New Study Highlights Low Participation Of Women In Global Fund Process

  • June 22, 2011
  • News

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A recently-published, original study conducted by AID FOR AIDS International’s Observatorio Latino (OL) forum has found that women in Latin America with a huge stake in the activities of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS are being shut out of the decision-making process.
The sweeping study, which covered 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, found that transgender, women living with HIV/AIDS, and female sex workers continue to have little or no voice in how their individual countries use the grant monies allocated by the Global Fund.
“There are many reasons for the lack of participation of women in the Global Fund process,” observes Enrique Chavez, director of AFAI’s Advocacy Department. “There is the severe stigma attached to being a sex worker or a transgender person, the overall inequality in many Latin societies between men and women, and the fact that women, as a group, have not yet been trained to become advocates for their own sexual and reproductive health.”
The study strongly recommends that governments in the region and civil society provide a better mechanism for members of these under-represented women’s groups to make themselves heard.  The report also urges women from these groups to join existing AIDS activist networks supported by AFAI.
“The HIV epidemic has a potentially devastating impact on these vulnerable female populations,” says Chavez, “and it is time that they were fully empowered to participate in high-level decisions that so dramatically affect their own lives.”
Following up on the conclusions of the 17-nation study, OL researchers conducted in-depth surveys in five of the countries – Peru, El Salvador, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua – that illustrated the specific problems faced by women who are especially vulnerable to HIV and AIDS.
Launched in 2006, Observatorio Latino is an Internet-based mechanism that provides individual activists and groups with a forum to share information and comment on how their governments are applying Global Fund grants.  In 2008, OL was invited to become a communication point by the Global Fund, and it is the only Spanish-speaking organization to be granted “observer” accreditation by the Fund’s board of directors. OL currently reaches 21 countries in the Latin America/Caribbean region.
Read the complete Study here