Five Humanitarian Groups Form Initiative to Help African Children Affected by HIV/AIDS
Five international humanitarian organizations have teamed up to launch the Hope for African Children Initiative, a collaborative effort that will aid African children whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS, according to a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation release. CARE, Plan International, Save the Children, the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa and Religions for Peace will all participate in the effort. Designed to serve as a "bridge" connecting public and private donors with the needs of African communities, the Hope for African Children Initiative will provide funding and technical support to local organizations, caregivers and religious communities that are working to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. Recipients will use the funding to expand and coordinate their efforts to provide services such as family support, HIV testing and counseling, succession planning and educational support. Dr. Pat Youri, executive director of the initiative, said, "The partners recognize that the most effective responses to this tragedy will come from within Africa's communities, and that the best way for agencies and governments to help is to provide those communities with the tools to strengthen the work they are already doing."
The initiative has four goals: raising awareness and reducing the stigma of HIV/AIDS; extending the life of the "parent-child relationship" through HIV prevention and treatment, as well as nutrition and home-based care; preparing families for "the loss of a parent" through succession planning and psychosocial and economic support; and ensuring that children affected by HIV/AIDS will have continued access to education and health care following the death of one or both parents. The initiative is currently beginning operations in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda and will extend to additional countries over the next five years. Funding for the project will be provided by a variety of public and private donors, including UNICEF, USAID and the World Bank. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced yesterday that it has given a three-year, $10 million grant for the initiative. The effort will also receive a portion of the proceeds from the new Artists Against AIDS Worldwide recording of Marvin Gaye's classic "What's Going On?", a CD single featuring rock and pop musicians from around the world that goes on sale today. Organizations involved in the initiative have set a fundraising goal of $100 million over the next five years to make the effort fully operational through the next decade (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation release, 10/29).