Feature story

Involving communities in national AIDS responses

11 June 2007

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Action on AIDS requires greater coordination among
partners to ensure that actions are not duplicated
and resources are used most effectively and
efficiently.

In many countries, communities were the first to mobilize in response to AIDS, and their initiatives often laid the foundations for the development of the national response.

Building on this, experience has shown that action on AIDS requires greater coordination among partners to ensure that actions are not duplicated and resources are used most effectively and efficiently.

As a result, UNAIDS in collaboration with the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO), the African Council of AIDS Service Organizations (AfriCASO) and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance are launching Coordinating with Communities – Guidelines on the Involvement of the Community Sector in the Coordination of National AIDS Responses. The aim of the new guidelines is to strengthen the active and meaningful involvement of the community sector in the development, implementation and monitoring of coordinated national AIDS responses.

“While there is widespread acknowledgement that involving the community sector in the coordination of national AIDS responses will increase effectiveness, it often does not translate into actual meaningful involvement,” said Kieran Daly, ICASO Director for Policy and Communications.

“The community sector brings to the coordinating table vital technical knowledge and experiences that can help ensure national AIDS responses meet the real needs of those most affected.  For this to work, all stakeholders need to be open to genuine collaboration, using these guidelines to build greater understanding of how to support active and meaningful involvement of the community sector,” he added.

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The new guidelines aim to strengthen the active
and meaningful involvement of the community
sector in the development, implementation and
monitoring of coordinated national AIDS responses.

The guidelines aim to provide practical options from which communities and stakeholders can identify the actions that are most appropriate and useful to their own contexts.

The guidelines also aim to promote a set of universal principles, such as human rights and gender equality that are relevant to all countries and contexts. In particular, these guidelines are underpinned by the recognition that the greater involvement of people living with HIV will provide for more effective national responses to AIDS.

The use of the guidelines will be affected by factors such as the current capacity of the community sector’s organizations and networks, and the relationship between community groups and other stakeholders. However, in any country, these guidelines can be used as:

• A tool to assess the current strengths and weaknesses of community sector involvement in all national AIDS coordinating bodies and processes.

• A tool to develop a multi-sectoral action plan to increase and improve community sector involvement in all national AIDS coordinating bodies and processes.

• A tool for advocating to improve and fund both community sector involvement in national AIDS coordinating bodies and processes and also community sector networking and coordination.

• A basis for developing local or district-level guidelines on community sector involvement in AIDS coordinating bodies and processes.

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Efforts to increase a harmonized response to AIDS
can only be successfully achieved with the active
and meaningful involvement of the community
sector.

The guidelines were developed in response to requests from groups of people living with HIV, community organizations, and groups and individuals from other sectors who recognized that efforts to increase a harmonized response to AIDS­­­­ – in line with the ‘Three Ones’ principles – can only be successfully achieved with the active and meaningful involvement of the community sector.

“The involvement of the community sector is critical in our efforts to move towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support”, said Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director. “The community sector is at the forefront of identifying the needs of and providing services to affected communities. Therefore they deserve a stronger voice in planning and coordination of national AIDS responses. With these guidelines we are investing in the capacity of the community sector to claim their rightful role among the partners in the AIDS response.”


All photo credits: Gideon Mendel for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, 2004.


Download Coordinating with Communities – Guidelines on the Involvement of the Community Sector in the Coordination of National AIDS Responses:

Download flyer (pdf, 873 KB)

Part A - Background to Involving Communitiesen | fr | es | ru ) (pdf, 791 KB | 799 KB | 792 KB | 2,27 MB)

Part B - Taking action to involve communities ( en | fr | es | ru ) (pdf, 568 KB | 575 KB | 565 KB | 1,48 MB)
 
Part C - Action Cards ( en | fr | es | ru ) (pdf, 992 KB | 1 MB | 951 KB | 2,34 MB)

Workshop Facilitation Notes ( en | fr| ru ) (pdf, 395 KB | 400 KB | 347 KB)


Related links:

Visit International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO) web site

Read more on the 'Three Ones'

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