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Dear friends,

In the Knowledge asset on Acknowledgment and Recognition, two principles are very similar:

Common Principles Experiences to illustrate Blog
Involving religious leaders is key to make HIV/AIDS programmes a success Monk becomes leader in AIDS prevention in Thailand
Suriyon Soogkum
"Muslim leaders now care about HIV/AIDS in Merauke"
A couple of years ago Muslim communities in Merauke, Indonesia, were in denial of HIV/AIDS. Deceased did not receive the traditional washing ceremony - out of fear. Now that Muslim leaders are involved in the response, the AIDS dead get a proper washing and funeral.
Henny Astuti Suparm
Read the story
If you involve leaders traditions and policies can be revisited A young man in Dioila, Mali was relieved by the village council from his duty to marry the widow of his brother who died of AIDS; now the family takes care of the widow
Sangare Alfouseyni
"PHA can work in Surabaya company without worry to be fired" After conversations with the management companies in Surabaya, Indonesia, started changing their policies. Now the workplace is HIV/AIDS friendly, before a PHA would be fired.
Andryansyah Arifin
Read the story

What is common about your experiences? How could we merge your experience into one common principle?

If you have a similar experience with the ones above, please share it in this forum.

Chers amis,

Dans la Perle du savoir sur la reconnaissance et l'acceptation, deux principes sont forts similaires:

Principes communs Experiences Blog
Impliquer les leaders religieux est essentiel pour assurer le succès d'un programme contre le VIH Des moines sont devenus des leaders dans la prévention du VIH en Thaïlande
Suriyon Soogkum
Lisez l'histoire "Des leaders musulmans se soucient du VIH à Merauke"
Il y a quelques années des communautés musulmanes à Merauke, Indonésie, ne reconnaissaient pas le problème du VIH. Les morts ne recevaient pas de cérémonies de lavage traditionnel - par peur. Maintenant que les leaders religieux sont impliqués dans la réponse, le morts du SIDA sont lavés et ont une enterrement digne.
Henny Astuti Suparm
Si vous impliquez les leaders les traditions et politiques peuvent être revues Un jeune homme de Dioila, Mali a été libéré par le conseil du village de sa charge de remarier la veuve de son frère décédé du VIH. Maintenant la famille prend la veuve en charge.
Sangare Alfouseyni
"PVV peuvent travailler dans l'entreprise Surabaya sans crainte de se faire licencier Après des discussions, le management d'entreprises à Surabaya, Indonésie, ont commencé à changer leur politiques. Maintenant, le milieu du travail accepte les PVV alors qu'avant ils se faisaient licencier.
Andryansyah Arifin
Lisez l'histoire

Qu'y a-t-il de commun dans votre expérience? Comment pouvons nous fusionner vos expériences en un principe commun?

Si vous avez une expérience similaire à celles ci-dessus, veuillez la partager dans ce forum.


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Replies to This Discussion

Hi friends,

Any thoughts on this already?

Can only religious leaders play a role in stimulating acknowledgement of HIV or do other leaders play a similar role?
Do leaders only allow traditions and policies to change or is their role in stimulating acknowledgement of HIV broader?

Please share your experience with this issue so that we can all learn from it...


Chers amis,

Des idées sur ce sujet?

Les leaders religieux sont-ils les seuls qui jouent un role dans la stimulation de la reconnaissance du VIH ou est-ce d'autres leaders jouent un rôle similaire?
Est-ce que des leaders peuvent seulement changer les traditions et politiques ou est-ce que leur rôle dans la stimulation de la reconnaissance est plus large?

Veuillez partager votre expérience afin que nous puission tous apprendre...

Dear friends,

Does the following principle capture your experience: If we involve religious and other leaders in the discussion then traditions and policies can be revisited. ?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Chers amis,

Est-ce que le principe suivant résume votre expérience: Si nous impliquons les leaders religieux et d'autres leaders dans la discussion alors les traditions et politiques peuvent être revues. ?

Merci de partager ce que vous en pensez!

Dear Laurence,
I haven't thought of the role of religious leader in the response to HIV. And even when I thought of them was in quite a negative way given that I live in a catholic country where the church hierarchies are so much in denial of what human nature is and how we become vulnerable when that denial rules our acts.

But then, in 2003, a friend of mine who had been talking with the director of the YWCA ask us to think of sharing our experiences as HIV positive women at the International Summit of the YWCA en Brisbane. Five of us were invited to talk in front of hundreds of women who have not been talking of HIV openly. Some of them did not think that it was an issue that was part of their congregations and they even ignored that many of the members they were sharing with could be HIV+ but had not the space to talk about it.

So at that Summit, the YWCA globally committed to put HIV in the center of their work and I know that commitment had a tremendous impact in their communities. In 2007 the celebrated their International Summit (the do so every 4 years as an assembly to catch up with what is happening in their respective countries and to do find strategic guidelines for the next 4 years) and in this ocasion the Summit included a 2 days Forum for positive women to discuss on HIV and share among themselves and with others. This time, the number of open positive women attending the Forum were more that 250 from all over the world.

Today, the YWCA has a full program dedicated to promote prevention, care and treatment for HIV and they are strong advocates within their communities.

So yes, I would say that religious leaders can make a difference if they decide to put their humanity at the front.

Hi Marijo,

Thanks for your contribution!

According to you, did the YWCA make only a difference in terms of traditions and policies? Or did they stimulate a different kind of change like values, norms, ...?

Posted as a response to the Blog of Onesmus 'When village headmenlead the response to HIV'

Dear Onesmus,

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful experience of Kithituni. When can I visit your village, it seems amazing things are happening there :-) ? Gaston came back so enthusiastic after the meeting in Nairobi... So, congratulations for the whole team and community members for being such an inspiration for others. And also to share the inspiration here, on Ning.

I opened a discussion about the role of leaders to stimulate the acknowledgment and recognition of HIV ( I want your advice on the common principle: If we involve religious and other leaders in the discussion then traditions and policies can be revisited. Does this capture your experience or should we modify the principle so that it includes your experience?



Response from Onesmus

I try to figure out the wording to reflect- They are included, and participate as part of the SALT team. They are part of the learning team, they adapt their learning from Local actions and experiences to adjust policies.
For instance, We have seen School fees waiver initiated through this process for Orphans and other Vulnerable children in primary schools in our Village etc



Response from Rituu

Dear Lau,

Wanted to share this on your question to Onesmus for the principle- If we involve religious and other leaders in the discussion then traditions and policies can be revisited.

When Onesmus and I did this story, we had two options either to focus on what led to the change in the woman or the role of local leaders in response to HIV. We both agreed to do the latter as the role of the village head was substantive and we didn't have too many stories on this aspect.

I am not at ease with religious leaders and other leaders... To me it implies religious leaders have a major role to play. Can we rephrase it as leaders including religious and political leaders. And leaders can contribute to much more than policies and traditions. Just a thought.

Thanks to JL and you for raising these thought-provoking questions.


Dear Onesmus and Rituu,

An attempt for reformulating the common principle:
If leaders, including religious and political leaders, stimulate the discussion about HIV then they will stimulate and support local responses by adapting policies and influencing traditions and values.

Maybe a bit long... anyone else has ideas to improve it?

I believe and see there is contradiction even among one religion about the concept and respond of HIV as a part or as an issue which they should look into or not. I want to recollect the environment the time when the ACP workshop was held in Aizawl,Mizoram India, and I want to refer to Ritu about her reflection which I think we miss it out is that the reflection of the church role in responding HIV.

Most of the discussion in the community was held is a Community Church and the local team members are from Active Church Youth. Church have a big role and initiative here. The State AIDS Control Department prevention campaign Programme in 2006 was implemented by different Denomination (Church) which have a great impact in the life of the Church member not only the concept of HIV but the role that could play by the Church and its members.

Ofcourse there are times where some people have a negative view about talking sex and condom in the church. But when the issue comes to health as HIV is a health isuue, the Church leaders understand that the church is the best institution where people listen to what the church is talking about. Every walks of the community life links to the Church.

The Active Facilitation team of ACP is the main reason behind who manage to develop the capacity of the Church Leaders and let the Local Facilitation Team expand in the community. Learning that the community themselves are the best to responds the issue which is in their own community.

Dear Joma,

You are doing great!

As a faith based organization, Community Health Action Network (CHAN) in Mizoram has used entry point such as invitation from the local churches to reach out to the communities. It has also been able to utilize its own relationship to a church, and the centrality of the church to life in Mizoram, to facilitate its engagement in the community link with different church groups, like local corps, salvation army youth groups etc. As you say linking with the church is a challenge for CHAN, since it cannot let its own affiliation with a certain church affect interactions with churches of other denominations.

You have worked with CHAN for some years. Please can you share your experience the role Church leaders have played in acknowledgment and recognition of HIV especially as the issues of HIV, MSM and condoms are taboo among churches.



As have shared by Ritu about the centrality of the church to life in Mizoram. Every thing which leads to contribution towards better community also TLAWMNGAIHNA link to the Faith Based/Beliefs (Church). This are inter connected. By Birth the Mizo have TLAWMNGAIHNA and the Religious spirit here support that its something like a religious person have more TLAWMNGAIHNA than the other.

Talking about the role Church leaders have played in acknowledgment and recognition of HIV especially as the issues of HIV, MSM and condoms are taboo among churches is that. In the beggining the Church think that talking about Condom is the motive to encourage to have sex/free sex or talking about HIV is not permitted because the concept is that HIV is a disease which a sinner or unbeliever of Christian have. As initially HIV positive are from Drug addict Background,Sex Worker/Gay or of a person who is against the behaviour of the General Community and the Church.

But the issue and the concept began to change slowly after the community experience HIV case from a innocent housewife or a general community who is also a member of the churches. During 1992 Pioneering the responds to HIV and Drugs issue The Salvation Army CHAN was responding different issue in Mizoram, as a church organization and also having a community respond team they are the first NGO who facilitate the community even before HIV issue was there in Mizoram.

As mentioned the Mizo Tlawmngaihna was already there in responding several issue of the community Purely in a voluntary method, who in turn learn to respond HIV and related issue too with the pioneering Church Organization and with the Help of the State AIDS Control Department.

So as I have comented on GATSONs blog, we live in a community any issue which comes is not of that particular people but of the community. So, the system/process has to be integrated. Not a community/org. or one group because of an issue.


Faith-based initiatives can be pivotal to the success of public health programs throughout the world—especially those concerning reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

Even difficult ethical issues raised by certain strategies—such as promoting condom use—can be resolved sufficiently to allow collaboration and compromise if addressed openly and with mutual respect. Some of the tensions inherent in collaboration among diverse groups can be diffused—and cooperation fostered—by agreeing to limit the range of cooperation to the issue at hand and to set aside other areas of disagreement.

Suggested contacts and reading material

Faith in Action

FHI experiences

Dr. Vijay Edward - World Vision India - Through the channels of hope project/ initiative they have reached more than 600 faith leaders

Amity International - "International Interfaith Conference on prevention and control of HIV/AIDS"

experiencs of working with faith based leaders
1. We, Heads and representatives of organisations and people of the Hindu faith participating in the Hindu Leaders' Caucus held on 1 and 2 June 2008;

2. Note with concern that we are facing an unprecedented human catastrophe- more than 30 million people worldwide are currently living with HIV, with more than 25 lakh people living with HIV in India alone;

3. Recognise that the values of Hinduism compel us to respond to the human suffering caused by HIV and AIDS in all communities;

4. Declare our solemn commitment to comprehensively address the HIV/AIDS crisis;

Therefore, we

5. Reaffirm our commitment to educate and mobilize Hindu priests and faith leaders to advocate and lead by example in the response to HIV / AIDS;

6. Commit ourselves to ensure that the Hindu faith leadership at all levels is equipped with relevant information to help them guide the community to reduce HIV infections and fight stigma and discrimination;

7. Recognise the need to incorporate HIV information in appropriate ways into our discourses, our rituals, our festivals, our religious education and training of future leaders of our faith;

8. Pledge to work towards overcoming HIV in an inclusive manner and for this purpose, mobilize the human, spiritual, institutional and financial resources that our community possesses;

9. Dedicate ourselves to safeguard the rights of Hindus living with HIV and ensure their complete inclusion in familial, social, economic and religious life;

10. Commit to engage the Hindu communities in holding our governments and other international actors accountable for the commitments they have made to provide increased resources and to work towards universal access to treatment, prevention, care and support services;

11. Affirm that the full realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, regardless of their HIV status, is an essential element of the Hindu faith;

12. Commit to addressing the vulnerabilities faced by women, children and marginalised populations;

13. Pledge to exhort pregnant women to access formal healthcare, HIV testing and qualified doctors so that their babies are born healthy and free of HIV, in recognition of the fact that HIV positive mothers can have children free from HIV;

14. Commit ourselves to addressing the vulnerabilities faced by children affected by and living with HIV, to ensure their access to education, treatment, care, support and a loving environment;

15. Pledge to advise people to protect themselves from the risk of HIV infection through contaminated blood by always using safe tested blood from authorised blood banks and never sharing injection syringes and needles;

16. Resolve to utilise our places of worship, our educational and health facilities and our women and youth programs to provide the full range of prevention, treatment, care and support services in coordination with the government;

17. Pledge to keep our promise to provide the leadership and resolve to overcome HIV and AIDS and bring hope and prosperity to all humanity;

And in all these commitments, we seek strength, guidance and support from the divine.


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