American Jewish World Service (AJWS) Announces Funding Commitments for Groups Fighting HIV and AIDS

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International development and relief organization to award $2.4M in 2009 for projects in Africa, Asia and the Americas

The organizations that AJWS supports share the common threads of a grassroots focus and the desire to advocate on behalf of the communities they serve

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American Jewish World Service (AJWS) has announced a commitment of $2.4M in grants for 2009 to support grassroots projects addressing the spread of HIV, the rising death toll of AIDS and the devastating impact the pandemic has made on communities throughout the developing world. Motivated by the Jewish imperative to pursue social justice, AJWS is an international development and relief organization that fights hunger, poverty and disease among people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality.

One of the top 40 U.S. grantmakers with regards to HIV and AIDS, AJWS has granted $7.9 million to 119 NGOS for HIV and AIDS-related projects in 27 countries since 2001. AJWS's grants have supported and continue to fund work in the areas of prevention, treatment, care and support for people living with AIDS and their families; orphan care; and initiatives that help communities affected by the pandemic to generate income.

Recognizing the many factors behind the spread of HIV and the rising death toll from AIDS, AJWS seeks to support grassroots organizations that address the pandemic's underlying roots, including organizations that reduce the social stigma of those infected; address co-infection of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria; combat gender-based violence; strengthen community health systems; advocate for maternal and child health rights; provide support and service to commercial sex workers; and help girls and women pursue educational opportunities and professional training.

Grantees range from newer organizations established specifically in response to the AIDS epidemic to those redefining themselves in order to respond to the epidemic. AJWS supports its partners as they develop tools to mitigate the impact of AIDS in their communities and to help monitor how their efforts are transforming their communities.

"The organizations that AJWS supports share the common threads of a grassroots focus and the desire to advocate on behalf of the communities they serve," said Kate Kroeger, Director of Grants for AJWS. "We believe that community-based organizations are extremely effective agents for change. They typically have the deep knowledge and outstanding ideas that come from a first-hand understanding of the challenges that are unique to each community. We try to identify those organizations that have thought critically about their communities and have developed solutions that can be successfully implemented with the right resources."

Thirty AJWS grantees will be represented at the 2008 International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. Among those groups are:

INERELA+
INERELA+ (International Network of Religious Leaders Living With or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS) is a global interfaith initiative that is comprised of religious leaders from world faiths (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu) and other religions (e.g., Baha'i, Sikh, indigenous) which exists to equip, empower and engage religious leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS to live positively and openly as agents of hope and change in their faith communities and countries.

APNSW
The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers is a federation of organizations that work in 21 countries in the region to reduce sex workers' vulnerability to human rights abuses, HIV and social marginalization. The network was formed in 1994 by members of some of Asia's first organizations to work on health and human rights with sex workers, Empower Thailand, Sweetly Japan, Pink Triangle Malaysia, the Scarlet Alliance Australia and Sonagachi Project in India

Sangram
Sangram has been working with commercial sex workers since 1992, using peer education to stop the spread of HIV. In 1996, its peer education program broadened into the Veshya AIDS Muqabla Parishad (VAMP), a collective of 5,000 sex workers in western Maharashtra and North Karnataka. SANGRAM initiated an HIV/AIDS project among transport and migrant workers in 2000, as well as a support group for men who have sex with men (MSM), called Muskan.

Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust
Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust is a voluntary, non-profit organization working for the rehabilitation of drug users and alcoholics in India since 1995. Sankalp has been making efforts to reach out to the increasing number of drug users who are unable to access treatment in traditional settings. The organization's focus is on helping addicts refrain from drugs by providing them with job training and other tools they need in order to re-enter mainstream society, which is a crucial component of long-term recovery.

Sola y Unidas
Sola y Unidas is an NGO made up of more than 20 women activists living with HIV. These activists provide social assistance and skills training to other female HIV/AIDS patients. Solas y Unidas differentiates itself from other local NGOs not only because it is exclusively staffed by women, but also due to the unique approach it takes towards social action targeting positive women. Besides health and human rights education, support groups, and experience-sharing meetings, Solas y Unidas provides skills training to help homemakers, living with HIV, develop sources of income.

MUDHA
Since its founding in 1983, the Movement of Haitian and Dominico-Haitian Women (MUDHA) has been committed to the defense of the human dignity of Haitian immigrants and their descendants living in bateyes, with particular emphasis on children and women's rights. MUDHA's program areas include: preschool education and parent organizing; human rights and civil society building through policy reform; legal defense of minority, immigrant, and children and women's rights; provision of community health education and services; gender equity building; and environmental conservation.

To schedule an interview with representatives from any of these grantees, please contact Josh Berkman of AJWS at 212-792-2893.

In addition to the grantees highlighted, AJWS grants are supporting the following groups which will be also represented at IAC: FOC-REV Ministries, Rozaria Memorial Trust(RMT), Southern Africa HIV/AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS), LUNDU Centro de Estudios y Promoción Afroperuanos, MOSCTHA, Arcoiris, Entre Amigos, Committee Against AIDS (CoCoSI), Fraternal Black Honduran Organization (OFRANEH), Flor de Piedra, Association for the Conservation of the Cutivireni Patrimony (ACPC), Thai AIDS Treatment Action Group (TTAG), Social Action for Women (SAW), Empower, SAATHII, Udaan Trust, Positive Women's Network (PWN+), Christian Council for Rural Development and Research (CCOORR), Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+), Equal Ground, Grassroots Organizations Operating Together in Sisterhood (GROOTS), Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GYCA), International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), and HIV I-Base.

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Josh Berkman

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