International Organizations Join Unprecedented Collaboration to Assist Africa's Children Orphaned by AIDS
Hope for African Children Initiative to facilitate community-based programs: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invests $10 million; initiative to receive portion of proceeds from all-star "What's Going On?" single.
Beatrice M. Spadacini
Hope for African Children Initiative Phone: 703.807.1264 Ext. 107 Cell: 202.425.6551
WASHINGTON and SEATTLE -- Five leading international humanitarian organizations today announced they have joined to launch the Hope for African Children Initiative, an unprecedented collaboration that will address the enormous challenges faced by children whose lives have been devastated by the AIDS pandemic. More than 13 million children have been orphaned and millions more have been affected since AIDS began ravaging Africa in the early 1980s.
The five partners in the initiative—CARE, Plan International, Save the Children, the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa, and The World Conference on Religions and Peace—already possess established constituencies and significant experience in Africa. Their collaboration in the Hope for African Children Initiative will enable them to combine their collective expertise in AIDS-related issues and extend the scope of their efforts far beyond what any of them could achieve independently.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today that it has awarded a $10 million grant over three years, enabling the initiative to continue supporting African people and organizations that are already mobilizing to confront AIDS-related challenges. "We're pleased to be a partner in this effort," said Dr. Gordon Perkin, Director of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "A joint strategy and building on existing community-based programs will be key to helping children affected by the AIDS pandemic."
"The Hope for African Children Initiative is truly a partnership—not only among these five organizations, but also among people in Africa and elsewhere who are committed to improving the lives of children and ensuring the well-being of Africa's communities," said Dr. Pat Youri, the initiative's Nairobi-based executive director. "The partners recognize that the most effective responses to this tragedy will come from within Africa's communities, and that the best way for agencies and governments to help is to provide those communities with the tools to strengthen the work they are already doing."
The initiative will receive a portion of the proceeds from the new recording of Marvin Gaye's classic "What's Going On?", performed by Artists Against AIDS Worldwide, an all-star assemblage of rock, pop, R&B and rap artists that includes musicians such as Bono, Britney Spears, and Destiny's Child. CD singles of "What's Going On?" go on sale October 30.
The Hope for African Children Initiative will provide funding and technical resources to local organizations, caregivers and religious communities. The resources channeled to these programs will enable them to expand and coordinate their efforts to provide needed services such as family support, HIV testing and counseling, succession planning, and educational support.
The initiative will focus on four key objectives:
- Building awareness and reducing the stigma that surrounds HIV/AIDS in many African countries;
- Extending the life of the parent-child relationship through prevention and treatment, as well as nutrition and home-based care;
- Preparing families for the loss of a parent through succession planning as well as psychosocial and economic support;
- Ensuring the child's future by securing continued access to education and health care following the death of one or both parents.
The initiative is beginning its work in three countries—Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda—and will expand to encompass additional nations during the next five years. The three initial countries were chosen because they have high rates of HIV/AIDS and numbers of vulnerable children, national AIDS programs or policies, capability for partnership, potential for community mobilization, and the capacity to influence neighboring countries.
UNICEF, USAID, the World Bank, and other government, public and private donors have so far endorsed the Hope for African Children Initiative. Partner organizations have set a fundraising goal of $100 million over the next five years to make the initiative fully operational throughout the next decade.
The initiative has been designed to serve as a bridge linking public and private donors with the needs of African communities. The partner organizations have worked to ensure that the initiative's program strategies respond to the development objectives set out by the governments of African nations, as well as guidelines set by the international community.
More than 25 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with the HIV virus; many have already developed AIDS, and many millions more have died from AIDS-related illnesses. The epidemic has ravaged a generation of adults, and has taken a heavy toll on their children as well. Children orphaned or otherwise affected by AIDS are vulnerable to a host of dangers, including alienation from their families and communities, malnutrition, homelessness, loss of financial and material inheritance, lack of access to education and health care, depression, and physical or sexual abuse—not to mention the increased likelihood of contracting the HIV virus themselves.
The Hope for African Children Initiative is a collaboration among five humanitarian agencies that seeks to address the challenges faced by children whose lives have been devastated by the AIDS pandemic. CARE, Plan International, The World Conference on Religions and Peace, Save the Children and the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa are combining their expertise to support African communities in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, mitigate the impact of the pandemic, and provide care and support to children and families affected by AIDS.