HIV-related philanthropy to North Africa and the Middle East in 2021:
As a complement to Philanthropic Support to Address HIV and AIDS in 2021, this regional profile provides a new level of data to help inform the advocacy of funders and communities active in the region. To spotlight the important role of investing in community-led responses, FCAA invited a perspective from the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition Middle East and North Africa (ITPC-MENA).
International Treatment Preparedness Coalition Middle East and North Africa (ITPC-MENA)
The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition Middle East and North Africa (ITPC-MENA) is a regional network of people living with HIV and their allies that plays a pivotal role in addressing the HIV epidemic in North Africa and the Middle East. Its mission is centered around advocating for the rights of people living with HIV, promoting community-led responses, and strengthening health systems to effectively combat the HIV epidemic in the region.
The HIV epidemic in the region presents unique challenges. While the overall prevalence remains relatively low compared to other regions, certain key populations, such as MSM, people who use drugs, sex workers, and transgender individuals, face significantly higher rates of HIV transmission. Moreover, cultural and social factors contribute to stigmatization and discrimination, creating barriers to accessing crucial HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care services.
To address the epidemic and support the most impacted communities, ITPC-MENA actively engages in a wide range of initiatives. We focus on empowering local organizations by providing them with training, mentorship, and technical assistance. These capacity-building efforts enhance the organizational and programmatic capabilities of community-based organizations, enabling them to effectively implement HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support interventions tailored to the needs of their communities.
One exemplary project funded by private philanthropy and implemented by ITPC-MENA is the “Empowering Communities for HIV Treatment Access” or “Activists Development Program” initiative. This project is designed to strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations in the region to advocate for improved access to HIV treatment and comprehensive care. Through training and mentorship, ITPC-MENA equips local organizations with the skills and knowledge necessary to engage in evidence-based advocacy, promote human rights, and demand equitable access to treatment, diagnostics, and support services. By amplifying the voices of affected communities, ITPC-MENA strives to influence policies and ensure that HIV responses in the region are truly community driven.
As an intermediary funder, ITPC-MENA has developed best practices that HIV-informed funders can learn from. We prioritize community engagement and meaningful involvement because we recognize the importance of including affected communities in decision-making processes, program design, and implementation. By ensuring that interventions are tailored to the specific needs and realities of the populations they serve, funders can maximize the impact of their efforts.
ITPC-MENA also emphasizes the importance of strengthening local capacity. Investing in the organizational and technical capabilities of local partners is crucial for sustainable and impactful HIV responses. By prioritizing capacity-building initiatives, funders can empower local organizations to take a leading role in addressing the HIV epidemic in their communities.