HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Initiatives
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks more than the human immune system. It attacks the social and economic systems of nations. Infected or not, the entire population is affected by the simultaneous strain on individuals, families, communities, the national workforce and increased demands on the infrastructure. Social coping mechanisms are stretched to the limit and often break under the pressure of the epidemic.
In 1990, ACI participated in the design of the United Nation Development Program’s HIV and Development Training Program. Using this program as a model, we have worked since that time to strengthen the community response to HIV/AIDS, and mitigate the social and health problems related to the epidemic.
Through training, technical and organizational assistance, information, education and advocacy, ACI promotes a decentralized, multi-sector approach to addressing HIV/AIDS.
Our activities are designed to complement government health services and reinforce services provided by community-based organizations and the private sector. In 2001, we began working with associations for People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), to provide support for those affected and facilitate their participation in the response to the epidemic.
Our Health Department has a permanent staff of 15 including a Doctor of Pharmacy and a health specialist with long community experience, both of whom provide technical and administrative coordination for our program. ACI’s five caseworkers provide assistance and training to community-based organizations in the regions of Dakar, Fatick, Kaffrine, Kaolack, Kolda, Louga, Sedhiou, Thies and Ziguinchor.
Our team is actively involved in:
- Strengthening the capacity and skills of national and community-based organizations
- Supporting advocacy and policy dialogue initiatives
- Developing systemic responses to HIV/AIDS in the Education Sector
- Designing and implementing research and studies
- Transforming the results of scientific research into user-friendly, advocacy and policy dialogue documents
- Developing Information, Education and Communication (IEC) documents and learning tools
- Disseminating health-related information and training techniques
- Designing and facilitating responsive, participatory training
- Building communication networks
ACI has collaborated with numerous international organizations, including USAID, the Population Council, Family Health International, Family Care International, Lutheran World Relief and the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). ACI has trained Peace Corps staff and volunteers and worked with the Peace Corps to develop an AIDS film for Senegalese truck drivers. We have conducted HIV and Development training for government, civil society and the private sector in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Senegal and Togo.
ACI has trained editors and journalists in seven West African nations on the epidemic, its social and health impacts, and the legal and ethical issues involved in covering the AIDS crisis. Following these workshops, HIV/AIDS curricula have been introduced in journalism schools across the region. Our media efforts in the area of HIV/AIDS are supported by our US-based partner, the Population Reference Bureau, as well as the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and Family Health International (FHI) here in Senegal.
Over the years we have also provided HIV and Development Training for staff of international NGOs such as Catholic Relief Services, GTZ, the International Red Cross, Plan International, Save The Children Sweden, World Education, World Vision, the YMCA and others.
In 2004, ACI was invited by USAID to host the creation of MTT West, a mobile group of expert consultants that focuses on addressing the impact of HIV on the education sector. Based on a model from Southern Africa, the Mobile Task Team (MTT) used a package of support strategies to help Ministries of Education strengthen their management capacities in the areas of HIV/AIDS impact assessment, mitigation and educational planning. After the unexpected closing of MTT in 2005, ACI continued to work with the HIV/AIDS focal unit of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in Benin in cooperation with the US-based NGO Creative Associates.
Our partners in the field of health include government services, local NGO's and associations and other community-based organizations (e.g. social centers, youth and women's associations), research organizations, international governmental and non-governmental aid organizations, as well as public and private medical professionals, political, religious and private sector leaders, and a variety of communicators including journalists, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and celebrities.
I nominate this project because The work that they do in the field of HIV and reproductive health is innovator and has a real impact : significant reduction in cases of STIs among the young people they target, particularly students ; reduction in the number of unwanted pregnancies in the schools.
Africa Consultants International