The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – August 2008 Newsletter

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Inside this Edition:

President Mogae Launches “Champions for an HIV-free Generation” [more]
In Ethiopia, Urban Gardening Project Provides Income and Nutrition [more]
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt Reviews Efforts to Combat HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia [more]
PEPFAR Grants Awarded To Namibians Fighting HIV/AIDS [more]

President Mogae Launches “Champions for an HIV-free Generation”


Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana, launched “Champions for an HIV-free Generation” on August 5, 2008 at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. Comprised of African leaders, former heads of states and top experts on HIV/AIDS and gender health, the Champions will urge their continent’s political leaders to both rethink and step-up their prevention efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Founding members of Champions include Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique; Benjamin Mkapa, former President of Tanzania; Kenneth Kaunda, former President of Zambia; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede; South African Supreme Court of Appeal Justice Edwin Cameron; and Professor Miriam Were, chair of the Kenyan National AIDS Control Council.

President Mogae, who stepped down this year, has won international praise for his efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Botswana, one of the countries hit hardest by this disease. And now, with the help of The Champions, Mogae is calling on other African leaders to follow his lead and strengthen their countries’ fight against HIV/AIDS.

“Thanks to the unprecedented effort of the global community, millions are now receiving life-saving AIDS treatment – but for every two people we treat in Africa this year, five more are infected. We urgently need innovation and invigoration of HIV prevention in Africa,” said Mogae.

Echoing Mogae’s thoughts, fellow Champion Justice Edwin Cameron reiterated that African leaders need to play a more dynamic role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. “Stronger, more visionary and outspoken leadership must come from the continent most affected by this epidemic,” he said. “We must ourselves take more initiative to advance the practical solutions in prevention and treatment.”

Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana, launched 'Champions for an HIV-free Generation' on August 5, 2008 at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Ambassador Mark Dybul, PEPFAR Coordinator; Joy Phumaphi, Vice President, World Bank; Dr. Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Professor Miriam Were, chair of the Kenyan National AIDS Control Council; Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana; Justice Edwin Cameron, South African Supreme Court of Appeal.

The Champions will work to mobilize leadership in Africa in an effort to effect change in the continent’s HIV prevention policies and action. They will also seek to initiate a dialogue that Champion members hope will transform behavioral and societal norms, as well as remove stigma and discrimination against women.

“We have the solutions, but we need to dramatically increase our prevention efforts in a new and innovative way, which is why we welcome President Mogae’s initiative,” said Ambassador Mark Dybul, Coordinator of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), speaking for the public and private institutions endorsing the group of Champions.

Part of the prevention efforts will be the promotion of a delay in sexual debut, of safe male circumcision and HIV prevention to young men, and of a reduction in the number of concurrent sexual partners.

Collaborating partners, the World Bank, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and PEPFAR, aim to increasingly focus on HIV prevention in southern Africa and will seek to work in partnership to support this effort in the most efficient and effective way.

In Ethiopia, Urban Gardening Project Provides Income and Nutrition


With support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), over 60,000 orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and HIV-positive women in Ethiopia have improved their nutritional and economic status through an urban gardening project.

Since its launch in 2004, the gardening project has helped families in six urban areas most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic generate income and food, stay in school and adhere to antiretroviral treatment (ART).

The six urban areas include Addis Ababa, Dessie, Gonder, Bahir Dar, Adama and Awassa.

Members of the program are trained in drip irrigation management, educated about HIV/AIDS, and also linked to other PEPFAR-supported HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment services.

In August, a workshop was held to highlight these achievements and others made in the six regions chosen to partake in the urban gardening project.

At the workshop, farmers shared lessons learned in using urban gardens to help OVCs and women increase their food intake and income level.

Today, thousands of women and children know how to tend to land to create vegetable gardens. These new plots have helped people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) care for their families by enabling them to produce both a sustainable food supply and an income from surplus produce.

In Ethiopia, women grow vegetables in an urban garden to not only provide nutrition and income to their families, but also to regain hope. Photo by Kimberly Flowers, USAID/Ethiopia

But the urban garden project has done more than just pass along valuable techniques and knowledge. This program has also fostered a renewed sense of purpose and hope for many gardeners, and has helped reduced stigma in Ethiopia. The garden experience has sent, and continues to send, the message that PLWHA can learn new skills, be productive and care for and support their families.


HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt Reviews Efforts to Combat HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia

After visiting Ethiopia last month to review the country’s United States-supported health care initiatives, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt was pleased with the successes made in this East African nation.

“The anti-HIV/AIDS, malaria and other health-related interventions sponsored by the U.S. Government are bearing fruit,” he said.

Leavitt praised the Ethiopian Government’s achievements in the fight against HIV/AIDS and commended them for their commitment to combating the epidemic.

“Boosting the health budget from seven percent in 2005 to 11 percent for 2008 indicates that the government remains committed to improving the health sector,” he said.

Under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Ethiopia is receiving over $354.5 million in Fiscal Year 2008 to support comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care programs.

PEPFAR Grants Awarded To Namibians Fighting HIV/AIDS

PEPFAR Logo The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has recently awarded $N 1.5 million to organizations and individuals that are combating the spread of HIV/AIDS in Namibia. Chosen for their unique and innovative educational methods, these projects are expected to help curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic in this sub-Saharan African country.

Recipients of PEPFAR grants include: Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia (BEN), the John Muafangejo Art Center, Katutura Community Radio, Committed Artists of Namibia, and the Living Positive Tour, featuring local musical group Vocal Motion 6.

BEN launched a new Namibian cycling team in April 2008, and plans to use its funding to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and promote behavioral changes through its “Spin for Life Campaign.” This project will urge the country’s youth to engage in regular physical activity rather than risky sexual behaviors that could lead to HIV infection. These bikers will also encourage young people to be tested for HIV/AIDS.

Another recipient, the John Muafangejo Art Center (JMAC), will use its grant to paint two new murals to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. Adding to last year’s four PEPFAR-supported murals, JMAC’s two new works of art will be painted in Tjaka in the Omaheke Region and the J.T.L. Beukes Primary School in Rehoboth.

Katutura Community Radio will now host the “KCR Khomas High School Debates” on its “Ek-Se” radio show. This on-air program will cover issues and topics related to HIV/AIDS, such as whether the government should use more money for the fight against HIV/AIDS or for economic development, the role of men in prevention, and whether or not youth have been empowered and educated to face challenges of modern life, including HIV/AIDS.

Committed Artists of Namibia, another grant recipient, will present a puppet show about HIV/AIDS to high school audiences in the Khomas region. The puppet show, “The Trumpet Player,” directed by Frederick Philander, tells the story of an HIV- positive mother with a teenage son who aspires to be a trumpet player. The script explores consequences and realities of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. During the pilot phase, the play will be performed in secondary schools in the Khomas region.

The Living Positive Tour, which features local a cappella group Vocal Motion 6 and Ms. Herlyn Uiras, will continue its collaboration with PEPFAR for a second year. With PEPFAR support, the Living Positive Tour will continue its high schools performances in the Otjozondjupa, Kavango and Caprivi regions. Tour members will reiterate their messages – how to prevent HIV/AIDS, how important it is to accept people living with HIV/AIDS, how to have respectful and loving relationships, and how to live positively if you are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS – to youth in their effort to increase HIV/AIDS awareness.

'Papa' Shikongeni and other artists, former students at the John Muafangejo Art Center, painted this mural with learners and volunteers at the St. Joseph Health Center in Shambyu, Namibia. With PEPFAR support, 'Papa' will direct the painting of two additional murals – one in Tjaka in the Omaheke Region, and one at J.T.L. Beukes Primary School in Rehoboth. Photos by Namibia PEPFAR Team U.S. Government interagency website managed by the Office of U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and the Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. State Department.
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