10 Years of Bridging The Gaps: Our Stories of Change

BTG Story of Change_Ukraine BTG Story of Change_ZimbabweFor the last 10 years as part of Bridging the Gaps, a strategic partnership with and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, MPact has been working to develop grassroots organizations into regional hubs leading HIV and LGBT movements around the world. From 2010 – 2020, BTG was an alliance of nine international organizations and networks and more than 80 local and regional organizations in 15 countries, working towards the end of AIDS among key populations. To commemorate this decade-long initiative, we looked back at how our partners have grown, the challenges they have overcome, and the fights they have won for the health and rights of their communities.

The first change story features the work of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), MPact’s Bridging the Gaps partner in Zimbabwe since 2012. It highlights the critical role played by BTG in contributing to increased recognition of gay and bisexual men and the broader LGBTI community by the Ministry of Health in Zimbabwe through specifically earmarked funding and issuance of normative guidance for key populations at the national level. This translates to a firm commitment from the Ministry to scale-up delivery of HIV-related services for gay and bisexual men and the training of healthcare professionals to deliver those services sensitively and competently across 45 sites identified by the community. This change was realized through Bridging the Gaps’ support for global-level advocacy, community-led advocacy, and technical interventions and the delivery of MPact-led technical assistance to GALZ.

The second change story features the work of G-Link and Lighthouse in Vietnam, as well as the work of Inti Muda (formerly Focus Muda) and GWL-INA in Indonesia. It highlights the critical role played by Bridging the Gaps in advancing the work of these community-based organizations to sensitize healthcare providers, research sexual and reproductive health, innovate technologies for the LGBTI community, knowledge-share, and expand access to HIV prevention, testing, and treatment in the western pacific region. Through technical assistance and direct funding, MPact and BTG supported G-Link and Lighthouse in building a more enabling environment for LGBTI populations not only in Vietnam, but also regionally and internationally. With support from Bridging the Gaps, MPact also supported the missions of both Inti Muda and GWL-INA to sensitize healthcare providers, develop capacity for member organizations, and empower the young LGBTI  community.

The last change story features the work of Alliance Global, MPact’s Bridging the Gaps partners in Ukraine. It is an exciting time for rolling out pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in Ukraine. After a one-year PEPFAR-funded demonstration project in Kiev, which provided free PrEP to gay men and other key populations, about 400 people were on PrEP. In April 2019, the government published national guidelines for PrEP, bringing it into greater alignment with WHO recommendations and signaling that it was ready to provide PrEP across the country at no cost for users. With expanded resources available and expanded sites to deliver PrEP, demand and uptake has grown quickly, with a target of 2,900 people on PrEP by 2020. With support from BTG and MPact, Alliance Global provides combination HIV prevention and testing and treatment for HIV, Hepatitis C, and other STIs. They also coordinate prep.com.ua, the main online hub for information and linkage to PrEP services for gay and bisexual men in Ukraine. Alliance Global has also been at the forefront of providing PrEP to gay and bisexual men in Ukraine. Their PrEP services are familiar to gay men in Kiev — where it operates a LGBT community health center — and in some larger cities in Ukraine.

Check out all of the stories of change and learn more about the Bridging The Gaps program!

Part 1: Zimbabwe

Part 2: Indonesia & Vietnam

Part 3: Ukraine


MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights was founded in 2006 by a group of activists concerned about the disproportionate HIV disease burden shouldered by men who have sex with men. MPact works at the intersection of sexual health and human rights and is linked to more than 120 community-based organizations in 62 countries who are leading innovative solutions to the challenges faced by gay and bisexual men around the world.