and expanding access to generics to low- and middle-income countries.

There is another problem, according to Brook Baker. “Commercial interests wield substantial influence on Global Fund procurement and pricing strategies,” he said. “It’s the elephant in the room.” The U.S. is the Global Fund’s largest donor, and it has an enormous pharmaceutical lobby that backed the TPP and its pro-industry IP provisions. The Global Fund’s second largest donor is the U.K., also with its own powerful pharmaceutical industry pushing for longer monopolies on brand-name drugs, making it harder for generic companies to enter the market. 

Share this

Early Diagnosis and Treatment for Children and Adolescentsi Living with HIV: Urgent Call by Religious and Faith-Inspired Organizations for Greater Commitment and Action. 4/2016

Download pdf from CARITAS

As professionals engaged in the response to the continuing and grave challenges posed by the HIV epidemic, at global, national, and local levels, we gathered from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America, to share our knowledge, experience, and good practice models but also our grave concerns, with special attention to the wellbeing and future of children, vulnerable to, or already living with HIV. We were joined in these strategic reflections and discussions by other key stakeholders, including officials of multi-lateral organizations and national governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) facilitating provision of services (implementing agencies), and various innovative funding, research, development, and advocacy organizations committed to advance the shared vision to end new infections of HIV among children and keep their mothers healthy, and to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. “We need to bring our minds and our hearts together to face the future to take us to the end of AIDS.”ii

Rejoicing in the Signs of Hope and the Grace of God

We grounded our time together in prayer and discernment of Sacred Scripture and the centuries-old traditions of people of faith to reach out to, and accompany, as part of our mission as people of hope, those sisters and brothers who find themselves most in need, marginalized, rejected, and stigmatized.

Working in the “vineyard” of religious and faith-based action, we deeply appreciated the acknowledgement offered by our international colleagues and partners during this consultation: “You’ve worked tirelessly, often without the resources, long before the Global Fund, long before PEPFAR;” “You were there when all we could do was stand beside bedsides and help people die with dignity”iii; “You are a bridge to bring the science to the people. The data makes that very clear.”iv “ Faith- based organizations are an essential and irreplaceable piece of this puzzle.”v

On a related note, we celebrated with many others, but most especially with our sisters and brothers living with or affected by HIV, in the scientific, technical, and practical progress made to date:vi

  • The number of children who died of AIDS-related causes in 2014 (150 000) is 41% lower than in 2001, when global paediatric HIV mortality peaked;

  • Since 2000, new HIV infections among children have declined by 58%. Yet the epidemic continues to have profound effects on the youngest people. In 2014, 2.6 million children under 15 years of age were living with HIV;

  • Since 2000, antiretroviral medicines have averted an estimated 1.4 million HIV infections among newborns and infants;

  • Approximately 73% of pregnant women living with HIV worldwide have received treatment to stop transmission of HIV to their babies. This is a giant leap from 36% receiving effective regimens in 2009 and from 2000, when only 1% of pregnant women living with HIV had any form of access to prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission services;

  • In 2013 worldwide, only 42% of newborns exposed to HIV received early infant diagnostic services in their first two months of life.

    We shared the stories of entire families, and especially of their HIV-positive children, being accompanied by our faith-based programmes and benefitting from education from primary to tertiary levels; entering into value-based and respectful inter-personal friendships with peers; excelling in sports; and developing self-sufficiency skills as they transition from adolescence to young adulthood.

Confronting Persistent and Grave Obstacles

Despite our best efforts, specialized skills, and holistic, person- centered, community-based, and family-centered vision and approach to care, the children and families under our care continue to face serious challenges as they seek universal access to effective, accessible, and acceptable prevention education, treatment, care and support:

  • When analyzing overall mortality among children, we note that more than six million children still die, mainly of preventable and treatable diseases, before their fifth birthday each year.

  • Four out of every five deaths of children under age five occur in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia.

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is common in countries that have a high burden of children living with HIV and high under-five mortality. Yet, TB/HIV co-morbidity among children has been largely overlooked globally and grossly under-reported.

  • The proportion of children living with HIV who receive antiretroviral therapy more than doubled between 2010 and 2014 (from 14% to 32%), but coverage remains notably lower than it does for adults (41%). Only 820 000 of 2.6 million children living with HIV have access to treatment.

  • Even when services are readily available, stigma can prevent parents from bringing their children forward for test results and for initiation of treatment.

  • Long delays in return of EID test results continue to interfere with and timely initiation of treatment.

  • Children are still being initiated on anti-retroviral treatment too late; one-half of children living with HIV and who are not receiving anti-retroviral treatment die before the age of two years (UNAIDS), yet, on average, children are not initiated on treatment until 3.8 years of age (UNAIDS/Ideea).

  • Impairment of neuro-cognitive development and stunting have been noted among children living with HIV; early initiation of anti- retroviral therapy and adequate nutrition have shown positive impact in this regard.

  • Stock-outs of testing supplies and medicines create frustration, defaults, and desperation, among parents and primary caregivers who make great sacrifices of time and meager financial resources to bring their children to clinics and hospitals in search of testing and treatment.

  • Funding often is tied to bio-medical services alone, when there is strong evidence base demonstrating the need and effectiveness of a holistic approach that combines medical, emotional, and spiritual support to child and parents/caregivers: "The HIV epidemic among children and adolescents is defined not only by the virus and medical interventions to control it but also by social, economic and political conditions that they find themselves in. We know that children thrive when they are placed in a supportive and nurturing environment from their earliest days. UNAIDS is committed to increasing attention to social protection, especially for children and adolescents."vii

  • Medication distribution and delivery systems remain complicated, and medicines continue to require cold chain storage, even in countries without a reliable electrical supply.

  • In many countries and districts HIV, TB, ante-natal, maternal and child health, and other medical services continue to be delivered in “silo” fashion and thus result in missed opportunities for early diagnosis and initiation of treatment.

  • Despite strong advocacy and some innovative approaches to issues related to intellectual property, this “progress” has not yet yielded large-scale production of “child friendly” diagnostics and medicines that can be used in low-technology and low-income countries and among poor and marginalized populations in middle- and low-income areas of “rich” countries.

  • We also recognize that some faith-based organizations have held attitudes that contributed to the marginalization of people living with and affected by HIV and that, at times, our silence could be linked to the worsening situation of HIV infection.

    What do we need from NOW until 2020viii, with specific interim targets and reviews on an annual basis, to address these life-threatening issues?

  • Variability and disruption in funding can have catastrophic results for formerly successful projects; we cannot assume programmes will be maintained without adequate and sustainable funding from both international solidarity and domestic sources.

  • Invest in programmes to prevent HIV infection in parents;

  • Expanding numbers of adolescent youth can result in higher vulnerability to HIV infection among this population, in particular, among girls; we need to better understand their needs and to develop more effective means to assure that they enter and are maintained in school, which, in itself has been demonstrated as an effective prevention strategy.

  • Since there is high mobility among many families and children, especially among the poorer populations, more “portable”, “Smart Card” medical and social records and other information communication technology are needed in order to track their progress and to enable them to stay in care over time and place.

  • A multi-pronged approach to HIV must be developed in order to extend past the bio-medical service system in order to include nutritional support, services to children with disabilities, mental health services, spiritual, social, and emotional support, education, and economic empowerment and assistance, and social services, attention to the impact of conflict and other humanitarian crises, and sensitivity to cultural and religious contexts.

  • Invest in social services for children and families, including social protection, in order to address the underlying causes that hinder the response to HIV, including poverty, abuse, stigma, and harmful social norms and develop social indicators to demonstrate effectiveness of these interventions.

  • Attention must be given to greater involvement of men and boys if we want to reduce HIV vulnerability among women and girls, including elimination of inter-personal and domestic violence.

  • Access to, and availability of, timely lab testing, including virologic tests, for early infant diagnosis must be increased through innovative systems and new technologies to allow infected infants to be started on antiretroviral treatment rapidly.

  • Testing of children in high yield venues such as index-case based testing and OVC programs, malnutrition and TB clinics, and sick child wards must be intensified to identify children living with HIV. Training on disclosure to children of their HIV status must be provided for health care workers and parents/caregivers.

  • Providing effective and well-tolerated drugs for children remains critical to ensuring scale up of paediatric treatment and improved clinical outcomes.

o Formulations must be palatable, suitable for infants and young children, adaptable for varied weights, and co- formulated as much as possible.

o Immediate new formulations are needed for children and are more potent, better tolerated and minimally toxic regimen allowing full harmonization with adult treatment strategies.

o Second and third-line treatment regimens must be available in paediatric formulations to allow treatment of children failing initial regimens.

  • Innovative strategies for prevention, retention and adherence are needed especially for adolescents, who are at high risk of loss to follow up and onward transmission.

  • Serious study and analysis needs be given to integration of HIV Testing and Counseling into immunization programmes

  • Strengthen the capacity of, and retaining, paid and volunteer community health workers and facilitate task shifting in order to expand outreach, efficiency, and effectiveness.

  • Consistent and broadly accepted targets and sub-targets should be defined for diagnosis, treatment and retention in care of children living with HIV; no target should be accepted if it is based on the assumption that large numbers of children will die before elimination can be reached.

  • Inter-sectoral and inter-ministerial cooperation should be formalized within governmental offices engaged in response to HIV .

    The unique voice of faith communities and related organizations to save the lives of children living with HIV and their parents, and to accompany the empowerment of affected families

    Thus we commit ourselves to:

    Addresspsycho-socialandspiritualneedsofchildrenandfamilies; Delivertestingandtreatmentservicesatlocalcommunitylevel;
    Utilize the sermons and other educational services, including

    pastoral and clergy training and formation programmes, to deliver direct, comprehensive, effective, and understandable messages for individuals, families, and communities, in relation to physical, emotional, behavioral and spiritual health and wholeness;

    Shape positive attitudes that counteract fear and tendencies toward stigma and discrimination;

    Integrate value-based sexual and responsible relationship education into their curricula and into preparation for life-changing transitions (adolescence, marriage, death and mourning, etc.);

    Initiate and sustain effective advocacy approaches to address social justice-related barriers and obstacles to universal access to early and sustained testing and treatment for HIV, TB, and other co- infections

Increase partnership and collaboration with government and other civil society actors;

Assume a critical role in implementing, and monitoring progress in achieving, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other international commitments and to safeguard respect for human rights;

Assure access to treatment and provide social, emotional and spiritual support for arriving migrants and refugees;

Maintain focus and concern on marginalized, low-prevalence, and/or hard-to-reach populations within our respective countries,

Contribute to ethical and theological reflection, and ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, on overcoming obstacles and barriers to effective Early Infant Diagnosis and Treatment of Children living with HIV;

i According the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 1, “a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier”, in this document, it will be presumed that adolescents are included in such references to children.

ii Dr. Luiz Loures, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Director of Programmes, UNAIDS, 11 April 2016.

iii H.E. Deborah Birx, Coordinator, U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Response and for Global Health Policy, 11 April 2016. iv Dr. Luiz Loures, 11 April 2016.

v H.E. Deborah Birx, 11 April 2016.
vi Unless otherwise specified, references are from UNAIDS: How AIDS Changed Everything: MDG 6: 15 years, 15 lessons of hope from the AIDS response. Geneva: UNAIDS, 2015 vii Dr. Luiz Loures, Global Partners Forum: a holistic approach needed to keep children and young people safe from HIV, 20 July 2014,

viii Quickening the pace to achieve the Fast-Track Targets would reverse the AIDS epidemic by 2020. With achievement of these new targets, by 2030 the epidemic would be dwindling. In contrast, with business as usual (keeping service coverage at 2013 levels), the epidemic will have rebounded by 2030, representing an even more serious threat to the world’s future health and well-being and requiring substantial resources for what would then be an uncontrolled epidemic.”, page 12

Share this

The Vancouver Consensus: A New Declaration Against HIV. 04/08/2015

Published at The Body Pro
Written by Warren Tong
20 July 2015

"Medical evidence is clear: All people living with HIV must have access to antiretroviral treatment upon diagnosis. Barriers to access in law, policy, and bias must be confronted and dismantled," declares the Vancouver Consensus, a consensus statement unveiled on the opening night of IAS 2015, in Vancouver, Canada.

The consensus commemorates the last time the global HIV community gathered in Vancouver, in 1996, when data were presented supporting the use of triple-drug combination antiretroviral therapy. Since then, the START study has shown that starting treatment immediately, regardless of a patient's CD4 count, greatly reduces the risk of death and other complications.

In addition, data have shown that effective treatment reduces the transmissibility of HIV, with the final results of the HPTN 052 study (being presented on July 20 at IAS 2015) expected to show a reduction in chances of HIV infection by over 95% in serodiscordant couples.

Although an estimated 15 million people living with HIV worldwide are receiving antiretroviral therapy, "It is time to reach the 60 percent of people living with HIV who are not accessing treatment, including 19 million who do not yet know their status," the Vancouver Consensus states.

Additionally, as part of a combination prevention effort, the consensus calls for PrEP to be made available to those at risk of acquiring HIV.

To help reach these goals and others, the consensus makes a few calls for action, stating:

We call on leaders the world over to implement HIV science and commit to providing access to immediate HIV treatment to all people living with HIV. We call on donors and governments to use existing resources for maximum impact and to mobilize sufficient resources globally to support [antiretroviral] access for all, U.N. 90/90/90 goals for testing, treatment and adherence, and a comprehensive HIV response. We call on clinicians to build models of care that move beyond the clinic to reach all who want and need [antiretrovirals]. We call on civil society to mobilize in support of immediate rights-based access to treatment for all.

Read and sign the Vancouver Consensus.

Share this

Statement by H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Council. 19/6/2015

10 June 2015
File size: 50KB
See attachement below.

Full title: Statement by H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Council .

Mr. President,
I join previous speakers to congratulate you on your election. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about one-third of the population lacks regular access to essential medicines and vaccines. It believes that 10 million lives could be saved annually if such resources were more readily available.
The Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as the poorest and weakest segment of the international community, are most vulnerable. The classification of LDCs is contingent on a number of key human development indicators, including levels of poverty, literacy and infant mortality. At the beginning of the Millennium, the Least Developed Countries enjoyed the strongest and longest growth rates since the 1970s, benefiting from sustained global growth, surging commodity prices and buoyant capital flows. Between 2000 and 2008, the average annual growth of this Group’s real gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded 7 per cent, raising hopes that some LDCs may be able to graduate from this category within the present decade. However, with the global financial crisis in 2008 and the drastic change in external conditions, LDCs have experienced a slowdown of economic activity. As a result, their economic growth has been much weaker during the past five years.  It has been well below the target rate of 7 per cent annual growth established in the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) which is considered necessary for attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).(...)



Share this

Faith Advocacy Toolkit. Advocacy for Universal Access: A Toolkit for Faith-Based Organisations.

A World AIDS Campaign resource designed to equip and inspire people of faith to use the strength of their communities to advocate for Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

English Faith Advocacy Toolkit
French Faith Advocacy Toolkit
Spanish Faith Advocacy Toolkit

Share this

Death by Patent. 11/5/2015

Published at POZ
Written by Benjamin Gerritz
29 April 2015

The proposed Trans Pacific Partnership raises concerns over access to HIV/AIDS treatment. When thinking about trade policy, tariffs and quotas may be what typically comes to mind. The truth is multilateral trade agreements have affected people in numerous ways, including impeding on access to HIV medications.

As the U.S. Congress prepares to vote on a very important trade bill in the coming weeks, I hope our elected officials deeply consider the policy failures of the past so as not to repeat the trading of HIV-positive lives away.

The World Health Organization (WHO) currently estimates there are 35 million people living with HIV, myself included. Since 1981, the WHO has recorded 39 million AIDS-related deaths. These numbers would unquestionably be much higher were it not for health programs such as the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the U.S. Ryan White program.

PEPFAR has been heralded as among the most successful global health programs, but this program also exposed a trade policy failure often referred to as a death by patent. The announcement of PEPFAR's creation was delivered during President Bush's State of the Union in 2003. During this speech, the president called on Congress to commit $15 billion to address the growing global AIDS pandemic, citing the cost effectiveness of allocating funds for HIV medications.

At the time, the president stated the cost of treatment for one person had dropped from $10,000 per year to $300. He was accurate about the cost, but he hadn't factored in the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) factor. The $300 was for generic HIV medications manufactured in India, but $10,000 was the patent protected price in the United States.

Following the State of the Union speech, PhRMA moved quickly to ensure PEPFAR would not purchase India's generics. Pharmaceutical companies and policy makers used patent and intellectual property terms in the U.S.–backed World Trade Organization (WTO) to restrict access to generic treatments. This resulted in the first years of PEPFAR characterized by the program paying $10,000 per year for medication for one person, which was not what the president initially intended.

It would take years of advocacy from groups such as TAG, ACT UP and Doctors Without Borders before the WTO eased restrictions allowing generic HIV medications to flow to people in need. During this struggle, at least 10 million needlessly died. This easing of the WTO's trade barriers for HIV medications has translated into 12 million people who are currently receiving medicines through global health programs. Over 80 percent of PEPFAR's medications are currently being purchased from India at a price of less than $100 per year. The $100 cost likely sounds very refreshing to Americans living with HIV who, like me, would have to pay $3,400 per month or more for our lifesaving medication without insurance.

It is with both PEPFAR's success and the WTO's failures in mind that I am deeply concerned there may be a repeat of death by patent coming. Right now, the United States is negotiating a massive free trade agreement between 11 countries throughout the Pacific Rim and Southeast Asia. This deal, known as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), has sparked widespread outrage over potential implications.

In referring to the TPP, the director of the WHO recently stated, "If these agreements open trade yet close access to affordable medicines, we have to ask: Is this really progress at all, especially with the costs of care soaring everywhere?" The terms of this trade agreement, like previous ones including the WTO, have been negotiated in secret with the public and even members of the U.S. Congress barred from knowing the full extent of what is being negotiated on our behalf.

What is known is the terms are being written by 600 negotiators, the vast majority of whom represent U.S. multinational corporations with PhRMA as the TPP's chief lobbyist. Through leaked copies of the TPP text by Wikileaks, people have been provided information on the trade agreement's terms. One of the terms authorizes corporations to sue sovereign governments over laws passed to protect public health. This provision is tragically similar to the one used to restrict access to medicines under the WTO previously.

In the coming weeks, the U.S. Congress will be voting on a Fast Track bill designed to quickly pass the terms of the TPP through Congress. If Congress passes Fast Track, it will mean the TPP will come before Congress for a simple yay or nay vote devoid of substantive debate or amendments. This would provide a narrow opportunity to ensure the TPP doesn't repeat the faults of the WTO.

I assume most members of Congress would characterize the previous death by patent situation as having been a tragedy we could have prevented. I hope, when our elected officials cast their votes on Fast Track, all of the implications of their decisions are deeply considered.

Share this

Join the Global Fund's Born HIV Free Campaign. 19/5/10

The 'Born HIV Free' campaign is being launched today at an event starring Carla Bruni-Sarkosy in Paris.

19 May 2010

The 'Born HIV Free' campaign is being launched today at an event starring Carla Bruni-Sarkosy in Paris.

This social media campaign is part of the replenishment process for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which will culminate in October 2010 with the announcement of international donors' financial contributions for 2011-2013. The Born HIV Free campaign adds to the calls for a fully funded Global Fund by emphasizing the Fund's crucial role in helping to prevent vertical or 'mother-to-child' transmission of HIV.

  1. Most children could be protected from being infected with HIV when in the womb, during pregnancy or through breastfeeding if their mothers had access to the proper prevention, care and treatment services. In 2008, some 430,000 children under 15 became infected with HIV - the vast majority through vertical transmission
  2. A fully funded Global Fund is a vital part of the international architecture that can help achieve Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, including for parents and their children

As people of faith, we are compelled to ensure that each child born is free from disease or disadvantage because we believe that each individual is precious and endowed with an inherent dignity that demands our care and attention. This is all the more so when protection from HIV infection in the womb, during delivery or through breast-feeding is achievable if we are alert, diligent and committed.

The EAA highlighted vertical transmission as part of its 2009 'Prescription for Life' campaign. The campaign saw hundreds of children asking pharmaceutical companies to do more to improve testing and treatment for infants and children living with HIV, including by improving access for all HIV-positive expectant mothers to antiretroviral medicines. During 2010, it continues to advocate for the prevention of vertical transmission, of which support for the Born HIV Free campaign is a part.

What can you do?

1. Join the Born HIV Free facebook page (click here) or become a follower on Twitter (click here). (The EAA has also recently launched a 'Live the Promise' facebook group, you can join this too by clicking here)

2. Raise awareness of the issues surrounding children and HIV by hosting the EAA's 'Prescription for Life' exhibition in your office, church or school. More information can be found here
Share this

Live the Promise Action Alert. Urge G8 to make 2010 count for Universal Access. 4/5/10

In 2005, the G8 committed to providing Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010. This target will not be met.

Despite some progress in expanding access to treatment, UNAIDS calculates that for every two people who first accessed treatment in 2007, five became newly infected with HIV in the same period. What's more, under the new World Health Organization treatment guidelines, an estimated 11 million people with advanced HIV infection today have no access to antiretroviral therapy.

In 2010, the G8 must recommit to achieving Universal Access and must ensure that, this time, its words are translated into action. This will require political and financial commitment to a time-bound action plan that must be agreed upon at the G8's upcoming Summit in Canada this June.

Join with a wide range of civil society actors in urging the G8 to act now to achieve Universal Access. The world, including the 33 million people currently living with HIV, cannot afford to wait any longer.

What can you do?

1. Read and sign on to the EAA letter urging the G8's Canadian hosts to make 2010 count for Universal Access. The deadline for signatures is 4 June 2010. Organizational signatures (organization name and the country in which you are based) are preferred. To indicate your support, send an e-mail to rfoley [at] or fax: + 41 22 710 2387.

EAA will then send the final letter with all the signatures to Prime Minister Harper in Canada. You will receive a copy of the letter to send to your own country's Canadian embassy.

G8 countries are: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

2. Add your voice to wider civil society calls for G8 action on Universal Access by:

signing up to the World AIDS Campaign's online petition here writing a letter as part of the International AIDS Society's campaign here highlighting Universal Access as a key message within the Interfaith Partnership and the 'At the Table' campaign


Dear Prime Minister Harper,

We are writing to urge you, as host of June's G8 Summit in Canada, to ensure that 2010 is a pivotal year in the drive to provide Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

As faith-based organizations from around the world, we deeply regret that the G8's 2005 pledge to provide Universal Access to all who need it by 2010 will be missed. Despite some progress in expanding access to antiretroviral treatment since 2005, the stark reality is that 1.7 million adults and 280,000 children died as a result of AIDS in 2008 and today an estimated 11 million people still wait for life-saving treatment, including hundreds of thousands of children.

The Universal Access goal is not about figures; it is about life and death. The G8 must seize the opportunity provided by its upcoming Summit to renew its political and financial commiment to achieving Universal Access and to reassure the 33 million people currrently living with HIV of its commitment to them.

Recent history has shown that a reconfirmation of the Universal Access pledge on its own, however, is simply not enough. Although the G8 has laudably recommitted to Universal Access every year since 2005, the goal remains unmet. In 2010, therefore, a G8 promise must be followed by G8 action. Crucially, a fully costed and time-bound plan of action for realizing Universal Access must be developed and agreed upon.

In particular, the promise of Universal Access will remain a distant dream without adequate funding. The G8's failure to deliver the funds it committed in 2005 comes at a time when a global scale-up of treatment and prevention access is increasingly urgent to meet the health and development Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. For example, the Global Fund, which is essential to achieving Universal Access and the health MDGs, has just launched a replenishment process, yet even the highest scenario presented to donors in March, will not achieve these goals.

What's more, the effects of the global financial crisis coupled with severe shortages of HIV treatment, stalled progress on the expansion of HIV prevention and services, and the unacceptable violations of the human rights of people living with and affected by HIV, remind us that any hard won progress is fragile and reversible. In 2010, it is imperative that the G8 moves forward rather than back on the Universal Access goal.

Please be assured of our prayers and support as you discuss these issues with other world leaders and seriously consider how to turn your words into action. As people of faith, many of us are already active in HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programs, actively supported not only by international donors but funds from within religious communities. It is only when we all pull together to scale up both action and financial commitment that all people living with HIV will receive the treatment and support they need to live life to the full. It is only then that fewer people will become infected with the virus. And it is only then that Universal Access will be achieved.

Yours in faith,

[organizational signatures to be added here] 


Share this

TAC and Partners Announce Universal Access Campaign. 28/5/10

Treatment Action Campaign

28 May 2010


-TAC and partners to march for universal access
-Africa wins every time you INVEST in HIV and TB
-Letter to President Barack Obama from TAC and partners
-Letter to President Jacob Zuma from TAC and partners
-Letter to United States Vice President Joe Biden

1)      TAC and partners to march for universal access

On 17 June 2010, TAC and partners will be holding a peaceful demonstration in Johannesburg. We will be calling on governments and funders to scale up funding to meet the targets for universal access to HIV treatment, prevention and care. The demonstration will be held during the World Cup, targeting world leaders in attendance to meet their funding commitments for HIV and health.

The campaign will be held in partnership with:
SECTION27, incorporating the AIDS Law Project
AIDS Rights Alliance of Southern Africa (ARASA)
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
Community Media Trust (CMT)
World AIDS Campaign
AIDS Consortium
Soul City
Children’s Rights Center
Equal Education

Included in this newsletter is information on why we are marching ‘Africa wins every time you INVEST in HIV and TB’. Also included are copies of letters sent by TAC and partners to South Africa President Jacob Zuma, United States President Barack Obama and United States Vice President Joe Biden. In these letters we call on the Presidents and Vice President to take leadership to ensure that universal access targets are met across the region and funding is expanded to meet these targets.

2. Africa wins every time that you INVEST in HIV and TB!

Expanded and sustained funding is needed to meet universal access targets for HIV treatment, prevention and care. Commitments to meet universal access by 2010 were made in July 2005 by G8 nations. This created the momentum that led to a global commitment to universal access by 2010, as endorsed by country leaders at the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The global commitment to universal access is also reflected in the Millennium Development Goals – particularly, MDG 6 – which in addition to universal access, also commits countries to the target of halting and reversing the spread of HIV by 2015.

Yet today we are far from meeting universal access targets and governments and funders have already begun to backtrack on their funding commitments - threatening to undermine the gains made and future access to treatment, care and prevention. Worldwide about 4 million people are receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) – however, this represents only 42% of the people who need it. Further, less than a quarter of HIV positive pregnant women have access to prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT).[1]

Reaching universal access is necessary to reducing AIDS mortality, opportunistic diseases and new infections as well as upholding our fundamental right to health. 


Developed and developing nations are not meeting their funding commitments for HIV and health. International financing mechanisms for health and HIV such as the Global Fund are struggling to secure the finances necessary to continue to expand programmes. A reduction in HIV funding will lead to millions of avoidable deaths across the region.

The Abuja Declaration

In 2001 African nations committed (in the Abuja declaration) to placing the fight against HIV/AIDS ‘at the forefront and as the highest priority issue in our respective national development plans… for the first quarter of the 21st century’. Related to this was the pledge to expand funding for health to 15% of their annual budgets. Yet today African nations continue to spend far too little on health and only 6 of 52 African nations have met or surpassed the 15% target. African nations remain particularly reliant on external funding to support their ART programmes. It is estimated that Global Fund support is responsible for at least 40% of people on treatment in Southern and West/Central Africa, and 80% of people on treatment in East Africa.

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)            

In the past, the United States (US) has been a global leader in its response to HIV/AIDS and expanding access to ART through PEPFAR. Yet today, under the Obama administration, the US is turning away from PEPFAR in favour of the new Global Health Initiative (GHI). The GHI broadens the mandate of health interventions without expanding funding, resulting in less funding for HIV. The financial year 2010 and 2011 budget requests have included a flat-lining of AIDS funding, and decreased funding for treatment.

Expanding funding for other health interventions and priorities should be done but not at the expense of patients on and in need of ART.

It is also extremely distressing that the US has stated that PEPFAR will move away from providing ‘direct care’ in favour of ‘technical assistance.’ PEPFAR funded programmes could be forced to close their doors as the US moves away from funding direct care. Across the region PEPFAR programmes have already begun to slow or in some cases even cap enrolment onto ART.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GLOBAL FUND)

The move away from funding ART by the US is part of a larger global trend away from funding HIV in favour of other millennium development goals (MDGs) and health interventions (below we will address a number of these arguments). This trend is threatening the future of the Global Fund, the single largest multilateral funding mechanism for the health sector and HIV. The Global Fund has saved nearly 5 million lives since 2005, or 3,600 people a day. The Global Fund finances ART treatment for almost two thirds of people in the developing world. The Global Fund must raise $20 billion for its upcoming round to increase the scale-up of ART and build on efforts to meet universal access.


Expanded access to HIV treatment, prevention and care is necessary to meeting universal access but it is also necessary to meeting a number of other MDGs and improving health outcomes.

ART and prevention

Governments and funders have argued that funding for prevention should be prioritized over ART. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that ART is necessary as part of a package of prevention services to reduce HIV incidence. Studies have shown that ART reduces the risk of sexual transmission of HIV in sero-discordant partnerships when the HIV positive partner is adhering to treatment. (ART is effective as part of a package of prevention services and sero-discordant partners should continue to use condoms). ART is already used as a prophylaxis treatment to prevent HIV transmission to infants and rape survivors, yet access to these services remains limited.

ART and maternal health

HIV continues to be the leading cause of maternal and infant mortality in the African region. In at least 4 Southern African countries (South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia), more than 50% of deaths in children under 5 are attributed to HIV. Expanded access to HIV treatment, prevention and care is necessary to reducing maternal and infant mortality and meeting MDGs 4 and 5.

Initiating mothers onto ART treatment earlier will reduce maternal mortality. 84% of maternal deaths occur in women whose CD4 counts fall below 350 cell/mm3 before initiating treatment. Expanded access to ART is also necessary to reducing infant mortality. ART (HAART or PMTCT) during pregnancy and breastfeeding have been shown to reduce HIV transmission from mother to child to below 2%. Further, for HIV positive infants, immediate access to ART can reduce mortality by 75%.

ART and opportunistic infections and mortality

Evidence has shown that initiating ART at a CD4 count of 350 cells/mm3, rather than below 200 cells/mm3, reduces opportunistic diseases and death. (The START trial, which is currently enrolling patients, will provide more evidence on the optimum time to initiate treatment.) Further ART is necessary to the successful treatment of a number of diseases. In line with this, South Africa has updated its HIV treatment guidelines to provide earlier ART to all patients co-infected with HIV/TB.

ART and health system strengthening

Health system strengthening is necessary to effectively responding to an HIV epidemic and to improving health outcomes. Further, any reduction in funding for ART will increase opportunistic infections and AIDS related diseases - thereby increasing the burden on health systems. Experiences in a number of countries have shown that AIDS programmes have begun to strengthen health systems. In 2009, Médecins Sans Frontières reported that HIV/AIDS programmes have had a positive impact in terms of human resources for health, improved laboratory monitoring and pharmacy capacity and management, and more effective health management information and procurement systems.


South Africa, the epicenter of the epidemic, is turning the tide in its AIDS response. For the first time there is real political will to reduce new infections and to ensure that all people in need are able to access treatment. This is evident through expanding funding for HIV as well as the implementation of updated evidence based policies and treatment guidelines. It would be a tragedy if these gains were undermined by the international backlash away from funding HIV. 

With expanded funding, HIV programmes across the region are positioned to expand treatment and care, reduce new infections, build country health systems, support universal access targets and lay the path to meeting a number of other MDGs. Now is the time for governments and funders to leverage the successes of HIV programmes and partnerships built to strengthen their global health responses and expand access to ART to all people in need. 

African nations - meet your Abuja funding commitments for health.
President Obama - protect access to ART by expanding PEPFAR funding.
Make universal access happen – replenish the Global Fund.
Governments and funders - close the gap for universal access

3. Letter to President Barack Obama from TAC and partners

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500  
Fax: +001 202 456 2461
cc: Ambassador Donald H. Gips
Consulate General Cape Town
2 Reddam Ave, Westlake
Cape Town, 7945
Tel: +27 021 7027300
Fax: +27 021 702 7493
cc: Embassy of the USA
P.O.Box 9536
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: +27 012 431 4209
Fax: +27 012 342 6167

18 May 2010

Dear President Barack Obama,

RE: Expanded and sustainable funding is needed to meet universal access targets for HIV treatment, prevention and care.

Over the past decade the United States has expanded access to treatment for over 2.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS. The Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), established in 2003 under former President George W. Bush, built treatment and care programmes and strengthened health systems across the developing world. When country governments refused to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, PEPFAR secured the right to life for millions.

In 2005, the United States, as a G8 nation, committed to supporting universal access to HIV treatment, prevention and care. This commitment was later endorsed by country leaders at the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The global commitment to universal access is also reflected in the Millennium Development Goal 6 – which in addition to universal access, also commits countries to halting and reversing the spread of HIV by 2015.

In its seventh year, PEPFAR is strategically positioned to expand treatment and care, reduce new infections, build country health systems, support universal access targets and lay the path to meeting a number of other millennium development goals (MDGs).

Today over 4 million people are receiving antiretroviral treatment, but this only represents 42% of people that need it. Expanded and sustainable funding is needed to meet universal access targets. Despite PEPFAR’s unique positioning to strengthen the impact of global AIDS programmes and global health outcomes, the US is backing away from its commitments on HIV/AIDS.

In 2008 PEPFAR was set to expand with the passing of the Lantos-Hyde legislation. This landmark legislation approved $48 billion for PEPFAR over the next five years, with $39 billion earmarked for HIV. However, over the past year, it has emerged that HIV/AIDS programmes may never see this level of funding as across the region PEPFAR programmes are capping patient enrolment.

The approved $48 billion did not make it into the 2010 Congressional budget, and Congress increased PEPFAR funding by just 2.2% for 2011, the smallest in the programme’s history. Further, President Obama, during your electoral campaign you committed to expanding funding by $1 billion per year, yet you only asked for a $366 million increase for 2010. These unmet PEPFAR funding commitments will undermine efforts to meet universal access.

In the past year the number of HIV positive people that PEPFAR started onto treatment was the smallest it has been for four years. Programmes across the region are feeling the effects of contracting PEPFAR funding. In some countries where programmes are heavily PEPFAR funded, most-visibly Uganda, the flat-lined budget has resulted in patients who are eligible for treatment being turned away from facilities without receiving care.Further, the future of PEPFAR funded treatment programmes are threatened as the US aims to move away from providing ‘direct care’ to ‘technical assistance’. The move away from providing direct care has been promoted to develop country ownership and funding of ART programmes as developing countries often spend far too little on health and HIV.

The lack of funding by developing countries is a valid concern, echoed by civil society across the region. The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), the AIDS Rights Alliance of Southern Africa (ARASA) and partners launched a regional campaign in 2009, to pressure developing country governments to expand funding for HIV and health and to promote effective use of funds through civil society budget monitoring. We have already begun to see real gains in South Africa, the epicentre of the epidemic, in expanding funding to reach universal access targets.

In addition, while there is a great need for technical assistance to build health care systems in the developing world, this investment should not be made at the expense of the care that millions are receiving through PEPFAR funded programmes. The reality is that a premature move by PEPFAR away from providing direct care will have devastating health consequences in the region. Transferring patients from PEPFAR funded programmes, to government facilities without the drugs, capacity or resources to absorb the patients will result in treatment resistance, increased mortality and preventable new infections.

Why the move away from funding HIV/AIDS is based on flawed arguments with potentially profound and devastating consequences.

President Obama, in 2006 you visited Africa as an advocate of people living with HIV. In Kenya you took an HIV test to encourage others to get tested and lessen the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV. In South Africa you visited the Treatment Action Campaign’s Khayelitsha offices and spoke to HIV educators working in township schools. After visiting Africa you campaigned around the need to strengthen and expand PEPFAR stating: ‘We are all sick because of AIDS - and we are all tested by this crisis.

Today, under your administration, the United States’ policy priorities are shifting away from HIV/AIDS programmes. This shift in priorities has been promoted by arguments that funding for HIV has crowded out funding for other diseases and has expanded at the expense of other MDGs and health systems strengthening. These arguments are flawed as a move away from funding HIV/AIDS will worsen health outcomes, set us back in meeting a number of other MDGs and destabilize health systems.

Opponents of HIV funding argue that money should instead go to other MDGs and particularly infant and maternal health. Yet, HIV continues to be the leading cause of maternal and infant mortality in the African region – in at least 4 Southern African countries (South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia), more than 50% of deaths in children under 5 are attributed to HIV. It is estimated that every minute a child is born with HIV.

It is clear that expanded access to HIV treatment, prevention and care is necessary to reducing maternal and infant mortality and meeting MDGs 4 and 5. Initiating mothers onto ART treatment earlier will reduce maternal mortality - 84% of maternal deaths occur in women whose CD4 counts fall below 350 cell/mm3 before initiating treatment. Expanded access to ART is also necessary to reducing infant mortality. ART (HAART or PMTCT) during pregnancy and breastfeeding have been shown to reduce HIV transmission from mother to child to below 1%. Also, for HIV positive infants, immediate access to ART can reduce mortality by 75%.

Another argument against HIV funding is that the HIV programme is isolationist, neglects other diseases and is carried out at the expense of health system strengthening. Experiences on the ground have shown this claim to be unfounded. In many cases HIV programmes have supported strengthening services for a wide range of diseases. HIV care has often included: early screening for cervical cancer, enhancing utilisation of sexual and reproductive health services, testing for and treating TB and malaria (which along with AIDS are responsible for most of the world's infectious disease deaths) and promoting access to safe water supplies and better nutrition.

In 2009 Medicins Sans Frontieres reported that HIV/AIDS programmes have had a positive impact in terms of human resources for health, improved laboratory monitoring and pharmacy capacity and management, and more effective health management information and procurement systems.

Antiretroviral therapy is also essential to the successful treatment and prevention of many other diseases rife in sub-Saharan Africa. These medicines are a major contributor to reducing opportunistic infections and AIDS related diseases. Far too few patients are accessing treatment too late. The consequences of late treatment are more new infections, more opportunistic diseases, more AIDS-related disease and high rates of mortality.

In addition, we are seeing increasing evidence that ART is an effective method of prevention and that expanded access to ART, is necessary as part of a comprehensive package of prevention services. ART is already used in the region to prevent mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and for post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for rape survivors. However it is now recognized that ART is an important prevention method to reduce to risk of sexual transmission of HIV in sero-discordant partnerships – to the extent that experts based at the World Health Organization have suggested immediate treatment of all people living with HIV as a potential strategy for eliminating the epidemic.

Another fatal miscalculation in the arguments to reduce HIV funding is that they do not contextualize the devastating human, social, political and economic impacts of reducing access to treatment. HIV has disproportionately affected young adults in the developing world – the backbone of any economy. A reduction in treatment for HIV would be reflected through the economy, thereby impairing development. Further, vulnerable segments of the society, especially women, have the highest rates of HIV prevalence. Reducing access to health services would further marginalize these groups.

Now is the time to build on gains made in recent years and reach universal access across the region!

We call on the US to build on the strong partnerships it has nurtured across the developing world and leverage the lessons and successes of PEPFAR to strengthen its global health response in a rational, responsible and humane manner.

Today we are seeing the implementation and strengthening of evidence based policies for prevention and treatment in the region. We are positioned to eradicate mother to child transmission of HIV by 2015 – with sufficient funding and political will. Further there is increasing evidence that antiretroviral treatment and prevention cannot be separated and that treatment must be scaled up, as part of a comprehensive package of prevention services, to reduce new infections.

South Africa, the epicentre of the epidemic, has 17% of the global burden of HIV and 28% of the global population with dual HIV/TB. After years of dragging its feet and undermining HIV/AIDS efforts, the new South African government, under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, have put in place evidence based treatment policies as well as expanded funding for HIV. The government is also taking steps to strengthen the health system, overcome barriers and integrate the delivery of health services. In this new era of real political will to address the HIV epidemic, now would be the worst possible time for the US to back away from its HIV commitments.

Be a champion for the region! Be a champion for universal access!

During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, TAC, ARASA and partners will march for the right to access treatment for all people and the need to ensure that sufficient and sustainable resources are made available. We will march for you, President Obama, not to turn your back on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the lives supported by it. Further we will call on you to take advantage of the opportunities to end mother to child transmission, reach universal access and improve health outcomes across the region.

On 17 June 2010 we will be engaging in a peaceful demonstration in Johannesburg to demand expanded and sustainable resources for health. We ask that you come out and meet us, once again, to accept our march memorandum. We ask that you recommit to expanding funding for HIV/AIDS. Further, we call on the United States of America to take leadership by example to ensure that all developed nations uphold their commitments to universal access for HIV treatment, prevention and care.

Yours respectfully,
Vuyiseka Dubula
General Secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign
Endorsed by:
Community Media Trust
World AIDS Campaign
AIDS Rights Alliance of Southern Africa
Congress of Southern African Trade Unions
4. Letter to President Jacob Zuma from TAC and partners
President Jacob Zuma
Office of the President
Private Bag X1000
Pretoria 0001
Tel: +27 (0)12 323 8246
Fax: +27 (0) 12 323 8246
cc: Mr Mandisi Mpahlwa
Economic Adviser to the President

27 May 2010

Dear President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa  Zuma,

RE: South Africa must take leadership to push for universal access for HIV treatment, prevention and care at the 2010 G20 Summits

President Jacob Zuma, over the past few months, under your leadership, we have finally begun to see the political will needed to address the HIV epidemic in South Africa. We commend you for your leadership and for putting in place evidence based policies to effectively respond to the epidemic. We urge you now to show leadership to meet universal access targets for HIV prevention, treatment and care across the region.

Over the past few months, the policies that have been put in place by you and the Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, have put South Africa on the path to achieve universal access targets. South Africa must spearhead universal access through proper funding and implementation of the updated policies.

This year South Africa will participate in the 2010 G20 Summits to be held in Canada during June and South Korea during November. South Africa is the only African country on the G20 and therefore represents the needs of the entire region and other developing countries. We urge you, President Zuma, to use this global platform to advocate for universal access targets to be met across the region. Meeting universal access targets will require expanded and sustainable funding from developed and developing nations.

In July 2005, the G8 made a commitment to support universal access to by 2010. This created the momentum that led to a global commitment to universal access by 2010, as endorsed by country leaders at the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly. A key target was that 80% of people who need HIV prevention, treatment and care must have access to these services. The global commitment to universal access is also reflected in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – particularly, MDGs 4,5 and 6 – which in addition to universal access, also commits countries to the targets of halting and reversing the spread of HIV, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.

Today universal access remains a distant target. About 4 million people globally are receiving antiretroviral treatment – however, this represents only 42% of the people who need it.

It is particularly concerning that, despite how far we are from meeting our targets for universal access, funders have already begun to backtrack on their commitments. Without expanded funding, programmes across Africa will be unable to continue to initiate new patients onto treatment. Further, the emphasis of funders away from supporting ‘direct care’ to providing ‘technical assistance’ will jeopardise future access to treatment for many patients receiving treatment from programmes supported by international funding.

We call on you to take leadership at the G20 Summits to protect millions of lives across the region. To ensure the sustainability of current treatment programmes and to ensure future access to treatment for new patients the following steps need to be taken:

1.       Developed nations must recommit to supporting universal access targets. Further, developed nations must ensure that sufficient and sustainable resources are made available to meet these targets. Cuts in international funding for HIV must be reversed.

2.       African governments need to continue to scale-up funding to improve health outcomes, strengthen healthcare systems and meet universal access targets.

1.       Cuts in international funding for HIV must be reversed. Developed nations must recommit to supporting universal access targets. Further, developed nations must ensure that sufficient and sustainable resources are made available to meet these targets.

a) Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (Global Fund)

The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria acts as the single largest multilateral funding mechanism for the health sector. The Global Fund has saved nearly 5 million lives since 2005, or 3,600 people a day. It accounts for two-thirds of international funding for TB treatment, 70% of international funding for malaria treatment and prevention, and pays for two-thirds of those receiving ART.

Despite commitments from developed nations to support universal access, the Global Fund has been chronically underfunded. While the Global Fund originally aimed to generate $10 billion from the G8 annually by 2008 only $3 billion was yearly given by these countries. Over the past year there have been a number of worrying signals and statements indicating that the Global Fund will be unable to secure sufficient funding for upcoming rounds.

President Zuma, we call on you to champion the replenishment of the Global Fund at the G20 Summits. Sustainable and expanding funding for the Global Fund is necessary to meeting universal access targets.

b) President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

It is estimated that, from 2003-2009, PEPFAR treatment support saved over 3 million adult lives. PEPFAR programmes were set to expand in 2008 when the United States Congress reauthorized the programme for five more years at a cost of $48 billion. However it has now become clear that developing countries may never see this level of funding.

$48 billion did not make it into the 2010 Congressional budget, and Congress increased PEPFAR funding by just 2.2% for 2011, the smallest in the programme’s history. Further, while President Barack Obama’s electoral campaign platform pledged to give $1 billion a year, he asked for only a $366 million increase for 2010.In the last year, the number of HIV-positive people that PEPFAR started on treatment was the smallest it has been for four years, even while demand increases as patients live longer and the disease continues to spread unabated.

In countries where ART programmes are heavily PEPFAR funded, most visibly Uganda, the flat-lined budget has resulted in patients being turned away from facilities without receiving care. Civil society and doctors in Uganda have reported that they have already been instructed to stop enrolling new patients onto PEPFAR funded ART programmes.

In the past, the United States has championed expanding access to treatment and today millions of patients across the region rely on PEPFAR funded programmes for ART. A move away from funding lifelong treatment programmes by PEPFAR would be unconscionable. Further, the need for treatment has not been met, and PEPFAR’s unmet funding commitments are undermining efforts to meet universal access.

South Africa must reinforce the continued need for the United States to be a leader in expanding access to prevention, treatment and care. Especially as the US’s move away from funding HIV is based on flawed arguments (see below: Why the arguments of the opponents of HIV funding are flawed).

c) Financial Transactions Tax

The Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) is a proposed financing mechanism to raise money for health and other social needs. South Africa should champion the mechanism at G20 Summits to close the gap between service provision and need.

The FTT would be a modest levy placed on all financial transactions to raise revenue to help finance the fight against AIDS, maternal mortality, extreme poverty, climate change and other development challenges. South Africa and the region continue to face a wide range of developmental needs as well as mounting anger and dissatisfaction about poor service delivery and therefore we must support this initiative for health financing. The FTT would be an important source of funding to address a number of these needs.

2.       African governments need to continue to scale-up funding to improve health outcomes, strengthen health care systems and meet universal access targets.

Developed countries have argued that they are backing away from HIV funding to promote country ownership of ART programmes. Concern about under spending on health by developing countries is valid. Developing countries are not meeting their financing commitments for health. Most notably, African heads of state committed, in the Abuja declaration of 2001, to:

“placing the fight against HIV/AIDS at the forefront and as the highest priority issue in our respective national development plans for the first quarter of the 21st century.”

\Related to this commitment was a pledge to “set a target of allocating at least 15% of our annual budget to the improvement of the health sector”. However, no clear roadmap towards achieving this target was set at either the regional or national levels.

Almost ten years later, progress towards the Abuja target remains extremely slow. East Africa has recorded the greatest increase in regional average spending on health, going from 7.9% in 2001 to 9.4% in 2010. Southern Africa has increased only marginally from 10 – 10.3%, while West/Central Africa has recorded almost no increase in regional average spending on health. Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, only six countries have achieved or surpassed the Abuja target.

African government can no longer rely solely on international funders to support their treatment programmes. Governments must take steps to expand funding for health and HIV as well as set out clear plans to meet the Abuja targets.

President Zuma, we call on you to champion meeting the Abuja targets across the region by expanding funding for health. We call on you take a firm stand against recent rhetoric by African Finance Ministers dismissing their development declarations.

Why the arguments of opponents of HIV funding are flawed

Developed countries, and particularly the United States, have been increasingly shifting away from funding HIV in favour of other health interventions and millennium development goals. A number of the arguments against funding HIV are flawed and below we will respond to some of the key arguments raised by developed countries as justification for reducing HIV funding

Opponents of HIV funding have argued that HIV funding is isolationist and has crowded out funding for other health interventions and millennium development goals (MDGs). A global health priority that is being championed as a critical area for focus, over HIV (MDG 6), is that of maternal and child mortality (MDGs 4 and 5). However, a wealth of scientific evidence has shown this thinking to be deeply flawed. HIV continues to be a leading cause of maternal and child mortality in the African region – in at least 4 Southern African countries (South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia), more than 50% of deaths in children under 5 are attributed to HIV.

It is clear that expanded access to HIV treatment, prevention and care is necessary to reducing maternal and infant mortality and meeting MDGs 4 and 5. Initiating mothers onto ART treatment earlier will reduce maternal mortality. 84% of maternal deaths occur in women whose CD4 counts fall below 350 cell/mm3 before initiating treatment. Expanded access to ART is also necessary to reducing infant mortality. ART (HAART or PMTCT) during pregnancy and breastfeeding have been shown to reduce HIV transmission from mother to child to below 1%. Further, for HIV positive infants, immediate access to ART can reduce mortality by 75%.

Opponents of HIV funding argue further that HIV programmes are isolationist, neglect other diseases and are carried out at the expense of health system strengthening. Experiences on the ground have shown this claim to be unfounded. In many cases HIV programmes have supported strengthening services for a wide range of diseases. HIV care has often included: early screening for cervical cancer, enhancing utilisation of sexual and reproductive health services, testing for and treating TB and malaria (which along with AIDS are responsible for most of the world's infectious disease deaths) and promoting access to safe water supplies and better nutrition.

In addition, ART is essential to the successful treatment and prevention of many other diseases rife in sub-Saharan Africa. These medicines are a major contributor to reducing opportunistic infections and AIDS related diseases.

President Zuma, our South African government has recognized that improving a number of health outcomes can only be done through integrated health services and health systems strengthening. South Africa is now taking steps to integrate ART delivery with other needs including sexual health, antenatal care and treatment for tuberculosis as well as strengthening health systems.

In high prevalence countries, responding effectively to HIV and other health needs cannot be done without health systems strengthening and integration of health services. In many countries HIV programmes have laid the groundwork to do just this. Undermining HIV programmes will worsen health outcomes and weaken health systems. Instead, strengthening health systems and responding to a range of health needs should be done in partnership with, not at the expense of, HIV programmes. HIV is not over funded – health is underfunded.

Opponents of HIV treatment have further argued that HIV treatment receives too much attention, which undercuts investment in prevention. There is increasing evidence that ART is necessary as part of a comprehensive package of prevention services including: expanded access to male and female condoms; reproductive health and family planning services; medical male circumcision; PEP; PMTCT and safe infant feeding methods.

ART is already widely used for prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for rape victims. Evidence is now showing that HIV positive patients adhering to ART have a reduced risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners – to the extent that experts based at the World Health Organisation have suggested immediate treatment of all people living with HIV as a potential strategy for eliminating the epidemic.

A more recent study, the Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study, which followed 3,408 couples in 7 African countries, confirmed that ART reduces the probability of transmission of HIV. The study found that: ‘ART use is associated with substantially lower risk for HIV transmission among heterosexual, African, HIV serodiscordant couples, where the HIV-infected partner did not meet national criteria for ART initiation at enrollment.

Lack of access to treatment is indirectly responsible for many new infections and for hindering other goals of the HIV response. As such, investing in ART now could lead to tremendous cost savings down the line – not only for HIV transmissions, but also for other morbidities such as tuberculosis that are associated with untreated HIV. While prevention undoubtedly needs more attention and resources, this must go hand in hand with treatment – not instead of treatment.

Moving forward – recommitting to universal access

We have demonstrated that the trend away from funding HIV is based on flawed arguments. The fatal miscalculation in the arguments to reduce HIV funding is that they do not contextualize the devastating human, social, political and economic impacts of reducing access to treatment. HIV has disproportionately affected young adults in the developing world – the backbone of any economy. A reduction in treatment for HIV would be reflected through the economy impairing development. Further, vulnerable segments of the society, especially women, have the highest rates of HIV prevalence. Reducing access to health services would further marginalize these groups.

President Zuma, during the G20 Summits this year you will represent the health and social needs of the region. It is clear that HIV remains an emergency in our societies across the region. However a strong framework has been built to scale-up and expand access to prevention, treatment and care and, with expanded and sustainable funding, universal access can become a reality.

There is a need for strong leadership to rally support for expanded and sustainable funding to achieve universal access targets. We call on you, President Zuma, to take leadership to rally this support. At the 2010 G20 Summits, G20 governments must recommit to ensuring that these targets are met.


Yours respectfully,
Vuyiseka Dubula
General Secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign
Endorsed by:
Community Media Trust
World AIDS Campaign
AIDS Rights Alliance of Southern Africa
Congress of Southern African Trade Unions
5. Letter to United States Vice President Joe Biden
Vice President Joe Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20501
United States of America
FAX: 202 456 2461
cc: Ambassador Donald H. Gips
Consulate General Cape Town
2 Reddam Ave, Westlake
Cape Town, 7945
Tel: +27 021 7027300
Fax: +27 021 702 7493               
cc: Embassy of the USA
P.O.Box 9536
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: +27 012 431 4209
Fax: +27 012 342 6167

28 May 2010

Dear Vice President Biden,

RE: Request for meeting to discuss the future of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and achieving universal access targets for HIV treatment, prevention and care.

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and partners would like to request to meet with you to discuss the future of HIV/AIDS funding and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) during your visit to South Africa in June 2010.

PEPFAR, established in 2003 under former President George W. Bush, has expanded access to antiretroviral treatment across the developing world. Over the past decade the United States has expanded access to treatment for over 2.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS. During a time when many governments refused to acknowledge the crisis of HIV/AIDS, PEPFAR secured the right to life for millions by funding access to treatment.

In its seventh year, PEPFAR is strategically positioned to expand treatment and care, reduce new HIV infections, build country health systems, support universal access targets and lay the path to meeting a number of other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In Africa, expanding access to antiretroviral treatment is necessary to achieving MDGs 4,5 and 6 – to reduce child mortality, to improve maternal health and to halt and reverse the spread of HIV.

Yet, despite PEPFAR’s unique positioning to strengthen the impact of global AIDS programmes and global health outcomes, the US is backing away from its commitments on HIV/AIDS. The US is turning away from PEPFAR in favour of the new Global Health Initiative (GHI). The GHI broadens the mandate of health interventions without expanding funding, which will result in less funding for HIV. The financial year 2010 and 2011 budget requests have included a flat-lining of HIV/AIDS funding, and decreased funding for anti-retroviral treatment.

We are deeply concerned that: the US has flat-lined funding for HIV and that funding for antiretroviral treatment is decreasing, and,

PEPFAR is moving away from providing ‘direct care’ in favour of ‘technical assistance’.

The flat-lined budgets have already resulted in the capping of patient enrolment onto ART and, in some cases, patients are already being turned away from facilities without receiving care. Targets to meet universal access to HIV treatment, prevention and care, endorsed by the USA, cannot be met without expanded funding for HIV.

Also, while there is a great need for technical assistance to build health care systems in the developing world, this investment should not be made at the expense of the care that millions are receiving through PEFAR funded programmes.

In his previous visit to South Africa, President Barack Obama, visited TAC’s Khayletisha office and spoke to HIV educators working in the township’s schools. At this point he expressed support for expanding access to HIV treatment, prevention and care. The need to expand access to these services remains an emergency in Africa - less than half of people in need are able to access treatment.

On May 19th we wrote to President Obama outlining these concerns. We hope to address these issues with you directly during your visit to South Africa. We will also be organising a mass march to your Consulate in Johannesburg on June 17th in order to demonstrate to you and the world the growing concerns and fears around this issue.

We look forward to your response and to introducing you to TAC and our partners.

Yours sincerely,
Vuyiseka Dubula
General Secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign 
Endorsed by:
SECTION27, incorporating the AIDS Law Project
AIDS Rights Alliance of Southern Africa (ARASA)
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
Community Media Trust (CMT)
World AIDS Campaign
AIDS Consortium
Soul City
Children’s Rights Center
Equal Education



Share this

A Perscription for Life

An action guide from the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance encourages young people to take the lead in calling for improvements in testing and treatment for infants and children living with HIV. "Prescription for Life" provides information and resources for schools, families, faith groups and communities to empower young people to write letters to pharmaceutical companies and governments, and promote the issue through the media.

The action guide is available in English, French and Spanish. Use it in church and community settings, and promote it widely through your networks. Together, we can make a difference and give a future to millions of children.

It is estimated that 2.1 million children, aged under 15, are living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Yet children remain largely forgotten in global and national efforts to address HIV and AIDS. This is especially the case for children's access to diagnostic testing for HIV and medicines to treat HIV, known as antiretrovirals (ARVs).

Currently, only 15 percent of children in need of HIV treatment have access to it. The lack of testing and treatment is particularly severe in Sub-Saharan Africa.

When children living with HIV do not get appropriate treatment, they suffer and die faster than adults living with the virus. Despite evidence that HIV treatment is very successful in children, more than 900 children die of AIDS-related illnesses every day.

Letters generated from this year-long action will be used to keep governments accountable to commitments made in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and also used in focused advocacy with pharmaceutical companies by EAA participants. An exhibit of the letters will be prepared for the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November 2009.

Download or order free print copies of the guide. The resource is available in English, French and Spanish.
You can order copies of the resource in South Africa from Lyn
Share this

Equal Treatment

Equal Treatment or just ET, is TAC's high-quality magazine dedicated to covering health and HIV matters. It is produced five times a year and currently translated into isiXhosa, isiZulu and Setsonga. To receive a hard copy of ET, Click Here and we can send you a copy at no charge. We do request though that if you are from a medical institution, professional organization or from overseas, that you please make a donation to the TAC in exchange for recieving the magazine. Donations can be made here. If you are interested in ordering large quantities of the magazine for your workplace or union etc, Click Here.

Share this

Intellectual Property and Access to Health Technologies. 2016

Published by UNAIDS


This document provides a review of key issues related to intellectual property policies and their potential impact on access to HIV and other medicines. It is intended as an introduction to the issues for civil society engaged in the response to HIV and other health concerns.

Share this

Advocacy Resources - Gender Based Violence

 Browse the selection of resources:

Share this

Women living with HIV speak out against violence. 26/11/2014

Published at UNAIDS
26 November 2014
PDFsize 326KB - download here

To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, UNAIDS published Women living with HIV speak out against violence, a collection of powerful essays written by women living with and affected by HIV.

Intimate partner violence affects one in three women globally and has been shown to increase the risk of acquiring HIV, while research shows that preventing such violence can reduce HIV incidence by 12%. In some settings, young women who have experienced intimate partner violence are 50% more likely to acquire HIV than women who have not. As reported in the publication, women living with HIV also face institutional violence, including forced sterilization and forced abortion as well as denial of health services.

Sabine Böhlke-Möller, Ambassador of Namibia to the United Nations Office in Geneva, and Luiz Loures, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, jointly launched the publication. Depicting women’s experiences of violence and proposing action to end the AIDS epidemic and violence against women, the publication also highlights the imperative of a united and multisectoral response to eliminating violence against women and ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. 


“When you commit violence against a woman, you commit violence against everyone.”
Luiz Loures, Deputy Executive Director, UNAIDS

Download here


Share this

The Easy Way Men Can Help End Violence Against Women. 23/9/2013

Huffington Post

Tweeting could play a key role in putting an end to violence against women, according to the executive head of UN women.

While addressing the crowd on Sunday at the Mashable Social Good Summit, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the head of UN Women, urged advocates to use the power of social media to expand the conversation around protecting and empowering women.

“I would like all those men and boys…to stand up against violence against women [by] “tweeting about it, hosting conversations, fighting against those sites that abuse women,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the former deputy president of South Africa, said.

According to Mlambo-Ngcuka, technology provides "open-access education," which will give women more of an opportunity to become informed about how to protect themselves and find necessary resources.

According to a 2003 UNIFEM report, one in three women will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused.

Established three years ago, UN Women has made stopping violence against women and girls a top priority. Mlambo-Ngcuka has impressed the importance of technology and men taking on a more active role in finally putting an end to such devastating figures.

"You need men –- you just cannot crack these issues without winning over men," Mlambo-Ngcuka said in a recent interview with the Associated Press. "We need to win the priests, the rabbis, the traditional chiefs."

Share this

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991.  Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.

This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:

• raising awareness at the local, national, regional and international levels
• strengthening local work
• linking local and global work
• providing a forum for dialogue and strategy-sharing
• pressuring governments to implement commitments made in national and international legal instruments
• demonstrating the solidarity of activists around the world

Share this

16 Days of Activism: Objectification of Women, Alcohol Use and Domestic Violence in South Africa. 2/12/11

This CAI paper presents an analysis of the results of a study conducted by the South African Department of Social Development in 2008.

Consultancy Africa Intelligence

By Dr. M Weideman
2 December 2011

In support of the South African ‘16 Days of activism for no violence against women and children’ campaign, which started running on 25 November 2011 and ends on 10 December 2011, this CAI paper presents an analysis of the results of a study conducted by the South African Department of Social Development in 2008. The study examined the nature and prevalence of domestic violence in South Africa. It is argued that objectification of women and alcohol use are key contributing factors to the prevalence of domestic violence, and that interventions focussing on these factors will have the largest measurable impact on reducing violence. Some recommendations are made.


In 2008, the Department of Social Development appointed Development Research Africa and the CSIR Defence, Peace, Safety and Security Unit to conduct a study on the nature and prevalence of domestic violence in South Africa. The rationale for conducting the research stemmed from the desire to find solutions to two concerns facing the Department of Social Development. First, as various studies and statistics have shown, domestic violence is both prevalent and extreme in South Africa; and second, the apparent failure of interventions to decrease the prevalence and extremity of domestic violence. This paper is the author’s interpretation and analysis of the data generated.(2)

Domestic violence in South Africa (3)

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, women and children are often in greatest danger in the place where they should be safest: within their families. For many, ‘home’ is where they face a regime of terror and violence at the hands of somebody close to them – somebody they should be able to trust.(4) Accurate statistics and/or datasets on the prevalence of domestic violence in South Africa are not available as a result of the methodological challenges involved in data gathering among those who still find themselves in dangerous situations. Knowledge about the frequency and extent of domestic violence in South Africa is thus largely based on police statistics, victim surveys and a series of estimates by NGOs working with survivors.

It is estimated that one in every four women is assaulted by an intimate partner every week,(5) that one adult woman out of every six is assaulted by her partner, and that in at least 46% of these cases, the men involved also abuse the woman’s children. Further, on average, a woman is raped in South Africa every minute, totalling approximately 386,000 women each year.(6)

In a LoveLive study, 39% of young women in South Africa between the ages 12-17 state they have been forced to have sex.(7) In the same study, 33% said that they were afraid of saying “no” to sex, while 55% agreed with the statement “there are times I do not want to have sex but I do because my boyfriend insists on having sex.”(8) The study does not record how many of these forced sex experiences were reported to the police.

The available data also indicates that incidents of domestic violence, in which especially women are victims, are increasing. A recent survey conducted in Gauteng found that half the women in Gauteng (51.3%) have experienced abuse/violence, and 75.5% of men admitted to perpetrating abuse/violence against women.(9) The same study found that one in four women had experienced sexual violence, and 37.4% of men disclosed perpetrating sexual violence.(10)

The domination of, and violence directed at women, are arguably a result of the prevalence of patriarchal family relationships in South Africa.(11) Patriarchal stereotypes and gender roles often result in the abuse of women being normalised or legitimised within domestic relationships.(12) This has been rooted in traditions that encourage ideas of men’s rights to ownership of, and entitlement to power over women. Violence against women is used as a way of securing and maintaining the relations of male dominance and female subordination that are central to the patriarchal social order.(13)

This paper argues that domestic violence in South Africa is exacerbated by the objectification of women (a variant of the belief in male ownership of women’s bodies) through the mainstreaming of advertising for pornography and the widespread use/abuse of alcohol and drugs.


Although quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used during the research process, this article is based exclusively on the findings generated by the quantitative survey conducted by Development Research Africa. The survey component of the research was designed utilising the definitions of the types of domestic violence in the Domestic Violence Act.

The survey questionnaire was administered to approximately 1000 victims/survivors of domestic violence (a minimum of 150 respondents per province, in six provinces). The six provinces were randomly selected and included the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, Limpopo and the North West Province.

In order to ensure the safety of respondents, Development Research Africa cooperated with various organisations assisting and working with victims/survivors of domestic violence. These organisations facilitated safe access to victims/survivors of domestic violence who were willing to talk about their experiences, as well as trained counsellors, social workers and psychologists when required.

Key findings (14)

The key findings summarised below establish a clear link between alcohol abuse, objectification of women and domestic violence against women and children.

Survivors’ understanding of domestic violence

The majority (75%) of respondents felt that being a victim/survivor of domestic violence should not be a source of shame. Most (92%) understood that domestic violence is a crime, but these findings are skewed by the fact that in most cases the survivors interviewed had already accessed places of safety. Perhaps a better indicator of the societal understanding of domestic violence and the rights of women (or rather, lack thereof) is the finding that only a few respondents described forced sex within a romantic relationship, or forced sex with someone known to the survivor, as rape.

“When I refused to have sex with him [my partner] he stabbed me.”
“He kicked me in front of my children and forced me to have sex with him.”
“I was beaten in front of his family and my children. When he was finished, he forced me to have sex with him.”

Prevalence of domestic violence according to survivors
When asked how prevalent domestic violence was in their respective communities, 62% of respondents said that is very common or common. More disturbingly, only 24% of respondents did not have friends in abusive relationships at the time of the interviews.

Profile of domestic violence in South Africa
Survivor accounts of their experiences indicate the complexity and magnitude of abuse. Of the respondents surveyed, 76% reported being victims of physical abuse, 90% of emotional abuse, 48% of economic abuse and 28% of sexual abuse. The overlapping categories above suggest that the respondents tended to experience more than one (and often all) type(s) of abuse. Given an assumed reluctance to speak about sexual abuse, the lack of understanding of what constitutes sexual abuse and the descriptions of incidents by respondents during the interview process, one can infer that the extent of sexual abuse is much higher than reported.

Respondents were also asked to describe their worst abusive experience. The majority of incidents cited were examples of physical or sexual abuse. Those who mentioned incidents of emotional/verbal abuse emphasised humiliation and incidents in which their children were involved. Most of the incidents reported seem to have been prompted by a combination of alcohol/drug use, jealousy and perpetrator notions of sexual ownership of female bodies.

“My phone rang when he was there. He would not believe me that it was a friend who called. He threw boiling water in my face.”
“He asked me to follow him to the shebeen. When we arrived there he asked if anyone wanted a woman for sex. When I refused he beat me.”
“He just accused me of sleeping with another man and then he beat me and then he forced me to have sex.”
“He pimps me out. He made me a sex worker. He beats me if I don’t bring home enough money.”
“He came to my office. He walked in and locked the door behind him. He started punching me and accusing me of having an affair.”
“I was cleaning the house when he said I must go to the bedroom for sex. I asked him to wait. He threw boiling cooking oil at me.”
“When I refused to have sex with him he stabbed me.”

Examples of physical abuse include accounts of being choked, strangled, suffocated, beaten – with bare fists, rods, bricks, guns, furniture, rocks – spat at, bitten, kicked, defecated or urinated on, burnt, locked up and starved, tied up, stabbed and prevented from getting medical attention.

“Afterwards, I had to pick my teeth up from the floor.”
“He choked me. Then he poured paraffin over me and threatened to burn me alive. He forced me to eat dog food while he watched.”
“He would bang my head against the floor, kick me, slap me and choke me.”
“He beat me and tried to strangle me. I was gasping for breath. I thought I was going to die.”
“He kicked me when I was pregnant. Then I lost my baby.”
“I was frying fish on Good Friday. He came in and choked me. Then he threw me on the bed and stabbed me with a fork.”

The typical victim/survivor of domestic violence in South Africa is abused every day and remains in the abusive relationship for several years. Approximately 77% remained in abusive relationships for more than a year, 23% for two to five years, 14% for five to ten years, and 12% for more than ten years.

The research echoes findings of previous studies and found that 83% of the abusive incidents take place at the home of the victim/survivor (63% in the house and 19% in the yard/garden). The next most likely place for abuse to occur is at the homes of friends or family, or at work.

In approximately half of the abusive incidents, perpetrators used a weapon. Of these, 10% were guns, and 51% were knifes. Other often used weapons included canes, boiling water, pangas and axes.

“Yesterday he held a panga. He told me he would not hesitate to kill me.”
“When I was pregnant he would threaten me with a knife.”
“The worst day was when the used a blade to cut me, he used a hammer to hit my knees, and then he threw me and the children out in the night.”
“The worst day was when he used an axe. I was hit in the head. I had to go to hospital.”
“The worst day was when he stabbed me in my neck and locked me up. I almost bled to death.”
“He hit me with the barrel of his firearm. When I ran away he fired a shot at me, but fortunately he missed me.”
“He poured petrol over me and burnt me.”
“He threw boiling water in my face. I was in hospital for three weeks.”

Violence and abusive behaviour is often directed at the children of the survivor/victim as a means to exert control over her. Abusers sometimes harmed children in an effort to terrorise their mothers. Experiences reported by respondents included incidents of children being raped in front of their mothers.

“He beat me using stones, while his friends raped my 6-year old.”
“He came home drunk and told me to go and wake up my baby. He beat us.”
“He came home drunk and the started beating me and the children.”
“The worst was the night he started abusing me and my children, and then he grabbed the panga and almost killed me.”
“The worst was when he said that he would kill my children. Then he pointed a gun at us.”

Generally, the abuse is witnessed by others, and in almost half the reported cases, other persons were present while the abusive incidents were taking place. The majority of the witnesses to domestic violence were in the position to assist the victims (i.e. were adults), but did not do so. More specifically, the witnesses of the abuse were children (38%), adult family members (28%), adult friends (19%), work colleagues (2%), neighbours (2%) and adult strangers (10%). Only 17% of respondents said that their abuse has not been witnessed by other persons.

“The worst incident for me was when he beat me in front of his friends. He kicked me, pulled by my hair, used bricks to beat me, strangled me and then shoved me out to lie in the rain.”
“He hit me in front of his friends and their partners, calling me names and saying that I am never satisfied with one man. He just kept hitting me.”
“The worst for me was at my friend’s party. He dragged me out of the party and started to hit and kick me until I started bleeding from my vagina.”
“The worst is when he fights with me in front of other people and tears my clothes off.”
“The worst is when he beats me in front of his friends.”
“He came home drunk and started biting me in front of his mother and the children.”
The worst was when he threatened to kill me with a spade in front of my children and my neighbours. He was very drunk. I felt hopeless and helpless.”
“We were arguing and then he took my two children hostage. He threatened to kill me. He pulled the trigger. The bullet hit me in the left thigh.”

The above also raises concerns about the impact of domestic abuse on the children who are witnessing these events on a regular basis. It was found, for example, that 88% of the victims/survivors of domestic violence interviewed had children living with them.  

“He strangled me and forced me to say I am having an affair, in front of the children. I felt so humiliated because I wet myself.”

Further, in approximately 14% of the cases the respondent was abused by more than one person at a time. In 72% of these cases, the other abuser was a friend or family member of the primary abuser. In 64% of these cases, the primary abuser orchestrated the additional abuse.

Profile of the victims and survivors of domestic violence
The overwhelming majority of adult victims are women (other categories of adults include the elderly and a small proportion of men). The victims and survivors are not more likely to belong to any particular racial, cultural or language groups. Nevertheless, the majority of the respondents were economically vulnerable (unemployed and without income). Slightly less than half of the respondents were actually economically dependent on the perpetrators – 44% said that they were financially dependent on the perpetrator, while 41% said that they were dependent on the perpetrator for accommodation.

In the vast majority of cases the victims/survivors were either married (53%) or had intimate relationships with (22%) the perpetrator/abuser. A further 21% of perpetrators were family members of the victims/survivors.

Consequences of domestic violence for the victims and survivors
The average respondent participating in the research has required medical attention at least twice as a result of physical violence. Further, 35% reported that they had permanent injuries as a result of physical abuse. Approximately 10% (and one can assume that this matter is under-reported) said that they had contracted HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, and a further 12% reported a negative impact on their reproductive health – infertility, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, miscarriages – as a result of physical and sexual violence.

The respondents participating in this research were severely traumatised (even though the majority of these women had already received some assistance/counselling). Some of the commonly reported symptoms of trauma included eating disorders, sleeping disorders, chronic headaches (or other aches and pains), overwhelming feelings of anger, severe anxiety and fear, and depression.

Profile of the perpetrators of domestic violence
The majority of perpetrators were male (84%) and were living with the victims at the time of the abuse (67%). There is an important association between the propensity to domestic violence and drug and alcohol use – 76% of perpetrators regularly “use” alcohol and other drugs, while approximately half were considered to have serious substance abuse problems. The research revealed that perpetrators tend to also behave violently towards other people. In 30% of the reported cases, victims were aware of someone else who had been abused by the perpetrators in the same way, which suggests that they are repeat offenders.

Perpetrators who have access to pornography, are likely to use it, or to pay for sex. The majority of perpetrators (84%) regularly use offensive and abusive language. Perpetrators also tend to be very jealous and controlling (71%). Perpetrators tend to have patriarchal and sexist attitudes and to dehumanise and objectify women. They are also unlikely to show remorse for their actions.

Key identified causes/triggers for domestic violence

The following causes/triggers for domestic violence are presented in order of frequency. Triggers are defined as events that precede violent incidents and differ from underlying causes (i.e. underlying long-term contributing factors such as abuse in childhood, sexist attitudes in society).

Alcohol and drug use
Victims and perpetrators reported that abuse was most likely to take place when perpetrators were using alcohol or drugs. Further, the majority of respondents said that they fear the abusers most when the abusers use alcohol. Victims were also afraid at, or after, “social events” where perpetrators would use drugs or alcohol, and then tended to become controlling and jealous.

Analysis of the “worst case scenarios” also indicated that the perpetrators were more likely to be violent when they had access to money (e.g. “month end”) or  when the victim had access to money (e.g. “when he wants to take  my money”). This money would be used by perpetrators to purchase alcohol, drugs or sex – activities that are mostly followed by violence or other forms of abuse.

The author of this paper calculated (based on the interviews conducted) that drugs/alcohol use was a trigger for domestic violence in at least 64% of the worst incidences reported, and in at least 73% of overall incidences reported. When asked whether the abuser tended to use alcohol, or to be drunk before or during incidents of abuse, approximately 73% said yes. A further 30% said that they knew that the perpetrator was using drugs at the time of the worst incident (drug-use is likely to be under-reported).

Other, more recent, research supports the arguments above. The Gender Links study on gender-based violence in Gauteng province, cited earlier, found that men's alcohol consumption was closely associated with perpetration of all forms of violence, including rape. It also found that 4.2% of women had been raped while drunk or drugged and that 14.2% of men surveyed had forced a woman to have sex when she was too drunk or drugged to refuse.(15)

Objectification and control
Accounts of the worst incidences of domestic violence experienced by respondents indicated that most incidents were preceded by the perpetrators 1) either assuming infidelity on the part of the victim/survivor, or expressing extreme jealousy, 2) perpetrators expressing frustration at their inability to control the movement or behaviour of their victims, 3) when victims decline or refuse to have sex with the perpetrators. Perpetrators appear to operate from the assumption that they ‘own’ women and accordingly treat women like objects. Perpetrators assume that women do not have a right to decline sex (i.e. do not have control over their own bodies). Such attitudes and behaviours are exacerbated when alcohol and drugs are involved.

Financial stress
Financial stress, unemployment and poverty were contributing factors to domestic violence in 21% of the incidences reported.

The way forward

South Africa’s commitment to eradicating domestic violence has been illustrated by the introduction of legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) which aims to provide speedy, effective and accessible legal relief to a very wide range of complainants.(16) This commitment and its legislative framework, even if implemented effectively, however, is not sufficient to reduce the prevalence of violence and other abuse, because it does not address key issues such as the objectification of women and prevalent drug and alcohol use. 

Objectification of the female is so prevalent in South African society that the victims/survivors of violence interviewed in the research had internalised the dehumanising consequences of objectification to the extent that they did not even recognise when they were raped. They had been conditioned – through experienced and witnessed abuse, and a society that continues to use the female form as a source of entertainment, a means to selling products, and an item for sale in itself - to give ownership of their lives and bodies over to male partners/friends and family members.

What is required is the promulgation of further appropriate legislation and interventions based on a complex and factual understanding of the prevalence and nature of the phenomenon, as well as the widespread attitudes and beliefs that arguably facilitate violent behaviour towards women. 

Addressing alcohol abuse and the effect thereof on families: The biggest causal factor relating to violent incidents identified in the survey research was alcohol and drug use. Resources and interventions aimed at treating the disease of alcoholism and the effect it has on families will have the biggest measurable effect on reducing violence and abusive behaviour. The many non-governmental organisations and civil society recovery groups working in these areas could be included in state-driven initiatives without incurring significant costs.

Introducing initiatives and legislation to reduce the objectification of women: Current mainstreaming of ideas and activities that portray and use women as sexual objects need to be addressed and at the very least, the advertising regulated. Current social and cultural condoning of objectification will only contribute to increased violence against women. The current prevalence of these sexist attitudes feed into ideas of sexual ownership and the general oppression of women. It is expressed in the high levels of domestic violence, the extremely high number of rapes, and the prevalence of HIV and AIDS amongst young married women.

Education and information dissemination: Widespread, multi-level and multi-stakeholder education and information dissemination activities are necessary. The content of such initiatives should focus on; what constitutes domestic violence, which behaviours are illegal, what help and resources are available, developing respect for women among perpetrators and victims, and developing self-esteem among women. Strategies and initiatives embarked upon will differ depending on the target audience. These include:

- Workshops and training sessions hosted by the Department of Social Development for subject experts and domestic violence practitioners.

The research showed that both the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence watch television, but are much less likely to listen to the radio or read newspapers. Television is an expensive but very wide reaching medium. Innovative thinking could reduce the cost of utilising this medium. Possibilities include utilising SABC education, or approaching writers and producers of popular South African television dramas and soap operas to write domestic violence interpretations into performed scripts.

- Part of the information and education targeted at the broader society level should focus on what the many witnesses to domestic violence can do to assist the victims, as well as, promote a culture of responsibility and willingness to assist. In some societies, families have relied upon community-based support mechanisms to resolve issues of conflict. The local community therefore needs to be mobilised to oppose domestic violence in its midst. Actions taken by local people may include greater surveillance of domestic violence situations, offering support for victims-survivors and challenging men to stop the violence.

- Community information and education programmes regarding the nature and unacceptability of domestic violence should be developed. Such programmes should address cultural forms of behaviour that uphold male aggression, beating, punishment and abuse of women as acceptable. Developing integrated responses to domestic violence through involvement of local community groups, community health workers and women serves to create sustainability and accountability.

- Tolerance and gender-awareness education must be included in school and tertiary institutions’ curricula. Further, the business and public sectors should be encouraged to provide similar education to their employees. One focus area of such training should be on the right and autonomy women should have over their own bodies. Sexism and objectification have been internalised by many women to the extent that it did not occur to them that being forced to have sex was rape.

- Most of the victims of domestic violence interviewed for this survey are economically vulnerable. Reducing economic vulnerability will increase the ability of women to leave abusive relationships, as well as to reduce their direct involvement in the mainstreaming of sexual exploitation and objectification of women as ‘entertainment.’ It is necessary to ensure (through policy and programmes) that women have the opportunities to economically empower themselves.

- Direct interventions and services provided to victims of domestic violence should as a core component include treatment for depression and anxiety, as well as focus on the development of self-worth and self-esteem.

Share this

16 Ways to Say NO to Violence against Women. 18/11/11

16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence
18 November 2011

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign runs from 25 November 10 December, and calls upon everyone to take action to end violence against women and girls. We have a host of events and actions lined up for you!

Say NO – UNiTE is launching  16 Ways to Say NO to Violence against Women. Visit here and pick as many actions as you want, or take the featured action of the day.

You can take actions online or offline, by participating in the highlighted events or by organizing your own. If you are organizing a 16 Days action, we want to know about it! Please post it on Stay tuned for news and more here and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.

If you are not in New York or haven’t RSVP-d to attend the UN official observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, join us virtually on 23 November here. Youth activists are meeting the UN Secretary-General, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet and other high-level participants to discuss ways to end violence against women and girls. We will be live tweeting from the event – follow #UNiTEyouth and @SayNO_UNiTE on Twitter.

Together we can end violence against women.

Say NO – UNiTE Team, UN Women


Share this

CLF Sestien Dae van Aktivisme

CLF-materiaal kan jou hande versterk in die Sestien dae van aktivisme-veldtog

Die 16 dae van aktivisme teen geweld is ’n inisiatief wat regoor die wêreld in die tydperk tussen 25 November en 10 Desember gevier word. Suid-Afrika het 1999 by die veldtog aangesluit, maar die oorspronklike veldtog is in 1991 deur die Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in New Jersey begin. Die veldtog benadruk die felheid van die geweld wat veral teen vroue en kinders gepleeg word.

Die 16 dae-veldtog word gebruik om mense bewus te maak van hoe ons samelewing ly as gevolg van geweld. Dit skop af met die internasionale dag teen vrouegeweld en eindig met Internasionale Menseregtedag op 10 Desember. Ander dae wat in hierdie tyd beklemtoon word is Wêreld Vigsdag op 1 Desember, Internasionale Gestremdheidsdag op 3 Desember en International Women Human Rights Defenders Day op 29 November.

Die lys van aktiwiteite gedurende hierdie dae is lank: filmvertonings oor menseregtevergrype in verskillende lande, besprekings tussen aktiviste en ander rolspelers oor hoe om die probleem te oorkom, asook dialoog tussen die verskillende kerke wat betrokke is. Daar is ook vele fondsinsamelingspogings vir nie-regeringsorganisasies en ander organisasies wat gemeenskapsopheffingswerk doen.

CLF het verskeie pamflette wat handel oor temas wat aangespreek word in hierdie veldtog. As jou kerk of uitreikgroep ’n aksie beplan vir hierdie tyd, bestel betyds materiaal wat julle gedurende hierdie tyd kan gebruik. Of as jy as individu weet van iemand wat vasgevang is in die kloue geweld of sosiale probleme, reik uit na hierdie persoon met CLF se materiaal. Dit is gratis, in beperkte hoeveelhede beskikbaar.

Van die temas wat inskakel by hierdie veldtog is bv:

          -MIV positief wat nou?
          -‘n Lewe vry van VIGS
          -Die mishandelde vrou
          -Gesinsgeweld – is jy ‘n slagoffer?
          -Kan misdadigers verander?
          -Van slagoffer tot oorwinnaar
          -Kan die wonde van molestering genees?
          -Alkohol – iemand na aan my drink te veel
          -Alkohol – wat is die feite?
          -Hoe weet mens alkohol is ‘n probleem?
          -Ek kan nee sê
          -Tiener of mamma (tienerswangerskap)



Share this

Take Action Kit

Centre for Women's Global Leadership 2011

Abstract: The Center for Women's Global Leadership would like to specially thank the following individuals and organizations who have volunteered their time to provide translations of 16 Days Campaign materials: Aleksandra Petrić (United Women Banja Luka, BiH), Chrysant Kusumowardoyo, Dr. Goran Racetovic, Giorgo Filippou (Association for the Handling and prevention of Domestic Violence), Magdalena Wnukowicz (Fundacja Autonomia), Rana Feghali, Dudziro Nhengu (Research and Advocacy Unit), Patricia Mourão (Instituto Magna Mater), Masumi Honda & Hisako Motoyama (Asia-Japan Women's Resource Center / AJWRC), Rada Elenkova (Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation – Plovdiv Branch), Festa Andrew Mwanyingili (Women's Dignity),  Nicole B. Mwaka (Directrice Carrefour des Femmes et Familles), Xiuhua Wan (Jana's Campaign), and Luo Zhai(Women’s Leadership Project of the Center for Civic Leadership).

-Cover Letter: English,
-Theme Announcement: English,
-Campaign Profile: English
-Key Dates: English
-A Guide to Planning Your Campaign: English
-Information Sheet #1 (Bridging Movements): English
-Information Sheet #2 (Small Arms): English
-Information Sheet #3 (Conflict Related Sexual Violence): English
-Information Sheet #4 (Political Violence Against Women): English
-Information Sheet #5 (Sexual Violence by State -Agents): English
-UN Resources Sheet:
-EnglishGEAR Information Sheet: English
-Say NO Information Sheet:English
-UNiTE Information Sheet: EnglishWILPF Information -Sheet: English

-Cover Letter: English,
-Theme Announcement: English

Download these documents here

Share this

The Role of Traditional Leadership

Subtitle: Preventing Violence against Women towards Effective HIV Prevention in Southern Africa.

Published by SAfAIDS

Abstract: Introduction Traditional leaders and traditional structures remain infl uential among a large majority of the population in Southern Africa, in both urban and rural areas. Traditional leaders wield influence and command much respect in their communities. Despite undeniable evidence that shows the linkages between violence against women and HIV, traditional leaders’ potential to actively participate in HIV prevention activities and projects to eliminate violence against women however, remains untapped. With adequate support, traditional leaders can facilitate positive change in local communities working to address HIV and violence against women.

Download this document here (PDF, 801.67 KB, 4 pg)

Share this

2009 16 Days Take Action Kit

The Center for Women's Global Leadership developed a toolkit using the themes "COMMIT ▪ ACT ▪ DEMAND: We CAN End Violence Against Women!". 

You can donwnload a selection of tools and guidelines in various languages from the website

Share this

GBV Communication Skills Manual

The training is designed so that all the materials used can be shared with participants at the end of the workshop

Family Heatlh International

The curriculum in this gender-based violence (GBV) manual on communication skills represents collaboration between Family Health International (FHI), the Reproductive Health Response in Conflict (RHRC) Consortium, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The manual includes a training outline, a list of materials needed, an in-depth training curriculum, and all transparencies, handouts, and activity sheets necessary to conduct a training. The training is designed so that all the materials used can be shared with participants at the end of the workshop, which will allow for subsequent trainings on topics relevant to their context. The training is designed to be completed in 5 days, beginning with an overview of GBV and then covering areas focusing on engagement strategies for work with GBV survivors, methods to support the service provider, and service provider responsibilities and community referrals facilitation skills overview, training review, and evaluation.

-Day 1: Overview of Gender-based Violence
-Day 2: Engagement Strategies in Working with Survivors
-Day 3: Engagement Strategies (con’t)
-Day 4: Supporting the Service Provider
-Day 5: Service Provider Responsibilities and Community Referrals
-Facilitation Skills Overview, Training Review and Evaluation
-Binder Documents

Download this manual here (PDF, 2.35MB, 194pg)

Share this

Get Moving! The GBV Prevention Network's Movement Building Initiative.

Get Moving! utilizes reflection sessions, exercises and readings, designed to stimulate personal and / or organizational reflection about GBV prevention work.

Published by The Gender Based Violence Prevention Network
January 2009

There are six phases in the Get Moving process. To correspond with each phase, the GBV Prevention Network published the Get Moving! series of booklets which are designed to stimulate personal and/or organisational reflection about movement building. The publications include ideas for reflection sessions, exercises, and readings that ideally would be conducted within member organisations, as well as readings and suggestions for journal writing that participants can do independently. According to the publication, the Get Moving! process is for any group or organisation interested in thinking more about the ideas and values that underpin GBV prevention work and what it would take to truly prevent GBV in the region.

Download the resources by phase:

Get Moving! Phase 1: Looking Within (PDF, MB, 32pg)
Get Moving! Phase 2: Supporting Each Other (PDF, 5.52MB, 36pg)
Get Moving! Phase 3: Living our Beliefs (PDF, 3.12MB, 32pg)
Get Moving! Phase 4: Fostering Activism (PDF, 3.16MB, 32pg)
Get Moving! Phase 5: Reaching Out (PDF, 2.29 MB, 32pg)
Share this

I Endorse The Safe World for Women Campaign.

This is a campaign that seeks people to endorse this campaign which seeks to demand of the government to take action against gender-based violence. This campaign demands the government to:

-Pass and enforce laws addressing all forms of violence against women and girls.
-Ensure an effective range of support is available for victims and survivors.
-Undertake research to find out the scale of violence against women and girls.
-In conflict situations, put in place special policies to address sexual violence
-Explain to the public the reason for the 16 year delay in acting on the 1993 resolution.

Sign up for this campaign here

Share this

Promoting Gender Equality to Prevent Violence against Women

Focuses on violence against women by intimate partners

Published by WHO June 2009
ISBN 978 92 4 159788 3

This briefing document focuses on violence against women by intimate partners. It examines the relationship of gender inequalities to gender-based violence and finds evidence that school, community, and media interventions can promote gender equality and prevent violence against women by challenging stereotypes that give men power over women. The document describes some of the promising methods of promoting gender equality and their effectiveness, including school-based interventions to work with schoolchildren before gender attitudes and behaviours are deeply ingrained and community interventions.

Download this document here(PDF, 591.08KB, 18pg)

Share this

Reporting Gender Based Violence: A Handbook for Journalists

To encourage and support sustained media coverage of gender-based violence (GBV)

Published by Inter Press Services November 2009
ISBN: 978-0-620-45143-7
This handbook for reporters is designed to encourage and support sustained media coverage of gender-based violence (GBV) beyond the annual 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children. The handbook is divided into twelve sections which each include an overview of a key issue, some facts and statistics, and a sample feature article to provide an example of best practice and/or what to consider when writing about GBV. The publication also includes discussion questions for facilitators who plan to use this handbook in training.
-Custom, tradition and religion
-Domestic violence
-Sexual gender-based violence
-Sex work and trafficking
-Sexual harassment
-Sexual gender based violence in armed conflict
-Child abuse
-The role of men in combating violence against women
-The criminal justice system
-The cost of gender-based violence

Download this document here(PDF, 2.75 MB, 76pg)

Share this

Speak Out. Youth Report Sexual Abuse. A Handbook for Learners on How to Prevent Sexual Abuse in Public Schools

Published by the Department of Basic Education in South Africa July 2010

Authors: Dr Patricia Watson, Rolaball Eduscript and Julia Grey

This handbook is designed to contribute towards creating a safe, caring, and enabling environment for learning and teaching in public schools in South Africa. The purpose of the handbook is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of sexual harassment and sexual violence, its implications, ways to protect themselves from perpetrators, and where to report incidences of sexual violence or harassment

-Stop Abuse
-Agony Auntie
-What is sexual abuse?
-School rules to protect you
-Signs of sexual abuse
-Teachers have a duty to stop sexual abuse
-Speak out! Report abuse to the police
-Speak out! Report abuse at school
-Speak out against rape!
-Be smart: Protect yourself
-Speak out! Power in group action
-Words to know

Download this resource here (PDF, 6.4 MB, 32pg)

Share this

The Role of Religious Communities in Addressing Gender-Based Violence and HIV

The training began with opening speeches from a range of senior religious leaders and experts on GBV and HIV

USAID Publication August 2009
Author: Britt Herstad

This report summarises the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1, project titled The Role of Religious Communities in Addressing Gender-based Violence and HIV, which was designed and implemented in Africa by Futures Group International and Religions for Peace. Recognising the importance of collaborating to prevent and reduce gender-based violence (GBV) and HIV among women and girls, the initiative partners worked to improve the capacity of religious leaders and faith-based organisations (FBOs) to respond to GBV and its links to HIV.

To that end, the first component of this project brought together African religious leaders - with a particular focus on women of faith - for a regional training workshop on GBV as related to HIV. From July 30-August 2 2007, 23 delegates from 8 countries - Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia - came together to participate in a 4-day regional training in Nairobi, Kenya. An emphasis on the participation of women infused this project, as reflected from the very beginning; participants in this regional training were drawn, in part, from the African Women of Faith Network (AWFN) and the National Inter-Religious Councils, established by Religions for Peace.

As detailed in the report, the training began with opening speeches from a range of senior religious leaders and experts on GBV and HIV. As a beginning exercise, participants were asked to agree or disagree with a few statements; this was designed to spark initial conversation about the topics at hand. For instance, most participants disagreed with this statement: "It is not appropriate for religious leaders to discuss matters relating to women and sexuality."

Download the resource here (PDF, 42pg, 625.43KB)

Share this

You & Rape

This booklet is our contribution to sharing the information we’ve gathered

Published by Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust

In 1992, the Natal Midlands Black Sash, Rape Crisis, and a number of other women’s organisations in Pietermaritzburg began a public rape education programme. This programme was the result of the rising number of rapes, and the need for society to support men and women who have been raped in a way that restores their dignity. It was designed to support rape survivors in bringing their attackers to trial - if that is what the survivor chooses to do. Although rape is a difficult subject for many people to discuss, men and women need to share their experiences as rape survivors in order to help and strengthen each other. This booklet is our contribution to sharing the information we’ve gathered from our experience over the years. The book has been updated several times. With this latest update, Rape Crisis has included the new sexual offences act and recent information regarding medical and social aspects of rape.


- Introduction
- What is rape?
- What to do if someone has raped you
- Reactions to rape
- Healing
- Myths and Facts about Rape
- Male Rape
- Ideas about preventing rape
- Sexual abuse of children and mentally challenged adults
- Some points for discussion

Download this 33-page PDF here in:

English (788 KB)
Afrikaans (812.49 KB)
Xhosa (798.49 KB)
Share this

International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women. 25/11/09

By resolution 54/134, taken on 17 December 1999, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Governments, international organizations and NGOs were invited to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day1. This article attempts to contribute to the cause by presenting disturbing facts on violence against women.
 Statistics on violence against women: the global picture
Sexual and gender based violence against women paints a disturbing picture2:
  • Up to one-third of adolescent girls report forced sexual initiation.
    • For example, a recent study suggests that in the United Kingdom:
      • one in three teenage girls has suffered sexual abuse from a boyfriend,
      • one in four has experienced violence in a relationship,
      • one in six has been pressured into sexual intercourse,
      • one in sixteen said they had been raped.
  • Mass rape of women and girls continues to be seen as somehow a legitimate military weapon.
    • Reports suggest that, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in a war that lasted a mere three years, somewhere between 10,000 and 60,000 women and girls were raped.
  • Sexual violence against men and boys continues undaunted, unreported, understudied, and too often a source of ridicule and derision.
    • According to a number of studies, somewhere between 5 and 10% of adult males report having been sexually abused in their childhood.
  • Women suffer violence in health care settings, “including sexual harassment, genital mutilation, forced gynecological procedures, threatened or forced abortions, and inspections of virginity.”
  • Sexual violence in schools abounds almost in every country in the world
  • In Canada, 23% of girls experience sexual harassment.
  • There was a 25% rise in rape and sexual assaults between 2005 and 2007: Among all violent crimes, domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault showed the largest increase.
Around the world, the numbers speak for themselves, but to whom do they speak, and who is listening, who is taking the count and who is assessing accountability? It seems the whole globe, in its entirety and in each of its parts, is haunted by sexual and gender-based violence. Around and about the world daily, reports and studies on sexual and gender based violence are published3.
Where does it start?
According to Daniel Moshenberg, gender and sexual violence begins and ends at the intersection of sexual inequality and gender inequality4.
Some abusers learned abusive behaviour from their parents. Their early history consisted of receiving abuse themselves and/or seeing others abused (one parent abusing the other or their sibling, etc.). As a consequence, abuse is the normal condition of life for these people. Such people have internalised a particular relationship dynamic, namely the complementary roles of "abuser" and "victim". They are familiar with and fully understand the terror of being the helpless victim from their own childhood experience. The opposite of being a victim is not simply opting out of abuse; it is instead, to be abusive.
Given the choice between being the out-of-control victim, or the in-control abuser, some of these people grow up to prefer the role of the abuser. As they become adults, they simply turn this relationship dynamically around and start acting out the "abuser" side of the relationship to which they have been conditioned. By choosing to be the aggressor and abuser, they may get their first sense of taking control over their own destiny and not being at the mercy of others. That they hurt others in the process may go unregistered or only occur as a dim part of their awareness. behaviour can also result from mental health issues or disorders. For example, someone with anger management issues, a diagnosis of intermittent explosive disorder, or a drinking or drug problem may easily get out of control during arguments (e.g., because there is something wrong with their ability to inhibit themselves at the brain level) and verbally or physically strike out at their partners and dependents.
Still other people who abuse end up abusing because they have an empathy deficit, either because of some sort of brain damage, or because they were so abused themselves as children that their innate empathic abilities never developed properly
What can be done about it?
It is obvious that people exposed to gender and sexual based violence will need physical, psychological, emotional and social support. In many countries the support is being supplied by the government and locally, by a variety of non-governmental organizations. Good examples are rape crises centres, help-lines, health services and shelters. The problem with people who become victims of gender and sexual violence is that they are often afraid or even ashamed and stigmatized to find such help and support.
A more sustainable solution must be found. Preventing sexual violence will require a cultural shift in terms of gender role expectations, acceptable mechanisms for conflict resolution and the unacceptability of violence5.
This will necessitate work with children to challenge gender stereotyping (e.g. masculine aggression and female passivity) and to promote non-violent conflict resolution skills. This could be reinforced by similar work with parents in relation to developing non-violent parenting and conflict resolution skills. This may need to be reinforced by sensitisation and advocacy work with existing community structures, leaders, and local agencies to promote the unacceptability of sexual violence and the adoption of appropriate social sanctions against its perpetrators6.
Certain institutions may be strongly associated with "cultures of violence" and their members may be among the likely perpetrators of sexual violence. Specific targeting may therefore be necessary in order to reach military, police and security personnel or inmates and staff in custodial settings, such as prisons.
The relationship between the structural determinants of sexual violence and development need must be better understood. It is highly likely that the same activities which address gender inequality (such as education for girls and women’s access to resources including credit), poverty and sustainable livelihoods, and which promote civil society participation and good governance will also be helpful to the prevention of sexual violence7.
Gender and sexual violence is not just an illusion. Treating sexual and gender based violence as exceptional likewise leaves the conditions and situation unchanged. The work of transformation, in Africa, as around the world, is slow, long, and necessary.
For further reading visit our current awareness section to view regular sexual violence news items.
  1. UN: The Dag Hammerskjold Library, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Available at and accessed on 28 October 2009.
  2. Moshenberg, Daniel: Sexual and gender based violence: every day, everywhere and yet … 16 September 2009. Available at
    and-gender-based-violence/ and accessed on 28 October 2009.
  3. Subscribe to the newsletter of the South African Sexual Violence Research Initiative at for more information.
  4. Moshenberg, Daniel: Sexual and gender based violence: every day, everywhere and yet … 16 September 2009. Available at
    -and-gender-based-violence/ and accessed on 28 October 2009.
  5. Crehan, K &  Gordon, P: Shades of sadness: gender, sexual violence and the HIV epidemic. Available at
    GenderSexualViolenceandHIV.doc and accessed on 31 October 2009.
  6. Ibid
  7. Ibid
Author: Pieter Visser
Reviewed by: Hendra van Zyl and Marike Kotze
Date: November 2009
Last updated: 11 November 2009
Share this

Thursdays in Black.

CABSA enthusiastically support the Thursdays in Black Campaign.Join us, sign the pledge, order buttons at

The campaign was spearheaded in South Africa by the Diakonia Council of Churches

They write as follows about this campaign:

"Thursdays in Black Campaign has its roots in groups such as Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina, Black Sash in South Africa and the Women in Black movements in Bosnia and Israel. Thursdays in Black, as a human rights campaign, was started by the World Council of Churches during the 1980's as a peaceful protest against rape and violence - the by-products of war and conflict. The campaign focuses on ways that individuals can challenge attitudes that cause rape and violence."

"This campaign, which was launched in South Africa by the Diakonia Council of Churches during the 16 Days of Activism Campaign at the end of 2008, is an ongoing drive to raise awareness and encourage people to work towards a world without rape and violence against women and children."

"We encourage local churches to join hands with people around the world by wearing black on Thursdays to indicate that we are tired of putting up with rape and violence in our communities and that we have a desire for a community where we can all walk safely without fear of being beaten up, verbally abused, raped, of being discriminated against due to one’s gender or sexual orientation."

"Wearing black on Thursdays highlights the unacceptably high levels of abuse against women in our society."

"The response has been positive and many people, both women and men, have committed themselves to wearing black on Thursdays. This is an outward sign of mourning and of standing in solidarity with women who have died at the hands of their partners and signifies a desire to make a difference in our world."

"The buttons have been distributed at various workshops, where gender-based violence is addressed and where the links between HIV infection and gender injustice are stressed. The members of the Self Help Groups are being empowered to understand the implications of gender-based violence and many of them appreciate the opportunity of wearing black on Thursdays to highlight this debilitating scourge in our rural communities."

"Various churches have distributed the buttons and information leaflets at their Synods and other gatherings of church leaders. In the past three years approximately 6,000 buttons and flyers have been distributed – some as far afield as Cape Town. Diakonia Council of Churches’ website promoted the campaign during the 16 Days of Activism Campaign and this additional source of information solicited much interest."

"In recent months Women’s Manyano Organisations have promoted the Thursdays in Black Campaign to raise awareness on ‘Violence Against Women’ (and Children)."

If you would like more information about the Thursdays in Black Campaign or would like someone to address your church or organisation on this topic, please contact CABSA or the Diakonia Council of Churches office on [031] 310-3500.

You can order buttons or get more information from CABSA. Contact Lyn at o11 796 6830 or by e-mail.

PDF icon Flier.pdf3.02 MB
Share this

World Council Of Churches Campaign Against Violence Against Women. 25/11/09

Join the WCC in their campaign to stop violence against women:

Global Women of Faith Network. Your participation in the Restoring Dignity initiative so far has been inspiring. We appreciate your leadership and want to thank you for taking action at
Today marks the official launch of Phase II of the UN Secretary-General’s and UNIFEM’s Say NO—UNiTE initiative. The Say NO-UNiTE initiative will count actions by individuals, governments, civil society partners and faith-based partners. Please visit the Religions for Peace dedicated partner page on the Say NO website:
On this webpage, we invite you to create your own resources and actions, update photos from your interfaith event, and even link videos to youtube! And the best part, it’s very easy to use! But if you have any snags, email us at for technical support.    
TAKE YOUR FIRST ACTION TODAY! Sign the Call to Action to the UN Secretary-General by 23 November 2009.  
With much appreciation for your leadership and support on this momentous occasion,
Ms. Jacqueline Ogega
Religions for Peace
Director, Women's Mobilization Program
P.S. - Please help spread the word! Forward this email to everyone you know—friends, relatives, co-workers, your sisters and brothers in faith—and help RESTORE DIGNITY-End Violence Against Women.
Share this

2009 International Women's Day - 08/03/09

IWD is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

From the official International Women’s Day Website

International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.International Women's Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. For decades, IWD has grown from strength to strength annually. For many years the United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women's rights and participation in social, political and economic processes. 1975 was designated as 'International Women's Year' by the United Nations. Women's organisations and governments around the world have also observed IWD annually on 8 March by holding large-scale events that honour women's advancement and while diligently reminding of the continued vigilance and action required to ensure that women's equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life.

2000 and beyond
IWD is now an official holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.

Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.

Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google some years even changes its logo on its global search pages. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status. The United States even designates the whole month of March as 'Women's History Month'.

So make a difference, think globally and act locally !! Make everyday International Women's Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.


Share this

Decrease Violence To Decrease Risk of HIV Among Woman and Girls.

(Global Health Council) Addressing violence against woman and HIV/AIDS simultaneously can reduce the incident of both and have a positive impact on the lives of woman and their families. This policy brief examines the way in which violence fuels increased HIV vulnerability for woman and girls. It highlights successfully and innovative efforts needed to prevent it and recommends policy action. Download PDF (257.91KB 4p)

Share this

Ring The Bell. 25 Nov to 10 Dec 2008

Ring The Bell - 16 Days of Activism Campaign on Violence Against Women and Children

The Diakonia Council of Churches, The Centre for HIV/AIDS Networking (HIVAN/HIV-911) and the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP) have partnered together for the 16 Days of Activism Campaign 2008.

The Campaign commences on 25 November and ends on 10 December and is designed to generate awareness of the plight of women, children and men who experience violence at the hands of others.

This year we have chosen the theme “Ring the Bell – Say NO to Violence”.  We trust that the campaign will encourage everyone to take a stand by “Ringing the Bell” on offenders – having courage to intervene.

A specific theme and colour has been chosen to mark each of the days of the campaign.  There are many ways to get involved, show your support, and simply take time to reflect during the 16 Days of Activism Campaign.


Campaign Theme
Women who are current being abused by their partners
Women who are or have escaped an abusive environment
Women killed at the hands of their of their abusive partners
Women who have survived rape, sexual abuse / harassment
Children who are victims or witness domestic violence in the home & sexual abuse
People / service providers who work within the field of GBV
Women / Children infected and affected by HIV
Men who work within the field of GBV or are taking a stand against GBV
Women who have survived rape, sexual abuse / harassment
Women killed at the hands of their of their abusive partners
People / service providers who work within the field of GBV
Women who are current being abused by their partners
Women / Children infected and affected by HIV
Men who work within the field of GBV or are taking a stand against GBV
Children who are victims or witness domestic violence in the home & sexual abuse
Women who are or have escaped an abusive environment
Share this

Department of Basic Education (DBE) and LEAD



The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and LEAD SA have announced details of a major initiative to raise rape awareness and educate the 10,2-million learners in South African schools.

Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, said “The collective rage in the country had to be turned into tangible action.”

The Minister said she has today issued a directive to all provincial education departments to instruct schools across the country to call special assemblies at 8am on Friday, 1 March.

“Following the singing of the National Anthem, we want principals, educators, learners or activists to address the assemblies for 15 minutes about rape and sexual crimes. The focus will be on education/awareness and more importantly what to do.

“We also want to appeal to our learners to report any form of abuse from anyone to the authorities,” said Minister Motshekga.

In his reply to the State of the Nation address in the National Assembly yesterday, President Jacob Zuma commended the Department of Basic Education for “looking at inculcating values of nationhood at an early age, promoting rights and responsibilities among children.

“We acknowledge and applaud the good work of many civil society organisations that are raising awareness about violence against women and many other issues affecting society,” President Zuma added.

“The DBE will provide guidelines for the talks to the education departments as part of the directive,” she added.

In addition to these guidelines, NGOs are encouraged to assist with the mornings’ talks.


Rape Response booklet and Pledge

A pledge based on the Bill of Responsibilities, which includes a statement on violence and rape, will also be circulated and educators and learners are urged to adopt it at the assemblies.

Click here to view pledge

A downloadable rape response booklet and a poster which will help to guide educators on how to cope with this sensitive topic is also available.

Click here to view the 12-page rape response booklet
and here to view a poster on response protocol.

The pledge will be available in all 11 official languages.

The DBE has called on all schools to prepare worksheets for learners about violent and sexual crimes.

“We want boy and girl learners to complete these worksheets at home, with their families if possible, and return them to their teachers. It’s part of the education/awareness programme.”

The DBE said the school assemblies will be concluded by 8.30am.

Minister Motshekga said the initiative was “critical not only to highlight the rape bane but also to educate our children.”

“We have partnered with Lead SA like we did with the Bill of Responsibilities (BOR) and the Happy Birthday Madiba song.

“1 March is the start of Human Rights Month. We need to also teach our youth about their rights and responsibilities as per the BOR,” said Minister Motshekga.

Lead SA said the partnership with the DBE will go a long way in heightening awareness and education.

“We also hope the 10,2-million learners will take the messages home so that society at large can act. The ‘StopRape’ message needs to reach every corner of South Africa.”

Lead SA said it encouraged active citizenry. “Let’s all unite and fight rape with one voice.”

After the pledge has been taken by the millions of learners on 1st March, we encourage each and every citizen to also adopt it. “Take it to your offices, factories and homes… Say NO to rape.”

Minister Motshekga called on civil society to support the “StopRape” initiative.

Proudly South African and Shout SA have already come out in support of the awareness programme.

Proudly South African says it will also include the messaging in its national “Ubuntu schools” campaign which was launched shortly after the gang rape of a Soweto teenager in April last year.



0 signatures
Share this with your friends:


Share this

Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women

Say NoSay NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women is a global call for action, launched in November 2009, on ending violence against women and girls. It is presented by UNIFEM as a contribution to advance the objectives of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women through social mobilization. UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman is the Spokesperson of Say NO.

Based on country data available, up to 70 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime. It happens everywhere – at home and at work, on the streets and in schools, during peacetime and in conflict. Violence against women and girls has far- reaching consequences, harming families and communities, stunting human development, and undermining economic growth. Everyone has a role to play in combating this global pandemic; the time to act together is NOW.

Say NO aims to trigger and highlight actions by individuals, governments and civil society partners. Actions can range from reaching out to students at schools, to volunteering at local shelters, advocating for legislation or donating funds towards programmes that protect women and girls from violence. Every action will be counted to showcase the global groundswell of engagement that exists on the issue. The initial target is to reach 100,000 actions by March 2010 and 1 million actions in one year.

Say NO builds upon the momentum generated during its first phase when 5,066,549 people signed on to a global call to make ending violence against women a top priority worldwide. Heads of States and Ministers from 69 Governments and more than 600 Parliamentarians have added their names to Say NO since then.

Working through traditional as well as online networks and social media, Say NO will engage participants from all walks of life. A range of web-based and other tools available on will support partners in their advocacy efforts, highlight their work to a global audience and inspire others.

In line with the Secretary-General’s campaign framework that calls for an increase in funding for the multi-lateral UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women, Say NO encourages donations for the UN Trust Fund, which supports local and national programmes catalyzing change on the ground.

Say NO - UNiTE to End Violence against Women is an expanding global coalition of individuals, organizations, governments and the private sector to realize a vision that is ambitious, but must never be impossible – a future that is free from violence against women and girls. Let us count you in – take action to end violence against women now.

More information and toolkit available on website.


Share this

World YWCA International Women's Day Statement 25/03/09

Unite to end Violence Against Women
Every day, in many homes, women are beaten and abused. Violence against women is not only widespread-it is often fatal. The most common form of violence against women is domestic violence, but women and girls face abuse and violence at every stage of their lives. An extreme manifestation of gender inequality, violence against women is a global problem deeply ingrained in societies and has serious impacts on women's health and well-being. 

The elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls is a top priority for the World YWCA. In nearly 70 countries, YWCAs provide services for women facing violence and abuse. For many women, the YWCA represents a safe space. From shelters and safe houses run by YWCAs in the USA, Canada, Zambia and Sri Lanka to campaigns to prevent trafficking championed by YWCAs in Finland, Belarus, Albania and Samoa. National and local YWCAs around the world are committed to seeing an end to violence against women. Through advocacy and services, YWCAs are working to ensure women and girls in their
communities can live lives free of violence. 

On International Women's Day, the World YWCA calls on governments, international organisations and civil society to: 

1. Prevent violence, ensure safety and security for women and girls

In addition to carrying out research on the cause of violence, governments must take steps to prevent violence before it starts. A strategic way to prevent violence is to introduce and enforce laws that protect women-there must be no impunity for acts of violence against women. Governments must consider initiatives, such as the YWCA Canada 'Rose Button' campaign, that call for actions to prevent violence before it starts. 

One of the first obligations of CEDAW requires United Nations member states to entrench women's human rights in their constitutional and legal systems. Raising public awareness on laws that protect women is crucial in preventing violence against women. 

UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security calls on UN member states to take special measures to protect women and girls from violence, particularly in situations of armed conflict. Women's bodies must not be used to wage war. 

2. Invest in women and girls

Adequate and accessible funding must be provided for services that provide holistic care for survivors of violence. Women's right to information must be upheld. Lack of information prevents many women from accessing services that would support them to regain dignity in
their lives. 

Organisations running programmes such as shelters for women in violent relationship, help-lines and counseling facilities must be adequately financed to ensure their services remain reliable and accessible. As Governments consider their strategies to deal with the global
financial crisis, funding and support for social services must not be cut or reduced.

3. Redefine gender stereotypes

Governments must work with civil society to change negative stereotypes as a strategy to prevent violence against women.

Information and programmes that help young women and men develop healthy relationships are crucial in order eliminate negative stereotypes. A society that understands the impact and effects of violence against women is better versed to address the issues at government and policy level. Education on violence against women must be integrated in programmes that reach different sectors of society including men and boys. Programmes such as the YWCA Week Without Violence-commemorated annually in November around the world-help
educate communities on the types of violence women in their country face.

4. Understand intersectionality of HIV and VAW

Socio-economic factors and legal challenges that put many HIV-positive women at risk of violence must be addressed. The World YWCA is particular concerned about recent laws some countries are adopting that criminalize HIV. These laws have a particular impact on women and leave them vulnerable to violence. Governments, international organisations and civil society must ensure that laws and policies that uphold women's human rights are implemented in order to protect women from violence. 

The World YWCA joins with the global community to call for an end to violence against women and ensure women and girls can live lives free of violence.

The World YWCA is a global network of women and young women leading social and economic change in 125 countries. It advocates for peace, justice, human rights and care of the environment, and has been at the forefront of raising the status of women for over a century.

Contact Information


phone: +41229296030

Share this

Advocacy Resources - Human Rights

Lyn's Comment: HIV and human rights are 'intertwined' in an number of ways.

The introduction to the publication “HIV/AIDS & Human Rights In A Nutshell” developed by the Program on International Health and Human Rights, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health and the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations, starts as follows:
"Human rights are fundamental to any response to HIV/AIDS. This has been recognized since the first global AIDS strategy was developed in 1987. Human rights and public health share the common goal of promoting and protecting the well-being of all individuals. "

"The promotion and protection of human rights are necessary to empower individuals and communities to respond to HIV/AIDS, toreduce vulnerability to HIV infection and to lessen the adverse impact of HIV/AIDS on those affected."

It is sometimes difficult for faith communities to deal with a rights-based approach.  To help us understadn our role and the interaction of HIV and rights, I again quote from the document:

"We understand human rights and HIV/AIDS to work together in three separate, but related ways. These are:

Accountability: Human rights provide a system for holding governments accountable for their actions.
Advocacy: Governments are responsible for what they do, do not do, and should do for their populations. This enables activists to engage in a wide range of advocacy actions targeted towards securing human rights enjoyment and protection for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and all other groups vulnerable to HIV infection.
Approaches to Programming: Human rights-based approaches to programming aim to integrate human rights principles such as nondiscrimination, equality and participation, including the greater participation of PLWHA,into the response at local, national and international levels."
You can download the document. (PDF; 2.12MB,
Share this

HIV Justice Toolkit to Support Advocacy Against HIV Criminalisation Now Online. 5/10/2017

Published by HIVJUSTICE

HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE today announced the launch of the HIV Justice Toolkit, which aims to support advocates to oppose HIV criminalisation at all levels – from educating communities and lawmakers to defending individual cases.

Curated by Sally Cameron, Senior Policy Analyst at the HIV Justice Network (HJN) with input and assistance from HJN’s Global Co-ordinator, Edwin J Bernard and HJN’s Research/Outreach Co-ordinator, Sylvie Beaumont, the Toolkit’s creation was faciliated by the HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE Steering Committee, designed by Thomas Patterson/NAM, and supported by a grant from the Robert Carr civil society Networks Fund.

“We are delighted at the launch of this timely HIV Justice Toolkit. Advocates will find that the use of this Toolkit will increase collaborative and targeted responses for the most vulnerable – in our case women living with HIV, who often suffer the most because of HIV criminalisation. The Toolkit is timely in galvanising action and encouraging activists and communities to proactively mount evidence-based advocacy campaigns to end HIV criminalisation.”

Lynette Mabotte, Southern and East Africa Regional Programmes Lead,
AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA)

The Toolkit is a comprehensive compendium of almost 300 documents and videos, organised under twelve main headings, each of which is broken down into futher subsections.

  1. How HIV criminalisation undermines the HIV response
  2. What the experts says
  3. Organising advocacy
  4. Understanding the law
  5. Initiating policy and law reform
  6. Supporting fair and robust trials
  7. Using science to prove your argument
  8. Working with police
  9. Educating prosecutors
  10. Educating judges
  11. Getting the message right
  12. Other toolkits

The entire Toolkit is also searchable by keyword.

“This easy-to-read summary of critical resources is a tremendous contribution to the fight to end HIV criminalisation. We will reference and utilise this important new addition to the HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE site frequently.”

Sean Strub, Executive Director, Sero Project

Although the Toolkit is currently only available in English, where documents already exist in other languages, these are included.

HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE are now working on a French version of the Toolkit, with other languages (i.e. Spanish and Russian) due in 2018, depending on demand, capacity and funding.

Explore the resources contained within the HIV Justice Toolkit at:

New video advocacy tool: How to organise to change the law – the story of the Colorado Mod Squad

The Toolkit also features a new video advocacy tool, ‘The Colorado Story’ which explains in 15 minutes how a group of dedicated advocates in Colorado ‘modernised’ their HIV-related laws to improve the legal environment for people living with HIV.

Featuring Barb Cardell and Kari Hartel of the Colorado Mod Squad and Colorado State Senator, Pat Steadman, the video was written and introduced by HJN’s Edwin J Bernard, with interviews by Mark S King, and directed / produced by Nicholas Feustel for the HIV Justice Network/HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE.


HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE is a growing, global movement to shape the discourse on HIV criminalisation as well as share information and resources, network, build capacity, mobilise advocacy, and cultivate a community of transparency and collaboration.

The mission of HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE is to seek to abolish criminal and similar laws, policies and practices that regulate, control and punish people living with HIV based on their HIV-positive status.

We believe that this HIV criminalisation is discriminatory, a violation of human rights, undermines public health, and is detrimental to individual health and well-being.

Share this

Review of Global Commission on HIV and the Law Identifies Progress and Challenges. 14/7/2017

Published by UNAIDS

Five years ago, a landmark report published by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law urged governments to promote laws and policies grounded in evidence and human rights in order to turn the tide against AIDS. On 12 and 13 July, members of the commission and other experts came together to assess the progress made in advancing the report’s recommendations, look at the barriers that remain and discuss opportunities for further progress.

The participants recognized the role of the commission as a catalyst for social justice and human rights in the HIV response. Since the release of the commission’s report in 2012, efforts to advance the report’s recommendations have been documented in 88 countries. Several countries have conducted comprehensive assessments of laws, policies and practices affecting people living with HIV and have changed legislation as a result. National conversations on the rights of people living with and vulnerable to HIV have led countries to reform discriminatory practices against people living with HIV. Judges, civil society organizations and partners have been instrumental in helping to overturn discriminatory legislation and counter HIV stigma.

Despite this progress, persistent and new forms of human rights challenges face the HIV epidemic and response. Shrinking space for civil society, reduced funding for human rights, discrimination in health-care settings and an increasingly challenging political and social space are among the challenges that call for continued action. In the light of this, the participants called for an update report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law to reinvigorate progress in advancing human rights and ensuring that no one is left behind. 

Share this

Removing Human Rights Barriers to End the HIV Epidemic. 15/3/2016

Author: Mark Dybul, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Enlarge imageA HIV-positive woman receives medicine through an intravenous drip at Medecins Sans Frontieres-Holland (AZG)'s clinic in Yangon, Myanmar, February 21, 2012.  REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
A HIV-positive woman receives medicine through an intravenous drip at Medecins Sans Frontieres-Holland (AZG)'s clinic in Yangon, Myanmar, February 21, 2012. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The HIV response over the past 15 years has been tremendous. In 2000, there was no global public health response to the epidemic.  In 2016, almost every country around the world is implementing prevention and treatment programmes.

Just as important, there is a growing recognition that HIV discriminates, and does not affect people equally. The only way to maximise the impact of our investments, and end the epidemic, is to do a lot more to remove human rights-related barriers to services. We have to move toward treating everyone like a human being, being more inclusive, and finding the best side of our humanity. The sustainable development goals call on us all to do precisely that.

The Global Fund has had a human rights objective in its strategy since 2011. We realised then that human rights-related barriers to services were preventing us from achieving maximum impact.

Indeed, in many settings the impact of our grants is greatly reduced because of these barriers – whether it is in generalised epidemics in Africa where women and girls often do not access testing and treatment or are not retained in treatment because of stigma and discrimination and gender-based violence; or in concentrated epidemics where men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, sex workers, transgender people, migrants, and prisoners often cannot access prevention and treatment because of the discrimination they experience in health-care settings, or the violence perpetrated by police.

It is worth noting that in many settings, many of the same vulnerable groups are susceptible to TB, and TB remains the leading cause of death among people with HIV.

The good news is that seven key programmes that reduce human rights-related barriers to services have been clearly defined by UNAIDS, our close partner, to whom we defer on technical matters. They have been costed, and include:

1.      Stigma and discrimination reduction;
2.     HIV-related legal services;
3.     Monitoring and reforming laws, regulations and policies relating to HIV;
4.     Legal literacy (so-called ”know your rights” programmes);
5.     Sensitization of law-makers and law enforcement officials;
6.     Training of health care providers on human rights and medical ethics related to HIV; and
7.     Reducing discrimination and violence against women, as well as harmful gender norms.


Collectively, over the last five years we have made some progress in increasing investments in these programmes. Most countries that apply to the Global Fund for funding now acknowledge that human rights-related barriers hinder many people’s access to the services we fund.


However, investment in these programmes remains minimal. Indeed, many grants do not contain any programmes to remove human rights barriers, or include only one or a couple of them. Even where country grants include programmes, they are rarely scaled up and reach only a small proportion of people in need.

We need to do better on removing human rights barriers - not only to achieve the Global Fund’s objective to respect and promote human rights and gender equality, but because it is the right thing to do and because it is essential to our efforts to invest more strategically to end HIV. In the new Strategic Framework of the Global Fund for 2017-2022, which our Board adopted in November, one of our main objectives is therefore to “introduce and scale up programmes that remove human rights barriers to accessing services”.

We will concentrate our efforts on 15 to 20 countries with particular needs and opportunities for introduction and scale-up of these programmes.

The target will be implementation of comprehensive programmes to address the human rights-related barriers to services, resulting in increased uptake of and retention in services through decreased stigma and discrimination, particularly in health-care settings.

Other positive aspects include increased access to justice; reduction of violence against and reduced discrimination against women and girls; greater support among law enforcement officials for prevention and treatment services; a more conducive policy environment and strengthened participation of affected persons in programmes linked to these interventions.

This effort to scale up programmes will be accompanied by a rigorous effort to further increase the evidence of the health impact of the programmes.

We look forward to working with all our partners to make our collective vision a reality – greater access to HIV services, resulting in more infections averted and lives saved, thanks to a concerted effort to reduce human rights-related barriers and, ultimately, to create the inclusive human family we were intended to be. To end HIV, we must overcome discrimination in laws and policies, in practice and in our hearts. We must grasp the historic opportunity to become better people and societies built on the firm foundation of an inclusive human family.

Share this

A Hand BookFor Civil Society. 12/11/2015

Published at United Nations


   The United Nations human rights programme works to promote and protect the human rightsof everyone, everywhere. It is carried out through different United Nations human rights institutions and agencies, and includes the various human rights bodies and mechanisms addressed in this Handbook, all of which have the common aim of promoting and protecting  internationally agreed human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social—rights that were proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights over 60 years ago.

   As the global authority on human rights, the Office of the United Nations High  Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is responsible for leading the United Nations  human rights programme and for promoting and protecting all human rights established under the Charter of the United Nations and international human rights law.

   Its vision is of a world in which the human rights of all are fully respected and enjoyed.OHCHR strives to achieve the protection of all human rights for all people, to empower people to realize their rights and to assist those responsible for upholding such rights in ensuring that they are implemented.


Share this

Africa: 18th International AIDS Conference Stresses Right to Health

Universal access is a global commitment to scale up access to HIV treatment, prevention, care and support.


By Cheryl Pellerin
19 July 2010

With the HIV/AIDS epidemic still raging and the global economic crisis threatening desperately needed funding, an estimated 20,000 participants from 185 countries are assembling in Vienna July 18-23 for the 18th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010).

Since the first cases were reported in 1981, HIV -- the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) -- has become one of the world's most serious health and development challenges. More than 25 million people have died of AIDS, and another 33.4 million now live with HIV/AIDS.

Over the past 15 years, scientific advances and global efforts to address the epidemic have made it possible to prevent and treat HIV even in the poorest nations. According to the World Health Organization, the number of people with HIV receiving treatment in poor countries has increased 10-fold since 2002.

AIDS 2010 speakers will describe the state of the epidemic and outline critical choices facing world leaders in the years ahead.

"This year's conference theme, 'Rights Here, Right Now,' reminds us that health care should be a right for everyone, but isn't," former U.S. President Bill Clinton said at the opening conference session July 18. "Notwithstanding the current economic difficulties, the evidence of the progress that has been made in the last few years is not an excuse to walk away from that right. It's an excuse to run toward it for all of us."

According to conference organizers, Vienna was chosen as the host city for AIDS 2010 in part because of its location near Eastern Europe, a region with a growing epidemic driven mainly by injected drug use. Southern Africa, home to 67 percent of all people with HIV, is the world's most heavily affected region.


Since the first international AIDS conference was held in Atlanta in 1985, the meetings have offered a multidisciplinary forum for networking and sharing information about new research and evidence-based programs and policies. A range of stakeholders has been able to evaluate the latest scientific developments and lessons learned and chart a course forward.

In a July 7 preview of AIDS 2010 in Washington, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, said pressing topics at the meeting would include universal access to treatment, the importance of prevention, and new modes of prevention that include vaccine progress and treatment with antiretroviral drugs as a way to prevent HIV transmission.

Results of a study of a new microbicide gel that contains an antiretroviral drug will also be shared at the conference. A microbicide is a gel or cream that women could use before or after sex to protect themselves from infection.

"If the microbicide does work," he said, "it will be the first time that a microbicide has been shown to have a positive effect."

Universal access to AIDS treatment is one of the eight targets of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Target 6 calls for halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015, and achieving universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010. With only five months left in the year, prospects are slim for meeting the 2010 goal.

According to the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), universal access is a global commitment to scale up access to HIV treatment, prevention, care and support. Ninety-nine countries have set targets for treatment, and 98 have set targets for one or more prevention interventions. An interactive map of global progress is available on the UNAIDS website.

Treatment with anti-retroviral drugs also can be a form of prevention, Fauci said in a recent interview with

"If you get the virus level down in people who are infected," he said, "they are much less likely to infect other people."

"There's going to be a lot of talk about how do we pay for this," Jon Cohen, a reporter for Science magazine who is providing coverage of the meeting for the Kaiser Family Foundation, said in an interview July 17.

"The dreams, what people want to see happen, are great," he said. "The rich countries of the world are all feeling like they have empty pockets and the aspirations are higher than ever. There will be a lot of conflict and a lot of discussion about how do we pay for what we want to do and what we've promised people we're going to do."


A week before AIDS 2010, on July 13, the United States -- where 1 million people live with HIV/AIDS and one person becomes infected with HIV every 9.5 minutes -- released its own national HIV/AIDS strategy (PDF, 1.37 MB).

In the report, the vision is that "the United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socioeconomic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination."

"Reducing new HIV infections, improving care for people living with HIV/AIDS, narrowing health disparities â-- these are the central goals of our national strategy," President Obama said July 13.

"They must be pursued hand in hand with our global public health strategy to roll back the pandemic beyond our borders," he said. "And they must be pursued by a government that is acting as one. So we need to make sure all our efforts are coordinated within the federal government and across federal, state and local governments, because that's how we'll achieve results that let Americans live longer and healthier lives."

Share this

REAct Guide. 9/3/2015

Published at HIV Alliance
18 February 2015
PDF Size - 11.7 MB

The guide provides an introduction to Rights – Evidence – ACTion (REAct), a community-based system for monitoring and responding to human rights-related barriers in accessing HIV and health services.

The five REAct units in the guide provide information on the principles behind the system; the steps you need to take to set it up; who needs to be involved; what the human rights issues are; how to collect data; using the information management tool, Martus; adapting the system to your context; and how to implement REAct.

Download English Guide here

Download French Guide here

Share this

UNAIDS Calls for Zero Discrimination and Ensuring Rights to Health, Dignity and Security on Human Rights Day. 10/12/2012


GENEVA, 10 December 2012—On the occasion of Human Rights Day, there is evidence that global solidarity and shared responsibility are expanding people’s right to health across the world. More than half the people in need of antiretroviral treatment are now receiving it, far fewer people are dying from AIDS-related illnesses, 25 countries have reduced new HIV infections by more than 50% and new HIV treatment and prevention science promise yet more results.

But AIDS is far from over and there are still major challenges to reaching people with life-saving HIV services. People living with HIV have fought for and gained impressive recognition of their right to non-discrimination. However zero discrimination in the response to HIV is far from being achieved. HIV-related discrimination continues to impact the lives of many people living with HIV, and still prevents millions of people from coming forward to test for HIV and access prevention and treatment services.

Effective programmes and protective laws can overcome discrimination and marginalization in the context of HIV. But many of the people most affected by the epidemic remain marginalized and criminalized––sex workers, people who use drugs, men who have sex with men and transgender people. They are unable to benefit from their rights to health, non-discrimination and freedom from violence.  As the world strives to achieve zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths, efforts must be doubled to realize the rights of all people affected by HIV. 

This International Human Rights Day is dedicated to the principle of inclusion and the right to participate in public life. We need to work to ensure that all members of society have the opportunity to fully realize their rights to health, dignity and security in a world with HIV.

Key elements to ensuring a rights-based approach to HIV include:

  • Strong and supportive links to care and treatment must be included in HIV testing programmes;
  • Efforts to expand treatment must ensure access to the right medicines at the right time, including second line medicines that in many places remain prohibitively expensive;
  • Health systems need to be strengthened to become places of care and support, not denial and discrimination;
  • Communities and civil society also need to be strengthened and resourced to work in synergy with health services;
  • A wide range of HIV prevention services must be made available, especially to young people who are often denied their rights to information and services about HIV and sexuality;
  • Women living with HIV must be able to fully exercise their reproductive and sexual health rights;
  • And punitive laws must be replaced by protective ones
Share this

Thousands March in Vienna for Rights of AIDS Patients. 21/7/10

Several thousand activists and anti-AIDS campaigners marched through Vienna's city centre

21 July 2010

VIENNA — Several thousand activists and anti-AIDS campaigners marched through Vienna's city centre on Tuesday evening, demanding more respect for human rights in the fight against HIV.

Men and women of all ages, nationalities and sexual orientation paraded down the famous Ring boulevard in the early evening, carrying banners and accompanied by vuvuzelas and loud whistles.

Julio Montaner, director of the International AIDS Society (IAS), which organised the world AIDS conference in Vienna, led the march, alongside the head of UNAIDS Michel Sidibe, and Michel Kazatchkine, head of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

"Even if we had the resources and the technology, we could not achieve universal access to treatment for patients without respect for human rights," Kazatchkine told AFP amidst the noisy crowd.

Auma Obama, the half-sister of US President Barack Obama, who helps US charity CARE's anti-AIDS efforts in her native Kenya, also attended and did a little dance with her fellow demonstrators.

The march ended at Vienna's historic Heldenplatz (Heroes' Square), where Sidibe and Kazatchkine joined voices with other activists to call for more funds for the fight against AIDS as well as "Rights Here, Right Now" -- the slogan of the Vienna conference.

Singer and AIDS activist Annie Lennox performed a few songs but also swung scorching criticism at governments in eastern Europe, where the AIDS epidemic is spreading the fastest, shouting: "Where are you? A catastrophe is taking place in your backyard and you're ignoring it."

As for conference host Austria, "your one-million-euro donation to the Global Fund in 2002 is embarrassing," she stormed.

"This event alone will have generated over 45 million euros for the city of Vienna: set the example, put your money where your mouth is and donate generously to the Global Fund," she urged.

Lennox later asked for a minute of silence to remember the victims of AIDS.

Share this

Physicians for Human Rights Advocacy Toolkit. 2007.

This toolkit describes advocacy techniques and activities geared toward the health professions and health professional students. It aims to support health professionals to advocate for human rights by accessing "their specialized skills, ethical obligations, and credible voices". For students, the website strives to advance understanding and lifelong investment in health and human rights activism, and to cultivate their contributions as advocates promoting health and human rights through local chapters of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), as well as blog posting, action alerts, and campaign organising. The advocacy toolkit includes such aids as templates, phone scripts, sample letters, and other downloadable tools. Toolkit online
Share this

Advocacy Resources - Poverty


Share this

Micah Network Prayer Week 23/02/09 - 01/03/09

Prayer Week

Micah Network member agency Tearfund UK is holding a Global Poverty Prayer Week from 23 February to 1 March 2009. They ask that we join with them, and the tens of thousands who were involved in the first prayer week in 2007, to be part of a growing network of local churches that are making poverty personal. Tearfund have put together resources that make it easy to pray about big issues like HIV and clean water.

Share this

Advocacy Resources - TB


Share this

Guide: An Activist’s Guide to Regulatory Issues. 07/01/2016

Published at health

04 January 2016

Created by the US HIV activist organisation the Treatment Action Group, the document begins by broadly outing regulators roles before covering issues like pre-approval access to TB drugs as well as accompanying concerns regarding equitable access. These concerns are illustrated with country examples.

The guide then moves on to explain how TB drugs move from research into clinical trials and also cases of accelerated access to drugs like bedaquiline and delamanid.

Finally, the guide outlines strategies activists can use to increase access to new TB drugs such as import waivers, off-label use and operational research.

Share this

Guide: Close the gap – TB and Human Rights. 9/12/2015

Published at health e news

9 September 2015

According to ARASA, this document serves as a framework for activists in southern and East Africa working on HIV, TB and human rights issues. The guide is divided into the five key topics identified as needing urgent attention in the region, namely:

  • Promoting a rights-based approach to TB,
  • The criminalisation of TB,
  • Unequal access to TB care and treatment,
  • TB and gender, and
  • Most at-risk populations.

For each topic, the guide provides background to the issue and case studies from partner countries in the region, to provide best practice examples of how civil society has been able to undertake advocacy efforts to promote rights-based responses regarding the topic. A framework for a way forward for TB activists in the region regarding each topic is outlined, including policy advocacy where there are no rights-based approaches in country’s national TB strategies and documentation of case studies to gather evidence of violations of human rights.

The document concludes with several calls to action, including the use of compulsory licensing to increase the production of 
generic TB vaccines, diagnostics and treatment.

Share this

Call to Action for Childhood TB

We, participants gathered at the ‘International Childhood Tuberculosis Meeting’ held March 17-18, 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden recognize that:

o        Worldwide, at least 1 million TB cases occur each year in children under 15 years of age.
o        The true burden of TB in children is unknown because of the lack of child-friendly diagnostic tools and inadequate surveillance and reporting of childhood TB cases.
o        Children with TB infection today represent the reservoir of TB disease tomorrow.
o        Children are more likely to develop more serious forms of TB such as miliary TB and TB meningitis resulting in high morbidity and mortality.
o        Despite policy guidelines, the implementation of contact tracing and delivery of isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) to young and HIV-infected children is often neglected by public health programmes.
o        Most public health programs have limited capacity to meet the demand for care and high-quality services for childhood TB.
o        TB care for children is not consistently integrated into HIV and care and maternal and child health programs.
o        BCG, the only licenced TB vaccine, has limited efficacy against the most common forms of childhood TB and its effect is of limited duration.
o        Due to inadequate case detection it is estimated that a large number of children suffering from TB are not appropriately treated. This is further compounded by drug stock outs and the lack of child-friendly formulations of drugs for TB treatment and prevention.
o        Children are rarely included in clinical trials to evaluate new TB drugs, diagnostics or preventive strategies.
To address this current situation, we, the undersigned, call for:
o        National TB programmes to include and prioritize childhood TB in their national strategic plans in order to address millennium development goals for children and pregnant women.
o        All health care providers to integrate childhood TB into their services.
o        The scientific community to include children—of all ages—in clinical and operational studies.
o        TB drug and diagnostic product developers to specifically include children in development plans and implementation of research at an early stage.
o        Donors to encourage collaboration with researchers, local communities, TB control programmes and other stakeholders to address the growing problem of childhood TB concentrating on:
Innovative research to develop child-friendly TB diagnostics, drugs, biomarkers and vaccines
The strengthening of public health facilities and services so that mothers and children with and without HIV can receive appropriate TB care
o        Providers of technical assistance to invest in building local technical and programmatic capacity to prevent, diagnose and treat TB in children in all age groups.
o        The WHO to accelerate in-country adoption and use of childhood TB guidelines.
o        Policy makers to adopt the existing and new WHO recommendations for childhood TB, evaluate implementation, scale-up and assess the impact of implementation strategies.
o        Civil society to demand equitable prevention, diagnostics, treatment and care services for childhood TB and to monitor the scale- up of these services.

To ensure that all children exposed to TB or suffering from TB are correctly managed and receive the appropriate treatment, the individuals and institutions signing on to this call to action, pledge to advocate for universal access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of TB for people of all ages.

We furthermore call on the international community to endorse this call for action to ensure that there is capacity to address the needs of children with TB.

To sign on to this call-to-action please reply with your name, country, and organization/affiliation (if appropriate) to


Share this

Children are Unknown Victims in Global TB Response

It is estimated that at least one million tuberculosis (TB) cases occur each year among children, and most of them in developing countries. These are conservative estimates because many children with TB are not notified, and many others live without access to proper diagnosis or treatment. This makes it difficult to calculate the true number of children affected by the disease. 

Childhood TB has not received the attention it deserves in the global TB response. The real tragedy is that children have been largely neglected in research, epidemiology and surveillance. “Children who are exposed to TB include those from poorer families, those in close contact with TB patients--especially infected relatives, malnourished children, and children living in overcrowded conditions. We lack the proper mechanisms to really help these infants and children.” says Zari Gill, World Vision’s director of infectious disease.

World Vision has specifically been working to draw attention to the impact of TB on children and to raise awareness in communities of the signs and potential effects of TB in children. Staff also work to strengthen local health systems to increase access to diagnosis and treatment, and to help communities monitor their TB patients to assure they complete their full course of TB treatment.

In its community-based response, World Vision trains local volunteers to conduct directly observed treatment short-course (DOTS) for TB treatment to help increase community knowledge about TB transmission, prevention and treatment. Training community volunteers contributes to the capacity of the local health system, freeing health staff time to focus on diagnosis and contact tracing, which is instrumental in the fight against TB. Contact tracing enables the community to identify where a person infected with TB contracted the disease, seeking to treat the disease at the source to prevent re-infection as well as further spread of the disease.

Globally, World Vision joins other organisations in its fight against TB. World Vision partners with the Stop TB Partnership and TB REACH. The TB REACH initiative of the Stop TB Partnership has a fast-track competitive selection of innovative projects, rapid disbursement of funds and a robust monitoring and evaluation system. TB REACH offers a lifeline by finding and treating people in the poorest, most vulnerable communities in the world. In areas with limited or nonexistent TB care, TB REACH supports innovative and effective techniques to find people with TB quickly, avert deaths, stop TB from spreading, and halt the development of drug-resistant strains. 

One of the newest projects funded by TB REACH is in Rwanda, where the World Vision team has launched the TB project on a national scale. In the first four months of the project in Rwanda, World Vision has helped to identify 154 new TB cases in adults and children, educated more than 1500 youth, obtained extensive media coverage, trained and equipped community health workers in three districts, and provided eight microscopes to local health facilities—necessary equipment for TB case detection.

Esperance Akayezu is a 24-year-old mother of two who was helped through this TB response project. Just six months ago Esperance believed dying was better than living. Since then, with the help of WV Rwanda’s tuberculosis (TB) response project, she has received diagnosis and treatment for her TB, as well as other assistance. She no longer despairs of life.

Esperance lives in a mud house with her pregnant sister and her two children, Uwase Divine and Ishimwe Prince, who are being treated for malnutrition. The entire family lives on sparse wages earned by local farm work. She has struggled to raise her two children in these circumstances, and her TB disease has put her children at risk of infection.

Esperance retells her first encounter with World Vision’s TB programme: “A few months ago, a community health worker who works with World Vision invited me to a TB screening. The next day, I went with her for screening. My results showed I was positive for TB, but, fortunately, HIV-negative. I was shocked and really needed some extra support.”

Since receiving help, Esperance is healthier and her children are protected from becoming infected with TB by their mother. Through community health workers trained by World Vision, Esperance receives regular home visits and medication. World Vision also assists with porridge, vegetable seeds and rabbits for her kitchen garden. She has gained 13 kilograms thanks to better nutrition.

“I thank World Vision and local health centre staff because they have advised me on several issues and provide counselling whenever I need it,” she said.

Thanks to generous sponsors, all TB patients have been supported through community-based DOTS, as well as small income generating activities such as small livestock (pigs, goats, rabbits). They also receive vegetable seeds and training about HIV and nutrition -- conducted especially for prevention and management of TB.

Read World Vision’s Call to Action to Prevent Childhood TB.


Share this

Global Health and Nutrition

A Call to Prioritise Children in the Global TB Response:

In the global response to tuberculosis (TB), children are the “silent sufferers.” Since they pose a low threat for transmission, children with TB have been relatively neglected. This is a stark violation of their right to health as per Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Attention is focused primarily on adults with TB because they are symptomatic, readily diagnosed and considered potential transmitters of infection.

Children are particularly vulnerable to severe disease and death due to TB. It is estimated that at least one million children develop TB each year..1 This unacceptably high toll of disease and death among children is made worse by the HIV epidemic. TB manifestations are more severe and progression to death is faster among HIV-positivchildren, yet they are at risk of diagnostic error and inappropriate treatment. Increased international travel and immigration have led to an increase in childhood TB rates in traditionally low burden, industrialised countries, and threaten to promote the emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant strains. Children with latent TB infection become a reservoir for future transmission when the disease reactivates in adulthood, fuelling future epidemics.2 We need to simultaneously address many risk factors for TB, especially HIV and AIDS and undernutrition3 as well as addressing the social determinants of tuberculosis4

A child usually gets TB infection from being exposed to a sputum-positive adult--usually a parent. Because of their immature immune systems, young children under age ten are especially at risk of not only becoming infected but of developing active tuberculosis.

Children also suffer when their mothers have TB, often requiring them to leave school to care for their family or leaving them as orphans when their mother dies. Tuberculosis is the third highest cause of death among women of reproductive age 5and therefore has a massive impact on the lives and health of children. Annually 700,000 women die of TB.6 Without rapid scale-up of TB programmes, as many as four million women will die between 2011 and 2015, leaving millions of children orphaned.

World Vision’s Experience:

World Vision works with children, families, communities and donors all over the world to improve the well-being of children. World Vision’s global Child Health Now campaign calls on governments to meet their commitments and increase their efforts to improve child health in order to meet MDG 4 by 2015. Throughout its experience with TB over the past decade, World Vision has identified critical needs and gaps in the response to TB among children, including:

- Children with TB are not detected: Diagnostic tests appropriate for children are not accessible.
- Children with TB are not notified: Glaring gaps in epidemiological data.
- Children with TB are not treated: Paediatric formulations and doses of drugs are not available, nor compatible for treatment with HIV.

World Vision’s Call on behalf of the “Silent Sufferers” of TB:

- Increase political commitment: Include a focus on childhood TB in global TB efforts, including the Global Plan to STOP TB, and ensure that 10% of global TB funding is designated to address TB in children.
- Heed the call to Children’s Rights: Address TB in children as a basic human right. - Improve point-of-care diagnostics for TB in children by 2015. - Ensure paediatric formulations and doses of TB Preventive Therapy and anti-TB drugs compatible with antiretroviral drugs for HIV treatment are available by 2015.
1 Guidance for National Tuberculosis Programmes on the management of tuberculosis in children, Stop TB Partnership,
2 Pediatric Tuberculosis: The Lancet Infectious Diseases
3 Malnutrition and Tuberculosis: Macallan DC
4 The Social Determinants of TB; From Evidence to Action: April 2011, Vol 101, No. 4 | American Journal of Public Health 654-662
6 WHO: Tuberculosis and Gender  


Share this

Understanding and Challenging TB stigma: Toolkit for Action

‘Understanding and challenging TB stigma’ has been developed in response to the need to address TB stigma especially where TB and HIV co-infection rates are high. The publication contains a range of participatory games, exercises and picture tools to help address TB stigma, suitable for a range of contexts and settings.

It was written by and for trainers and will help trainers plan and organise participatory educational sessions with community leaders or organised groups to raise awareness and promote practical action to challenge HIV and TB stigma and discrimination.

This toolkit was developed as part of the Alliance Africa regional stigma training programme through a partnership with ZAMBART (Zambia AIDS-Related Tuberculosis project) Project in Zambia involving participatory workshops with health-workers, people living with HIV and ex-TB patients. Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and the European Union were the main funders that supported the development of this toolkit.

This toolkit includes 19 participatory exercises with clear and easy to follow instructions aimed at exploring different issues related to TB and stigma:

Naming TB stigma through pictures

How has TB affected my life? (reflection)

Naming TB stigma in different contexts

Forms, effects and causes of TB stigma

Assessing baseline knowledge

Fears about getting TB (risk continuum)

Fears about getting TB at home

Countering myths and misconceptions

TB diagnosis and stigma

Do’s, Don’ts and DOTS

Challenging TB stigma in health facilities

TB-HIV link

The burden of secrecy

Sharing the burden of care

TB and human rights

How men and women experience TB stigma

Children and the wall of silence

To tell or not to tell (children and information)

Empowerment and action planning

Who is this toolkit for?

This toolkit is primarily intended for use by NGO support programmes in Africa who are working on, or intend to work on TB and HIV related issues. The toolkit will also be useful to NGOs and CBOs themselves as well as training organisations and individual trainers working on TB and HIV-related issues.

How can you get a copy of this toolkit?

Electronic copies:

· Click this link to download a PDF of Understanding and challenging TB and Stigma from the Alliance website (3mb).

Printed copies:

· You can order a free copy by replying to this email with TB and Stigma in the subject line. Please also confirm your postal address in your reply in case it has changed since we last contacted you.

Please note that only organisations working in Africa can request a printed copy and the quantity is limited to one per organisation.

How can you help more people get access to this toollkit?

We are keen to promote these resources to people working in Africa. Please pass this information to others who may not have access to the same information as you by mentioning this new toolkit in your e-mail group or similar forum; or on your website by using the link above.

Garry Robson

Communications Assistant

International HIV/AIDS Alliance

Share this

World TB Day - March 24th

24 March marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch detected the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. This was a first step towards diagnosing and curing tuberculosis.  World TB Day raises awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease. One-third of the world's population is currently infected with TB.  The Stop TB Partnership, a network of organizations and countries fighting TB, organizes the Day to highlight the scope of the disease and how to prevent and cure it.

Share this

Topline Media Messages for World TB Day 2011

Everyone in the world who needs TB care should be able to get it. That is not happening now.

Proof points/secondary messages:

• A third of people with TB are not reached with accurate diagnosis and appropriate care--that's about three million people each year. Most of them are in vulnerable and marginalized groups such as prisoners, slum dwellers, migrant workers, and drug users, or are living in poverty pockets.

• Civil society, health workers and businesses need to team up to drive universal access to TB care.

• In the 21st century, no one should die from TB, a curable disease. But at least 8 million people will die unnecessarily between now and 2015 if we don't take action.

2. Investing in TB saves lives - and TB is a cost-effective investment.

Proof points/secondary messages:

• It costs as little as $100 to provide life-saving care for drugsensitive TB in many developing countries.

• In 2006 the Disease Control Priorities Project counted TB treatment among the ten "best buys" in public health (DCPP, Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries. 2006, Oxford University Press: New York. p. 289-309.)

• In 2009 researchers reported that countries could earn up to 10 times what they invest in TB care. (Economic Benefit of Tuberculosis Control, Ramanan Laxminarayan, Eili Klein, Christopher Dye, Katherine Floyd, Sarah Darley, Olusoji Adey here)

• In 2008 the Copenhagen Consensus ranked TB case finding and treatment fourth most cost-effective among interventions to control disease (CCC. Copenhagen Consensus 2008. 2008 [cited 2010 April 15]; Available here).


3. New genetic tests for TB will soon make it possible to rapidly identify everyone who needs TB treatment.

Proof points/secondary messages:

• Progress on rapid TB tests offers lots of promise, but we must also ensure that all will have access to the new test and that those who are diagnosed have access to high-quality TB care

• For every 100 people living with HIV who have MDR-TB: traditional microscopy will detect zero. Xpert will detect 95.

• For every 100 people living with HIV who have active, drugsusceptible TB: traditional microscopy will detect 40. Xpert 70-80

• 1 Xpert machine (the 4-module model) can test 4,000 people per year. Total cost is $100,000

• Greater investment in research will take us to the next critical step: a cheap, simple rapid TB test that can be used in any basic health care setting and requires little technical knowledge.

• The current treatment for TB is very long - six months or more. A new four-month treatment is on the horizon, but will only come to market if there is sufficient investment.

• We will not eliminate TB without a vaccine that is safe and effective in preventing the disease in people of all ages.

4. No one living with HIV should die from TB.

Proof points/secondary messages:

• There has been a huge investment in life-saving antiretroviral treatment, but TB takes the lives of far too many people infected with HIV and is threatening progress.

• Two million people living with HIV will die of TB between now and 2015 if we don't intensify efforts.

• All TB patients should be tested for HIV and all people in HIV care should be screened for TB. In places where TB represents a risk all people living with HIV should be receiving preventive treatment or anti-TB drugs as appropriate.

• In June, global leaders will meet at the UN in New York to seek a way forward on ending deaths from TB among people with HIV.

Share this

Civil Society Campaigns


Share this

Call to Action: Make your voice heard by Obama: March to the US consulate on June 17th to save lives!

Dear Colleagues

This is a call for the NGO Sector to support this campaign led by the TAC and endorsed by numerous organisations.  
We are asking you to do 2 things:
Read the attached letter outlining the campaign and what we are calling for, and then endorse it. Send to as many orgnisations and networks to endorse and support. Sign the letter and send it to Catherine Tomlinson at the Treatment Action Campaign (contact details below).
2.       JOIN THE MARCH:
On 17 June we will be marching to the US Consulate in Johannesburg to make United States President Barack Obama aware of the deaths that will result from his anti-treatment policies. We will hand over a Memorandum to senior US government officials including Deputy President Joe Biden who is visiting for the World Cup. We call on the NGO Sector to mobilise and support the march, send this call far and wide within your networks.

If you would like to know more about the march, please contact  Catherine Tomlinson at the Treatment Action Campaign email  or call (0) 21 422 1700 .

 We are calling on President Barack Obama:

  to reverse the funding cuts for HIV and to ensure that PEPFAR continues to expand funding to meet universal access targets.

We are calling on the United States and Europe:

  to replenish the Global Fund on AIDS TB and Malaria (GFATM) to meet universal access. The Global Fund has indicated that it must raise between $17 and $20 billion for its upcoming round to continue to expand its programmes. nbsp; The United States and Europe must publicly guarantee that this funding is made available to meet the expectations that they themselves have created by their commitments to universal access.

We are calling on President Zuma and Health Minister Motsoaledi:

;  to represent the needs of Africa during this year’s global forums on the MDGs. < To lead developing countries in echoing our calls for expanded and sustainable funding for HIV.


TAC has mobilised branches and members to attend the march on 17 June. The expected figures include 1500 people from Gauteng, 800 people from Mpumalanga , 600 people from Limpopo and 65 people from the Free State.

By the end of today Phillip will email all partners pick up points in each province.


TAC has sent out the letters to Obama, Biden and Zuma to all media. TAC has also sent out a press statement announcing the march and with background of the march.

MSF has also published information on the M&G thought leader blog and is preparing an editorial to be published next week. Have other partners sent out statements?

TAC Ekurhuleni has secured a spot on KhaziFM to mobilize communities in Ekurhuleni to join the march. Are other districts raising awareness about the march?

The street posters advertising the march will go up on Monday.

On Monday morning, TAC and partners will send out a press statement on the march as well as march and press conference details. All partners should send this off on their media lists.

On Tuesday the press conference will be held at the COSATU offices in Johannesburg. There will be a TAC, MSF and COSATU speaker.

What else can we do? Will work on a facebook page over the weekend. Any ideas from partners?


The posters, pamphlets, t-shirts and banner will be delivered to the TAC office on Monday. MSF will be bringing 20 000 kites and XX paper shoes.

March permission and memorandum:

We have received permission to hold the march and will be gathering in George Lea Park at 10:00 am.

The US ambassador has responded to our letters. (will forward response to partners). TAC is trying to organize to meet with representatives of the US Embassy over the weekend to organize who will accept the memorandum.

Please see attached posters for the resources for health march on the 17th June, please all offices print and put them up in the office. Also attached are details of pick up points in Gauteng.


More details to be sent.

We call on you to join the march. AIDS is not over. Be seen. Be heard by the world while they are watching the World Cup played in our country.

Thank you


Share this

Civil Society Consensus Statement. 10/10

A ten point agenda for saving and bettering lives

October 2010
Meeting the challenges of HIV treatment and prevention through independent mobilisation and work through the SA national aids council (SANAC)

CABSA decided to endorse the Consensus Statement sent to government and SANAC.  The finalised document as it was sent is attached. The statement was also endorsed at the COSATU-civil society conference. By mid November 2010 65 organisations indicated their support.

The Deputy President, Minister of Health and CEO of SANAC are all aware of this statement.  Minister Motsoaledi has read the statement, and SANAC Deputy President Mark Heywood handed it directly to Deputy President Motlanthe.

See the document attached below

The document articulates the concerns of civil society about the challenges around HIV and TB prevention, and the malfunctioning of the SANAC Secretariat. The document makes recommendations as well as outlines demands for SANAC to play its role in co-ordinating and supporting   sectors.

The demands are:

1.    We Demand Sustained Political Leadership and Engagement from the Highest Level of Government on an effective and efficient HIV response!

2.     We Demand a Unified Communications Strategy on HIV and TB Prevention!

3.    We Support the HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign – but implementation must be drastically improved!

4.    We Demand the integration of Community Health Care Workers (CCWs) into the health system!

5.    We Demand a Human Resources for Health plan by March 2011!

6.    We demand expanded access to improved ART regimens, better HIV and TB drug regimens & TB Integration!

7.    We Demand a Plan for Sustainable National and International Financing of the HIV and TB Response!

8.    We demand Social Assistance for people who are chronically ill!

9.    We demand that SANAC be revived as an effective and accountable institution driven by civil society priorities!

10.    Build independent, effective, accountable Civil Society organisations!

Please circulate and discuss the document in your organizations and networks, and forward your input and endorsements to Kate Paterson []


PDF icon Civil_Society_Consensus_Statement.pdf689.19 KB
Share this

OSLO Declaration on HIV Criminalisation. 2/12

Prepared by international civil society in Oslo, Norway on 13th February 2012

1. A growing body of evidence suggests that the criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, potential exposure and non-intentional transmission is doing more harm than good in terms of its impact on public health and human rights.[1]

2. A better alternative to the use of the criminal law are measures that create an environment that enables people to seek testing, support and timely treatment, and to safely disclose their HIV status.[2]

Download this declaration here(PDF, 117.32 KB, 5pg)
Sign the Declaration

3. Although there may be a limited role for criminal law in rare cases in which people transmit HIV with malicious intent, we prefer to see people living with HIV supported and empowered from the moment of diagnosis, so that even these rare cases may be prevented. This requires a non-punitive, non-criminal HIV prevention approach centred within communities, where expertise about, and understanding of, HIV issues is best found.[3]

4. Existing HIV-specific criminal laws should be repealed, in accordance with UNAIDS recommendations.[4] If, following a thorough evidence-informed national review, HIV-related prosecutions are still deemed to be necessary they should be based on principles of proportionality, foreseeability, intent, causality and non-discrimination; informed by the most-up-to-date HIV-related science and medical information; harm-based, rather than risk-of-harm based; and be consistent with both public health goals and international human rights obligations.[5]

5. Where the general law can be, or is being, used for HIV-related prosecutions, the exact nature of the rights and responsibilities of people living with HIV under the law should be clarified, ideally through prosecutorial and police guidelines, produced in consultation with all key stakeholders, to ensure that police investigations are appropriate and to ensure that people with HIV have adequate access to justice.

We respectfully ask Ministries of Health and Justice and other relevant policymakers and criminal justice system actors to also take into account the following in any consideration about whether or not to use criminal law in HIV-related cases:

6. HIV epidemics are driven by undiagnosed HIV infections, not by people who know their HIV-positive status.[6] Unprotected sex includes risking many possible eventualities – positive and negative – including the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections such as HIV. Due to the high number of undiagnosed infections, relying on disclosure to protect oneself – and prosecuting people for non-disclosure – can and does lead to a false sense of security.

7. HIV is just one of many sexually transmitted or communicable diseases that can cause long-term harm.[7] Singling out HIV with specific laws or prosecutions further stigmatises people living with and affected by HIV. HIV-related stigma is the greatest barrier to testing, treatment uptake, disclosure and a country’s success in “getting to zero new infections, AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination”.[8]

8. Criminal laws do not change behaviour rooted in complex social issues, especially behaviour that is based on desire and impacted by HIV-related stigma.[9] Such behaviour is changed by counselling and support for people living with HIV that aims to achieve health, dignity and empowerment.[10]

9. Neither the criminal justice system nor the media are currently well-equipped to deal with HIV-related criminal cases.[11] Relevant authorities should ensure adequate HIV-related training for police, prosecutors, defence lawyers, judges, juries and the media.

10. Once a person’s HIV status has been involuntarily disclosed in the media, it will always be available through an internet search. People accused of HIV-related ‘crimes’ for which they are not (or should not be found) guilty have a right to privacy. There is no public health benefit in identifying such individuals in the media; if previous partners need to be informed for public health purposes, ethical and confidential partner notification protocols should be followed.[12]

This document is also available in French, German, Italian, and Spanish here


[1] UNAIDS. Report of the Expert Meeting on the Scientific, Medical, Legal and Human Rights Aspects of Criminalisation of HIV Non-disclosure, Exposure and Transmission, 31 August-  2 September 2011. Geneva, February 2012.

[2] UNAIDS/UNDP. Policy Brief: Criminalization of HIV Transmission. Geneva, July 2008; Open Society Institute. Ten Reasons to Oppose the Criminalization of HIV Exposure or Transmission. 2008; IPPF,GNP+ and ICW. Verdict on a Virus. 2008. See also: IPPF. Verdict on a Virus (documentary) 2011.

[3] GNP+/UNAIDS. Positive Health Dignity and Prevention: A Policy Framework. Amsterdam/Geneva, January 2011.

[4] UNAIDS/UNDP. Policy Brief: Criminalization of HIV Transmission. Geneva, July 2008.

[5] UNAIDS. (2012) Op. cit.

[6] Marks G et al. Estimating sexual transmission of HIV from persons aware and unaware that they are infected with the virus in the USA. AIDS 20(10):1447-50, 2006; Hall HI et al. HIV transmissions from persons with HIV who are aware and unaware of their infection, United States. AIDS 26, online edition. DOI: 10.1097/QAD013e328351f73f, 2012.

[7] Bernard EJ, Hanssens C et al. Criminalisation of HIV Non-disclosure, Exposure and Transmission: Scientific, Medical, Legal and Human Rights Issues. UNAIDS, Geneva, February 2012; Carter M. Hepatitis C surpasses HIV as a cause of death in the US., 21 February 2012.

[8] UNAIDS. Getting to Zero: 2011-2015 Strategy. Geneva, December 2010.

[9] Bernard EJ and Bennett-Carlson R. Criminalisation of HIV Non-disclosure, Exposure and Transmission: Background and Current Landscape. UNAIDS, Geneva, February 2012.

[10] GNP+/UNAIDS (2011) Op. cit.

[11] Bernard EJ and Bennett-Carlson R (2012) Op. cit.

[12] UNAIDS. Opening up the HIV/AIDS epidemic: Guidance on encouraging beneficial disclosure, ethical partner counselling & appropriate use of HIV case-reporting. Geneva, 2000.


Share this

Global Fund Call to Action. 04/12/2011

PLEASE SIGN ON TO THE CALL TO ACTION BELOW, you can send your reply to, and please also put up the Call to Action on your websites.

The cancellation by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria of all new programming until 2014 is unacceptable. This decision will cost lives and cripple international efforts to deliver on health-related goals, breaking promises made to some of the world’s most vulnerable people, and punishing the Global Fund's success of the last ten years. 

People living with HIV and their supporters, as well as communities affected by TB or malaria, are extremely concerned about the damage under-funding of the Global Fund is causing. We therefore demand that:


· The Global Fund Board and Secretariat mobilise the resources necessary to scale-up the response to the three diseases through a new funding opportunity for 2012, estimated at US$2 billion.[1]


·       Donors to the Global Fund – particularly governments – urgently deliver on the commitments they made to meet health goals[2] and to fund the Global Fund at its Replenishment Meeting in 2010.[3]


·       The Global Fund hold an emergency donor conference and issue a new call for proposals before the International AIDS Conference in July 2012 to fully fund the scale-up of programmes that will fundamentally changing the course of these three epidemics, and put the world on the path towards ending AIDS.

This is 200 days from 1 January. 200 days to save the Global Fund.

We cannot wait until 2014 for the Global Fund to support further scale-up of programmes and life-saving treatment. We urgently call on the Global Fund to meet the timeline above and for donors and affected countries to ensure that interventions with the highest impact on the three epidemics are supported.

The clock is ticking. Millions of lives are at stake.

[1] See “Resource Scenarios 2011-2013”, p 15. Scenario 2 estimates the cost of a new Round in 2011 to be US$2.7 billion. An estimated US$0.6 billion is available in uncommitted assets for continuation of essential programs, which would be assumed to be included in funding requests through new proposals. US$1.1 billion of the funding required could be raised if all 2010 donor pledges to the Global Fund were met.

[2] Including the UN health MDGs ( and the UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS (

[3] The US contribution partially falls outside the replenishment and is under threat by Congress; Belgium, Denmark, EC and the Netherlands have not contributed their 2010 pledges and Denmark has since announced a pledge reduction; Spain, Italy, and Ireland did not pledge and have outstanding payments from previous years. For 2010 pledges, see$11_7_billion_to_the_Global_Fund_for_next_three_years/ for pledges and

Share this

Petition to the World Council of Churches - Please support!

Health and Healing – Healing is part of the churches’ mission and has to remain at the core of the work of Christian communities as well as the World Council of Churches.

What’s it all about?

For more than 2000 years, acts of healing have characterized the life and essence of Christian communities. They are central to the mission of local parishes as well as to the charitable work of churches around the world.

We are worried that issues of 'Health and Healing' will not be represented as an independent programme within the World Council of Churches following the General Assembly in Busan in November this year.

What needs to happen?

Together with our partners we have drafted an appeal pleading to preserve the WCC’s health work. The Appeal can be read below.

We are asking you to take note of this document and to add weight to the concern through your signature. We are collecting the names of all supporters and will forward them to the WCC’s Central Committee.


PDF icon WCC_Health_Petition.pdf53.53 KB
Share this