A civic organisation in Mali has won the International Service Human Rights Award for the Defence of Human Rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS.
The Association pour le Developpement et l’Appui Communautaire (ADAC) – the Association for Community Development and Support - works with people with HIV in the Sikasso region of Mali.
The awards highlight the special role international development workers play in protecting and defending the human rights of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. The awards are given in four categories: women, children, disabled people, and HIV and AIDS.
The winner in each category receives £3,000 and an expenses paid trip to London to receive their award. The organisers say these awards ensure that the human rights of those honoured are less likely to be violated, along with those for whom they work.
ADAC has been a partner of UK-based international development agency Christian Aid since 2004. Its HIV work is focused on Sikasso, a region which borders the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso and has a very high prevalence rate of HIV compared with the rest of the country.
Yacouba Kone, Christian Aid’s country manager in Mali, explained: "ADAC fully deserves this award. It was the first NGO to work in this zone which has some of the most vulnerable people in Mali; many are displaced from the conflict in the Ivory Coast. Their knowledge of HIV is very low and it is thanks to ADAC that these people are learning about HIV prevention."
Christian Aid’s head of the HIV Unit, Dr Rachel Baggaley, said: "We are extremely proud that ADAC has won this award. ADAC always prioritises the voices of people living with HIV which is the key to their success."
"It is also the key to combating stigma and discrimination; one of our main objectives with all our HIV partner organisations," she added.