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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

 
 

 

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HIV and AIDS Campaign-Faith base-#1

Bulletin no. 2

25 November 2002

Part 2

http://www.e-alliance.ch/

Contents

1.        A global poster campaign against stigma and discrimination

2.        Some HIV/AIDS Campaign Highlights

3.        Overview of the Covenant of Action Against AIDS  in Germany

4.        The Ecumenical Presence at the International AIDS Conference

5.        US Churches Meet on HIV/AIDS Advocacy in Washington, D.C.

6.        World AIDS Day 2002

7.        Country specific activities around World AIDS Day

8.        Alliance Global Consultation on HIV/AIDS – Germany on 25 to 27 May 2003

9.        XV International AIDS Conference – Bangkok on 11 to 16 July 2004

10.    NGO Reps on the Board of Directors of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – URGENT Call for Nominations!

11.    Resources on the Web

In preparation for World AIDS Day 2002, this second issue of the HIV/AIDS Newsletter introduces a new Alliance poster campaign against stigma and discrimination, reviews the national HIV/AIDS campaign in Germany; reports on the ecumenical presence at the last International AIDS Conference (Barcelona, Spain, July 2002) and an ecumenical meeting in Washington, D.C., on HIV/AIDS advocacy; and looks towards international events such as World AIDS Day 2002 and specific national activities organized on this occasion, the Alliance HIV/AIDS consultation to be held in Germany (May 2003) and the XV International AIDS Conference (Bangkok, Thailand 2004).

1. A global poster campaign against stigma and discrimination

On December 1 2002 the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance will launch a global poster campaign against HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination.

The competition will stimulate people to think, talk and draw about HIV/AIDS and discrimination. It is designed to raise awareness of discrimination that people living with HIV/AIDS face on a daily basis.  A toolkit of resources on how to participate in the competition and an educational video about stigma and discrimination will be provided to national steering committees and local churches, schools and organizations. Preliminary toolkit materials will be available December 1st on the Alliance website. Groups and individuals, children, teens and adults, professionals and non-professionals are invited to participate.

The competition will be the basis of a global exhibition of selected posters. In addition national competitions and local and national initiatives will collect, display and use the posters. All submissions to the Alliance office will be posted on the website and will be included on a CD-ROM which will become a  global resource in the fight against stigma and discrimination toward people living with HIV/AIDS.

Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance Global Poster Campaign

http://www.e-alliance.ch/postercampaign.htm

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2. Some HIV/AIDS Campaign Highlights

A growing interest and action continues to develop and strengthen the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance’s HIV/AIDS campaign.  It is impossible to recount all of these activities, but some highlights are reported here.

In their May meeting, the HIV/AIDS Strategy Group agreed to focus the campaign for the coming year on stigma and discrimination.

The production of a CD-ROM collection of resources was a wonderful exercise of communicating with Alliance participants, collecting their work in this area, and developing a user friendly tool to share these materials.  The collection has been very popular and appreciated with the supply of 5,000 nearly exhausted.  It is also available on the Alliance website at: http://www.e-alliance.ch/barcelona/welcome.html

Following the creation of the WCC’s Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative in Africa (out of the Narobi consultation), the Alliance Coordinator was invited to serve on the International Reference Group as a technical advisor and attended the first meeting of this group in September at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey.  The next meeting (one per year) will be held in Africa.

We have continued interesting dialogue and networking with the Communications Program of the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.  They are seen as the global leader in effective messages around HIV/AIDS prevention.  They made a presentation on their work with churches to the ecumenical gathering we facilitated in Barcelona, and in the future, they may be a source of funding for some Alliance activities.

A number of Alliance participants and the Coordinator will attend the Christian Conference of Asia’s consultation on “Protecting Rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Asia” in late November.  This will provide a special opportunity for Alliance participants to meet in Asia, give higher profile to the Alliance, and to hold a series of meetings in Bangkok around planning and coordination for the 2004 International AIDS Conference.

We continue to have a very good working collaboration with the Partnerships Unit of UNAIDS and are in regular contact.  We share information and help one another to extend our networks.  Particular collaboration includes:

¨    Planning for a UNAIDS sponsored consultation of theologians in Namibia in August

¨    Developing dialogue and collaboration with GNP+ (Global Network of People living with HIV/AIDS)

¨    Planning to help build the capacity of UNAIDS to use networks of Christian communicators; we convened a meeting in late October including WCC, LWF, WAAC, FI, ACT, ENI.

¨    A dialogue with the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of UNAIDS on measures related to governments’ UNGASS commitments, and the possibility of including measures for increasing abstinence and faithfulness, in addition to condom use

The Alliance supported candidates for the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). Christoph Benn and Fideon Mwombeki have worked faithfully and effectively on the Board and carried the concerns of the Alliance to this work in many aspects.  In addition, they have shared regular reports, taken part in conference calls, meetings with Alliance participants, and made presentations to groups of participants (Geneva, New York, and Washington, D.C.).  We have seen quite some success in this area of our work;  particularly around transparency of processes, increased access to faith-based organizations, and use of GFATM resources for the purchase of generic drugs.

We hear from many Alliance participants about new initiatives underway, which may interest you:

¨    Norwegian Church Aid has launched an HIV/AIDS advocacy pilot project with partners in three countries amh@nca.no

¨    Christian Medical Association of India is planning a study conducted with the network of people living with HIV/AIDS about the services and welcoming attitude of CMAI hospitals cmai@del3.vsnl.net.in

¨    FECCIWA is holding an HIV/AIDS “stocktaking” exercise among the churches in West Africa cmid@africaonline.com.gh

¨    The World Council of Church and Caritas Internationalis has initiated planning to co-sponsor a “Consultation on New Partnerships, Networking, and Collaboration Among Faith-based Organizations, UN Organizations and Foundations in the Response to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria”. Emphasis will be placed on resource mobilization for faith-based organizations, expansion of their role in shaping and advocating within the Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) to respond to these global health emergencies. The meeting will be hosted by the All Africa Conference of Churches

Manoj.Kurian@wcc-coe.org or Rvitillo@compuserve.com

¨    Christian Aid is planning to undertake research on the churches’ response to HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa CFenton@christian-aid.org

The Alliance’s HIV/AIDS Strategy Group will hold its next meeting 27-28 May 2003 in Berlin.

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3. Overview of the Covenant of Action Against AIDS  in Germany

Shortly after the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance was created in December 2000, seven German organizations joined this new alliance. All of them were church-related agencies that for some years had been working on HIV/AIDS together with their partners overseas. They were predominantly of Protestant origin and formed an initiative group with the vision to establish a network in Germany that would promote the goals and objectives of the EAA.

A secretariat was established at the German Institute for Medical Mission in Tübingen. Some of the first activities were the production of a newsletter, the publication of a handbook to provide essential information on HIV/AIDS, the active promotion of a concept to attract new members to work on a permanent structure and to organize public events that would draw the attention of the media and general public to the importance of addressing the devastating global problem of HIV/AIDS.

An appeal has been formulated to serve as a common platform for the network.  It formulates the main goals and objectives of the German campaign that are inspired by the plan of action of the EAA. However, the appeal had to be adapted to reflect the specific concerns and opportunities for lobby work in Germany. The main objectives are to urge the German government to increase its funding for global HIV/AIDS initiatives and to lobby the German pharmaceutical industry to provide essential medication for the treatment of AIDS and its opportunistic infections at production cost to ensure universal access to care and treatment. The appeal has been used as a lobby tool with groups collecting signatures to support our efforts. More than 25,000 people have signed the appeal so far.

It was decided that only a strong link to the community could raise hopes to become a movement creating the political pressure required to achieve the goals. In several parts of Germany members of the network mobilized their constituencies, e.g. congregations, groups working on development issues, groups with established partnerships overseas etc. Up to now, about 1,000 groups representing grassroots communities have formally joined the network.

A key event was a concert tour of the Libertas Choir from Stellenbosch/South Africa in December 2001. The Choir held performances in 13 major German cities and the concerts were used to alert the media, to promote the idea of a covenant of action against AIDS and to solicit political support. A special highlight was the concert in the residence of the German President Johannes Rau in Berlin, who publicly declared his support for this network and its goals.

By early 2002 the network had grown to about 20 organizations and by then included most of the major Roman Catholic Organizations active in the fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as number of secular institutions. A decision had been made to include as many organizations as possible as long as they were able to subscribe to the appeal and to support the goals. Major secular members now include the German branch of Medecins sans Frontiers (MSF) and non-governmental organizations that were created in Germany to support people living with HIV/AIDS (AIDS-Hilfe).

Political activities in 2002 concentrated on pressurizing the German government to increase funding to address the global AIDS problem. The national parliamentary election provided a good opportunity for political lobby work. All members at grassroot and institutional level received draft letters to be addressed to Bundeskanzler Schröder and instructions on how to engage their local parliamentary candidates in debates about the importance of a strong international response to HIV/AIDS. Many groups reported a generally positive response and it seems that the campaign has had some effect. At the International AIDS Conference in Barcelona the German minister for economic cooperation announced that the German government would increase its contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria from 150 to 200 million Euro in five years. They also introduced a plan on how they would increase their funding for global AIDS initiatives over the next few years in case of re-election. After the elections in September 2002, confirming the same coalition of parties in government, the network will have an important role to monitor whether the government will keep its promises made during the election campaign and to continue their lobby work for more resources.

Another activity has been a national poster competition. Artists and art colleges had been asked to submit posters expressing the goals of the covenant of action in a creative way. More than 180 posters were submitted. A renowned jury selected the best 10 exhibits that were awarded prizes in a public event immediately before the Barcelona Conference. About eighty posters were selected to be included in a catalogue and to go on tour in Germany. Several members of the network are planning national advertising campaigns using these posters and promoting the logo of the covenant - a red ribbon wrapped around the globe.

The covenant of action against AIDS will be formally launched on November 17, 2002 with presumably close to 40 institutional members and a strong network of groups and individuals throughout Germany. It has been decided that the campaign should continue at least until the year 2005. The goals of the UNGASS on HIV/AIDS will be used as an overall guide and its indicators to monitor progress.

For 2003 the Covenant will try to increase its presence in the public and the media through events, press conferences and actions. Another staff person in the secretariat will be employed as of January 2003 with the main task to improve media relations and event management.  A particular highlight will be the Ecumenical Kirchentag in Berlin at the end of May that is expected to attract more than 120,000 people.

(submitted by Christoph Benn)

Part 2

 

 

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