Uk aid in Zimbabwe is a good example of how international aid can strengthen civil society’s response to HIV.
Uk aid is the second largest donor in Zimbabwe, after USAID, and has supported two large HIV programmes since 2004. Between 2001 and 2011 the number of new HIV infections in Zimbabwe has declined by 50%.
Large scale prevention, testing and treatment services have contributed to this decline. UK aid’s excellent standing among the donor community has helped pave the way to a pooled funding mechanism, allowing donors (from Sweden, Ireland, Canada and Norway, along with the UK) to work collaboratively and share the cost of a larger programme between them.
As well as engaging other donors, key to the success of the programme is how local leaders and civil society have also been engaged. UK aid funds non-state organisations such as the UN as well as civil society. In doing so it has successfully built capacity of community-based organisations to tackle HIV from within the community, and promoted the work with community and religious leaders so there’s local buy-in and ownership.
There’s more to be done. Despite huge declines Zimbabwe still has a HIV prevalence rate of 14.9% in total, and 49.5% among sex workers.
We know from our experience that in order to reach key populations, such as people living with HIV and sex workers, that a community-based response is most effective. UK aid’s support is well positioned to build on this success story, and continue to reduce the number of new infections and AIDS-related deaths in the country.
An HIV-free generation - within our grasp?
Our 2012 World AIDS Day report recognises the significant contribution the UK government has made to the global HIV response. It calls for a UK blueprint to achieve an HIV-free generation. The support provided in Zimbabwe shows how by supporting effective programmes and using leadership to leverage support from other donors, we can begin to imagine an HIV-free generation – in our generation.
Read the report here and call for a UK blueprint for an HIV-free generation here.