GENEVA, Switzerland -- The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has signed an agreement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to receive a grant of USD 485,000 to fund its HIV/AIDS action plan. This is the first time the Global Fund has signed an agreement with a nongovernmental organization (NGO) since its 2001 founding. LWF projects and initiatives to fight HIV/AIDS will be supported for the next two years, with an additional USD 215,000 in the third year subject to an interim assessment report.
In his statement on the occasion of the signing, LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko referred to the launching of the LWF HIV/AIDS Campaign in May 2002 in Nairobi, Kenya, where church leaders of twenty-seven African LWF member churches committed themselves to break the silence on the disease. The outcome of the Pan-African HIV/AIDS consultation determined the LWF HIV/AIDS agenda in Africa for the years ahead. Similar processes for the member churches will be initiated in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation, he said.
"We shall do all we can to make a strong contribution to the global efforts to overcome this pandemic, especially in those areas where churches, together with other faith communities and culture-sustaining institutions, need to respond in an effective, appropriate and timely manner," Noko continued.
The LWF campaign includes its action plan titled "Compassion, Conversion, Care: Responding as Churches to the HIV/AIDS Pandemic." The overall purpose of the plan is to motivate, strengthen and support the LWF member churches. Components of the plan include the organization of conferences with church leaders, and employment of an AIDS consultant to organize the conferences and coordinate follow-up activities. The newly appointed consultant will operate from the LWF Department for Mission and Development and work in full unison with the Department for World Service and Department for Theology and Studies. This will allow for a new working style that is issue-oriented rather than plainly interdepartmental. The LWF member churches will develop follow-up initiatives. The LWF secretariat has developed a rapid response procedure to financially enable these initiatives. Church leaders, joined by women and youth involved, will be expected to work with the national Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCM) in their countries.
The LWF already supports HIV/AIDS-related projects in Africa and Latin America financed with funds from several other donor organizations. Professionals and volunteers engaged in these projects are seeking deeper commitment and support from church leaders.
Dr Noko said, "Resources have been pledged to overcome this life threatening illness, but they need to be renewed and increased. All nations are challenged now to revise and refresh constantly their methods of addressing this immense threat to their population. The signing of this Grant Agreement sends an important message to the international community, declaring mutuality between us, working together as national and international organizations towards the eradication of this pandemic."
Executive Director of the Global Fund, Dr. Richard Feachem said, "It is vitally important that we build bridges between faith-based organizations and partners in-country in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Global Fund process enables this linkage and affirms it with substantial new resources."
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria is an independent, public-private partnership working to dramatically increase funding to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and rapidly direct these funds to effective prevention and treatment programs in the countries with the greatest need. The Fund seeks to accomplish these objectives by facilitating the sharing of resources and expertise across national boundaries, and between the private and public sectors.
By Albert H. Lee