On Wednesday September 21, 2016, the United States government through the PEPFAR once again supplemented the Zambian government’s efforts to reduce the burden of HIV/AIDS in Zambia by providing community based grants totaling US$10, 000 to support sustainable programmes in HIV prevention, orphans and governance issues pertaining to HIV and AIDS. The American Embassy in Zambia issued the following statement soon after the event:
The United States government, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in collaboration with the National AIDS Council (NAC), announced 16 awardees of the 2016 PEPFAR Small Grants Programme. PEPFAR’s small grants programme provides one-time grants for up to ZMW100, 000 ($10,000) to support community-led sustainable programmes in HIV prevention; orphans and vulnerable children and their households; and democracy and governance related to Zambia’s HIV response.
PEPFAR, with the support of the American people, will award a total of over 1.6 million Kwacha, or $160,000, to 16 community- and faith-based non-governmental organisations in Zambia. Of the 16 organizations—selected from more than 160 applicants—six will work in HIV prevention, nine to support orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and their caregivers, and one to promote democracy and governance related to Zambia’s HIV response.
“We are here today because of the essential three-way partnership among the U.S. government, the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the National AIDS Council, and civil society, represented by these organisations,” said U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz.
Dr. Jabbin Mulwanda, National AIDS Council Director General, was also a keynote speaker at the event.
This year, the PEPAR Small Grants Programme added democracy and governance related to Zambia’s HIV response to the program areas. Organisations are building awareness around the community’s responsibility to protect orphans and vulnerable children, and engaging governments to increase and improve support for persons affected by HIV.
“The addition of democracy and governance as a programme area presents an exciting opportunity for civil society to help shape Zambia’s HIV response,” said Bethany Baxter, acting PEPFAR Zambia country coordinator. “Advocacy is a key component to ensuring a sustainable HIV response in Zambia.”
The PEPFAR Small Grants Programme awardees are addressing HIV prevention, challenges for orphans and vulnerable children in their communities, and promoting democracy and governance in innovative ways this year: through early childhood activities to ensure improved learning and health outcomes and involving men to promote mother-to-child transmission of HIV, sensitising communities about condom use in market places, and engaging the government to address child protection policies. A common theme among all of the awardees is community involvement and dedication.
Well, we can only thank the American government in general and PEPFAR in particular for this gesture and hope that other partners can come on board and help in mitigating the effects of HIV and AIDS in Zambia. Thanks also to the National AIDS Council for being the custodians of the recipient organisations to ensure that the funds will be utilised according to the terms of reference.