Action guide highlights global HIV/AIDS challenge for faiths

By staff writers
February 13, 2007

More than 70 percent of the world's population define themselves as people of faith, and faith-based organizations are involved in more than a quarter of care and treatment projects world-wide on HIV and AIDS, according to the head of a Geneva church-based advocacy group – writes Peter Kenny for Ecumenical News International (ENI).

Linda Hartke, coordinator of the Geneva-based Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, was commenting during the announcement of a guide about the response of five world religions to HIV and AIDS and opportunities for collaboration with governments and secular groups.

"The presence of religious groups in virtually every community, the involvement of faith-based organizations in over a quarter of the existing care and treatment projects world-wide on HIV and AIDS, and the fact that 70 percent of the world's population identify themselves as people of faith means that the more religious beliefs, structures and current responses … are understood, the more we can build on strengths and overcome obstacles for a collaborative response to the pandemic," said Hartke.

The guide is called: ‘Scaling up effective partnerships: A guide to working with faith-based organisations in the response to HIV and AIDS.’

It provides background information and case studies and aims to offer practical guidance for United Nations staff, government officials, networks of HIV-positive people, non-governmental organizations, foundations, and the private sector who want to collaborate with faith-based groups on joint projects related to HIV and AIDS.

The guide reviews the relevant teachings and structures of five of the major world religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Examples of current responses, potential obstacles, terminology and case studies are intended to give practical advice for initiating or expanding collaboration at local and national levels.

The 132-page guide has been produced by Church World Service, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, Norwegian Church Aid, UNAIDS, and the World Conference of Religions for Peace.

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is an international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on global trade, and HIV and AIDS.

"Scaling up effective partnerships: A guide to working with faith-based organisations in the response to HIV and AIDS", is available online in English, French and Spanish.

[With grateful acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Conference of European Churches]

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