Praxis and the Avahan-India AIDS Initiative
The Avahan India AIDS Initiative, started in the year 2003, is a large and ambitious HIV/AIDS prevention program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In the first five year phase (2004-2009), Avahan has successfully built a large-scale HIV intervention program in six states of India namely, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu that accounted for 83% of the country's HIV infections.
Now in the second and last phase of this project whose funding commitment to India is to last until 2014, Avahan aims to hand over the programme to its "natural owners”, like the Government of India and Community-based Groups (CBGs) that work locally with these communities.
In order to understand this process of ‘ownership’ transition to the CBGs, Praxis was contracted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Avahan Programme in October 2008 to conduct a baseline study on the ‘ways and means to strengthen’ the community mobilisation process of the 36 CBGs of Female sex workers (FSW), Men who have sex with men (MSM), Transgenders (TG) and Injecting Drug Users (IDU) working across these six states.
Community Mobilisation Monitoring Study
After successful development of a community monitoring mechanism, Praxis is now the recipient of a grant to carry out a similar study with the CBGs over the next five years. The grant will help the communities to strategise addressing issues related to HIVAIDS prevention and vulnerability reduction in a sustained way in the six states. This will be done by generating and disseminating timely information on their ‘organisational capacities’ as well as on their ‘capacity to address vulnerability issues’. The primary aim of the Project is of providing periodic data to State Lead Partners (SLPs), Implementing Partners (IPs) and community based groups to inform refinements to community mobilization. This will help the Foundation to strategise and systematically plan the handover of this programme to these stakeholders.
Praxis has been invited to make an oral-poster presentation at AIDS 2010 - XVIII International AIDS Conference to be held from 18th to 23rd July, 2010 in Vienna. This conference will give the PRAXIS team a much valued opportunity to share its findings and experience, thus far of working with high-risk communities on this subject.
Building Networks of High-Risk Groups (HRGs) across the six high HIV/AIDS-prevalence state
In continuation of the work being done by Praxis under the Avahan India AIDS Initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it is also leading a Consortium with two other agencies. This Consortium is focussed on the formation of state level networks of the community of High-Risk Groups, namely:
1. Female sex workers (FSW)
2. Men who have sex with Men (MSM)
3. Injected Drug Users (IDU)
The Project aims at enabling high-risk communities to address issues related to HIV/AIDS prevention and vulnerability reduction in a sustained way in six over a period of five years (2009 to 2015) by organizing, networking, collaborating and negotiating with government, civil society organizations and marginalized groups at the state, national and international levels. The Project aims at evolving network of communities in each of the six aforesaid states.
Together with its state partners, the Consortium proposes to facilitate and support the network building processes among above-mentioned High-Risk Groups, those located in and outside the districts in which the Avahan India AIDS Initiative is operational across these six Indian states. The Consortium will facilitate strengthening of networks in terms of their capacities to engage in evidence-based advocacy as well as to develop sustained linkages to national- regional- and global Networks representing HRGs and other marginalized communities.
The three agencies involved in this ‘Consortium’ are:
1. Praxis-Institute of Participatory Practices (Lead Agency)
2. Centre for Advocacy and Research
3. REACH Social Solutions Private Limited
The Project Office is established in Hyderabad and there are state coordinators operating from each of the above six states.)
From Beneficiaries to Agents of Change was launched in Chennai on January 23rd in the presence of members of marginalised communities who can use the self-administrable tools in the book to assess their community mobilisation process. The book has been put together and validated by Praxis with inputs from several community-based organisations in Tamil Nadu and Manipur. It can be used for anybody wanting to assess community preparedness for vulnerability reduction.
Praxis Institute for Participatory Practices successfully launched its Read Aloud series of participatory storybooks for children and young adults at Odyssey’s flagship store in Adyar, Chennai
Praxis and the Avahan-India AIDS Initiative
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