The Impact of Local HIV Expertise in Africa

Published: November 3, 2014

Lucile Scott
Original Article:

Despite the fact that men who have sex with men (MSM) are 19 times more likely to have HIV than members of the general population, 80-90% of gay men and other MSM in low- and middle-income countries do not have access to HIV prevention and care services, according to the World Bank. amfAR’s GMT Initiative has provided small grants to nearly 200 grassroots, GMT-led HIV organizations to help them improve and scale-up the HIV services they provide for GMT, often in countries where homosexuality is highly stigmatized or illegal. "The GMT community itself knows how to best reach other GMT," says Kent Klindera, director of the GMT Initiative. "We are often the first donor for fledgling groups that are of the community, for the community, and by the community, and for me, success is the grantee organizations being picked up by larger donors, like PEPFAR, the Global Fund, and national governments."

These donors generally fund large, national NGOs and securing their grants requires formalized data collection and program evaluation systems, and strong financial management and strategic planning. Many GMT Initiative grantee partners have not only successfully established HIV testing, treatment, support, and awareness services for GMT in their communities, but have also helped to build GMT advocacy movements, many of which have successfully advocated for their government to include GMT in its national HIV plan for the first time. However, most GMT Initiative grantees are community activists with little prior experience running organizations and limited knowledge about how to document their programs’ success to secure more funding.

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