Nepal joins global push to halt AIDS from the grassroots up

18 Jan 2007

Kathmandu, January : The Community Capacity Enhancement Programme (CCE), a part of the UN Development Programme's global work on HIV/AIDS has started in Parsa, Kapilvastu and Ilam. CCE aims to address the underlying causes of the spread of HIV/AIDS in a community. These underlying causes include: stigma and discrimination against HIV affected, trafficking of girls and women and other gender-HIV related issues.

Today Nepal is facing a rapid increase in HIV/AIDS prevalence among high risk groups. Experts believe the nation now has a window of opportunity to reduce its spread and effectively reach out to those suffering by improving access to information and care.

Communities benefit from HIV/AIDS training given by local leaders and leaders of community based organisations. Using a number of powerful tools such as community conversation, mapping, historical timelines and story telling, the communities learn to recognize that they have the power to prevent the spread of HIV in their communities and the importance about care and support for those affected. Results have shown that it is necessary to take the issue to the community and discuss with themselves if the stigma and discrimination is to be reduced and change the community's perspective towards HIV/AIDS.

The UNDP HIV/AIDS Programme Management Unit in Nepal is implementing this activity through the financial support of UNDP Regional Office in Colombo. CCE has already been successfully tested in African countries, Malaysia and Cambodia. Nepal is the third country in this region to adopt this programme.

The first case of AIDS in Nepal was reported in 1988. By July 2006, more than 1115 cases of full-blown AIDS and over 7373 cases of HIV infection were reported officially(source: National Centre for Aids and STD control). However, due to the limitations of the surveillance system, the actual number of infected people in Nepal is expected to be much higher. According to the Global AIDS Epidemic report 2006, it is estimated around 75000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Nepal.

For more information please contact Sangita Khadka, UNDP, 5523200/1077 or Sunita Gurung, UNDP HIV/AIDS Management Unit ext. 1508

Reference Material for Media

CCE is part of UNDP's global programme on Leadership for results, aimed at strengthening leadership, capacity and commitment at all levels of society to effectively respond to the HIV epidemic.

CCE has been successfully rolled out in a number of African countries, where it was first tried and tested before it was brought to Asia. In 2007, launches are planned in three other Asian countries including China.

The drivers of success for this program are the national community leaders and the leaders of community based organization and NGO's who act as trainers. Their understanding of the ground reality in their countries is crucial to the success of the program.

To begin the process, a task team was constituted comprising of National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). The community members that took part in the CCE included people from different class, creed, age groups, local leaders, teachers, journalists etc. The task team was based on the coverage of social mobilisation, expertise on trafficking & the epidemic. The task team after rounds of discussion identified three districts for piloting CCE. While doing so, due focus was laid on migration prone areas and socially mobilised communities. Altogether ten persons were trained as Master Trainers. The trainers included representatives from the following organisations:

Decentralised Local Governance Support Programme (DLGSP/UNDP)
Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD)
Himalayan Social Welfare Organisation (HSWO)
Maiti Nepal (MN)
Nepal Plus (NP)
Sakriya Sewa Samaj (SSS)
Women Acting Together for Change (WATCH)
World Health Organisation (WHO)
UNDP-HIV/AIDS Programme Management Unit (PMU)

UNDP has been advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. World leaders have pledged to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, including the overarching goal of reducing poverty in half by 2015. UNDP's network links and coordinates global and national efforts to reach these Goals. UNDP focuses on helping countries to build and share solutions to the challenges of Democratic Governance, Poverty Reduction, Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Energy and Environment and HIV/AIDS.