Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Invest in communities to tackle HIV


Peer education, Zambia  © Nell Freeman for the Alliance

As over 20,000 delegates prepare to gather in Washington DC for the international AIDS conference, the Alliance is co-hosting two satellite events to explore how stakeholders need to act together to scale up towards universal access to quality HIV services.

When the Investment Framework for HIV/AIDS was published in The Lancet in 2011, there was a tremor of excitement among civil society actors involved in the HIV response.

Christine Stegling, Associate Director of the Best Practice Unit at the Alliance said: "The news that investing in communities is a good strategy to ensure better health services, and in particular better HIV services, is not news to many community actors AND local government institutions."

"In fact, community mobilisation for HIV/AIDS is happening successfully throughout the world.  However it has rarely been described in such certain terms as a ‘critical’ ingredient for effective HIV programming," she continued.

Civil society was celebrating because there was finally an evidence based model to support the argument that the tide of the HIV epidemics really could be turned, and one that articulated community mobilisation as one of 11 ‘critical social enablers’ within the model.

Limitations of the Framework

When it was first published, the Framework was not without its critics. The ‘critical enablers’ described in the framework were seen as being poorly defined, costed and tested. They are not universally agreed either, and rested uneasily on an unstable body of evidence.

“Sometimes a list of clinical and health promotion interventions fails to ‘get at’ the range of needs, struggles and problems shaping the lives of people who are detained, denied services, who are subject to violence, breaches of privacy, hate crime, discrimination and other violations, who live far from health services, who have uncertain immigration status or who are poor, young, old or socially isolated.” - Discussion Paper: what is the investment framework for HIV/AIDS (Alliance, 2011)

Implementing the framework

Since its publication, a number of stakeholders (including UNAIDS, ICSS, the World Bank and the Alliance) have been working in partnership with key stakeholders at national level to ensure that the concepts of critical enablers, and community mobilisation in particular, are better understood and costed, and can be fully incorporated into national responses to HIV.  

At the request of UNAIDS the Alliance has produced a discussion paper on community mobilisation and HIV and AIDS. It explores what community mobilisation means for the Investment Framework and how this fits within the Alliance’s approach to programming.

A summary of this report will be launched at AIDS 2012.

With technical and financial support from UNAIDS, the Alliance has engaged in a pilot study across three countries, Cambodia, Zambia, and Kenya, to generate more information about the costs of community mobilisation within national responses to HIV.  

You can read more about these costing studies on the Alliance’s impact website.

Satellite event details

With the support of UNAIDS, ICSS and the World Bank the Alliance is organising two satellite events at AIDS 2012:

Community Mobilisation: a ‘Critical Enabler’ for better investment in HIV Programming

Wednesday 25 July (07:00-08:30), Mini Room 10, Walter E. Washington Convention Center

How can Civil Society measure Value for Money and prove their worth?

Thursday 26 July (07:00-08:30), Mini Room 10, Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Click here to find out more.

Communities are at the frontline

Useful links:

A new investment framework for the global HIV response (Issues brief, UNAIDS 2011)

Investing for results. Results for people. A people-centred investment tool towards ending AIDS (Guidance, UNAIDS 2012)

"Doing more with less": Social Return on Investment on KHANA integrated care and prevention program (Alliance, 2012)

Discussion Paper: what is the investment framework for HIV/AIDS (Alliance, 2011)