Connecting local responses around the world
We have in the past shared about the role of AIDS Action Committees, an informal group of people, mostly opinion leaders of the community (political or religious leaders, writers, teachers, social activists etc), who encourage, and initiate community actions. Specially, they act as an effective stigma redressal body, from within the community, who by setting up their own examples of inclusion, inspire others to accept and include.
This group also gives a visible face to the involvement of the community in the HIV response, and the different programmes and activities designed by the government for this purpose. The involvement of this committee in the Red Ribbon Express event, in the district of Raichur is a good example. Red Ribbon Express is a one of its kind initiative for mass mobilization, initiated by the Government of India, to reach remote villages, and towns with basic awareness about HIV.
Recenty when the RRE was in Raichur, this committee was actively involved in the event. They were able to mobilize resources of Rs.45000 to support the event. They also developed interesting communication material on HIVand care, and use this event as a space to educate the general community on the issue. They did this of their volition, because they felt it was important.
Their other efforts include linking people to care and support service, and supporting the care centre, as well as positive networks in the area. In their role as leaders, they are able to come in touch with people, who may need HIV related services, and they link them to it. Each of the members, in their own ways, take into consideration issues of HIV, in whichever area they work, a good instance of mainstreaming at the grassroots level.