The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has for the first time allocated a grant to a non-governmental organization by presenting $485,000 US to the Lutheran World Federation for its HIV/AIDS action plan. Previous grants of the Global Fund, an independent, public-private partnership established in 2002, have gone directly to countries. “It’s vitally important that we build bridges between faith-based organizations and partners in-country in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund.
In May 2002, the LWF launched its HIV/AIDS Campaign in Nairobi, Kenya, where leaders of 27 African member churches committed themselves to breaking the silence surrounding the disease. Similar processes will be initiated for LWF member churches in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation. The purpose of the LWF campaign is to strengthen support among the federation’s 136 member churches in 76 countries serving 62 million people. The plan includes conferences with church leaders, and the employment of an AIDS consultant to organize them and to co-ordinate follow-up activities.