International AIDS Conference in Toronto


International AIDS Conference in Toronto

September 28, 2007

American Jewish World Service and more than 25 of our grantees from around the world will be a strong presence at the XVI International AIDS Conference from August 13 to 16 in Toronto. The conference will feature panels and presentations by our grantees, several awards ceremonies acknowledging their work around the world, and the launch of a new AJWS publication.

The Rwanda Women’s Network, Girl Child Network of Zimbabwe, and GROOTS Kenya, all AJWS grantees, are finalists for the UNAIDS/UNDP Red Ribbon Award, which acknowledges the most outstanding and least recognized efforts to stem HIV/AIDS. Their nomination is a testament to the sustainable and creative global health work that AJWS grantees are doing all over Africa.

In addition, Dr. Dorothy Balaba Byansi, the executive director of AJWS grantee THETA (Traditional and Modern Health Practitioners Together Against AIDS and Other Diseases) of Uganda, will be honored at the conference. Dr. Balaba Byansi’s recent abstract, which concentrates on building referral networks between traditional and biomedical health practitioners, will be awarded the ANRS/IAS (Agence Nationale de Recherches sur le Sida and International AIDS Society) Prize.

“The last time I went to the International AIDS Conference was four years ago, in Barcelona,” says Julia Greenberg, director of international programs at AJWS. “At that time, AJWS AIDS programming was in an early, exploratory phase. It’s gratifying to see that the international community has begun to recognize the importance of an integrated grassroots approach to dealing with the pandemic, and that our grantees are now playing roles in cutting-edge ways to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic.”

In addition to the accomplishments of our grantees, AJWS is also proud to launch “From Faith to Action: Strengthening Family and Community Care for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Sub-Saharan Africa” in conjunction with the Firelight Foundation. “From Faith to Action” is a guide for faith-based organizations, congregations and other religious groups and individuals seeking to help children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Because many faith-based organizations, particularly in the US, focus on orphanages as the solution, “From Faith to Action” provides a variety of alternatives that are less costly and more effective in aiding orphaned children, including micro-credit loans, emotional support initiatives, educational programs and vocational training.

AJWS will be holding a breakfast for grantees and partners who will be attending the conference. Grantees from countries such as Cambodia, India, Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe will have the opportunity to meet, learn and exchange ideas. Greenberg commented: “It will be a wonderful opportunity to see everyone at one time and for activists to share their work with their counterparts from other countries. Informal meetings are often key opportunities to learn the nuances of the challenges facing frontline HIV/AIDS activists around the world.”

Electronic copies of “From Faith to Action: Strengthening Family and Community Care for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Sub-Saharan Africa” can be downloaded from the Firelight Foundation’s Web site.

Update: AJWS Grantee Wins UNDP Red Ribbon Award!

The Girl Child Network of Zimbabwe, an AJWS grantee since 2004, was awarded the United Nations Development Program Red Ribbon Award on Thursday, August 16, at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto. This award provides world-wide recognition to an organization that has been creatively addressing HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe for the past seven years. AJWS congratulates the dedicated staff of Girl Child Network, the hundreds of teachers who coach the GCN’s clubs and housing for girls, and the 20,000 girls that have been empowered by GCN’s extensive programming.