How We Work: AIDS
The purpose of Blood:Water Mission projects are to "empower communities to fight against..." Rather than providing a hand-out, which inevitably leads to dependency and failed projects, we seek to transform communities from the inside out, enabling them to be the agents of change within their own context. While prevention, treatment, and support are core objectives within our HIV/AIDS strategies, the process of implementing these programs in a community ultimately leads them on a journey of self-discovery, giving communities a platform for understanding their own capabilities, assets, and most importantly self-worth. It's not until individuals are able to understand and embrace their value as people and the potential they possess to bring about change, that they are able unit and transform the face of AIDS within their own communities.
In order for this transformation to occur, we must be willing to take this journey with people; a process that requires both relationships and time. Blood:Water cannot do this alone, nor as outsiders, are we the ones best positioned to do so. Instead, Blood:Water researches and develops close relationships with local organizations, empowering them to be the catalysts in the communities around them. Blood:Water maintains a staff of qualified development professionals who hand-pick each partnership using industry best practices in development. The partnership is then managed using the principles of CREATE, a model developed by Blood:Water which centers around 5 critical areas engagement: Collaboration, Relationships, Empowerment, Accountability and Technical Excellence. In addition to funding, Blood:Water collaborates with our partner organizations on strategy and methods, networking resources to build capacity, and offering technical and programmatic insight where needed. It is through these grassroots approaches that we are able to capitalize on local knowledge, build into civil society, maximize cost-effectiveness, and ensure long-term impact in communities
Recognizing the complex nature of HIV/AIDS, Blood:Water is funding cross-cutting programs that address the full spectrum of prevention, treatment, and support. Each program is contextualized for the culture and environment in which it's implemented, and works to take advantage existing health infrastructure. Prevention programs target high-risk populations in an effort to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS as well as reduce stigma and correct cultural myths about the disease. Treatment programs coordinate with national healthcare efforts where possible, taking advantage of anti-retro viral therapy (ART) programs made available through government funding. As the number of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Africa continues to grow (currently 20 million or almost 6% of all children in Africa), it is imperative that parents receive access to treatment. Finally, community support programs focus on working with PLWAs, addressing the needs of OVCs, and building solidarity within communities. While outside programs and infrastructure are essential to addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis, Blood:Water has begun this journey believing that the future of Africa ultimately rests in the hands its own people.
Check out the I KNOW SOMEONE campaign to hear stories of some of our friends living with HIV/AIDS and learn how to get involved.