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25 April 2007

Keeping up with HIV

HIV doesn’t stand still. The situation is changing all the time. To keep up with HIV in India, our health specialists in HLSP are managing the Challenge Fund – a successful new programme designed to be reactive and adapt alongside the epidemic itself.

Encouraging innovation and partnerships, the Challenge Fund offers civil society the opportunity to pursue initiatives which wouldn’t receive funding through the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO). The Fund works with non-government and community-based organisations to finance ideas and is a component of the UK Department for International Development’s Programme Management Organisation (PMO), also managed by HLSP.

Responding to widespread under spending of NACO allocated funds and the needs of vulnerable and hard to reach populations, the Fund is using organisations with good ideas and strong networks. The aim is to get money to the grassroots, and quickly – and in its first six months, the Fund awarded over £3.6 million in accountable grants. The PMO designed the contracting process and received over 450 expressions of interest.

Activities are being implemented across 30 states by ten NGOs working or partnering with almost 400 organisations. One of the NGOs receiving funding is India’s HIV/AIDS Alliance, which is taking a community driven approach to address the feminisation of the epidemic in India. In 2004 it was estimated that 22% of HIV cases in India were housewives with a single partner. The Challenge Fund is supporting work to address this with a particular focus on women in low income settings. Also receiving funding is Plan India for a project aiming to empower children through their involvement in developing a package of tools including video films, comics and magic shows. The Fund is also enabling the Network of Positive People to build their advocacy networks at a national and state level.
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