Monday 14 October 2013

Best practice: Community Advocacy Initiative in Laos (CAI)

CAI Phase I advocacy workshops with Lao
CBO partners
The work of Community Advocacy Initiative (CAI) in Lao has been featured in the recently released 'Global AIDS Response Progress Country Report, Lao PDR, 2012', as one of five best practice examples to illustrate contributions to the national HIV response.

CAI, a capacity building project of AFAO and APCASO (Asia Pacific Coalition of AIDS Service Organisations) was implemented in Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Lao and Vietnam from 2009 - 2012.

The progress report was developed through a consultative process under the lead of the Centre for HIV/AIDS/STI (CHAS), on behalf of the National Committee for the Control of AIDS (NCCA), with the reporting team including CHAS, UNAIDS, WHO, UNICEF and an international consultant.

CAI Phase II is currently being implemented with a focus on the Investment Framework.

Excerpts about CAI from the report are reproduced below.

Download the full report

Community Advocacy Initiative - an example of multi-sector partnership that works at community level

Advocacy workshop
Since 2010, in the context of Global Fund funded project, Lao Positive Health Association (LaoPHA) has been supporting networks of key affected populations (KAP), specifically men who have sex with men, sex workers, and recently reaching to orphan and vulnerable children that have been affected by AIDS in seven provinces in central and southern Lao PDR. The aim of the project is to empower key affected communities by helping them establish partnership networks and developing their capacity to advocate for improved AIDS response in the country.

Under the theme "Key Affected Community as Partners, not Target Groups", LaoPHA has managed to involve the KAP to take part in the project as equal partners. All partners were enabled to contribute in each step of project's planning, implementation and monitoring processes. LaoPHA, with support from AFAO and APCASO conducted trainings to build capacity for key members of the KAP networks to manage and operate the project, as well have the essential skills to do their work with communities, to advocate and to reach out further to people in need.

Advocacy workshop
Key achievement of the project so far has been the formulation of a strong network of people who are affected by HIV, their involvement and commitment to their work at community. Through the partnership with Government sector, slowly the work of the network members has been recognised by local authority and health authority. Highlight of it was the inclusion of involvement of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the current National Strategy and Action Plan on HIV/AIDS/STI Control and Prevention 2011-2015.

To implement this initiative successfully, the people working at communities, as well as Lao PHA and donors have overcome challenges to win the recognition of their work from key government agencies as well as to fight stigma and discrimination within communities. This first example of strong partnership and collaboration between civil society organizations, private and government sectors that actually works for the benefit of the community as well as of KAP and PLHIV. It is "Building capacity for a good partnership" as a member of LaoPHA emphasised.

AFAO, APCASO and LaoPHA with CAI Phase I
CBO partners and a representative from the Center for

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