By: Necus M. Andrews
Two support groups of persons living with HIV (PLHIV) in Gbarnga, Bong County have received an empowerment support from Stop AIDS in Liberia (SAIL) with funding from the Swedish International Cooperation Development Agency (Sida), under its Just and Equal Communities project.
Managed by Actionaid-Liberia, the project is being implemented by SAIL with a concentration on securing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights in Liberia
The beneficiary PLHIV groups are Welekerma and Faith, predominantly run by women affected and infected by HIV. The donated items include cash, IEC/BCC materials, Boxes of condom and printed t-shirts with various HIV public awareness messages.
Speaking Sunday, October 3, 2021 in Ggarnga, Bong County the Executive Director of Stop AIDS in Liberia, Evans L. Adofo said the support is aimed at empowering the women to response to the impacts of HIV and to increase awareness on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and human rights issues in the county.
Mr. Adofo told the women that the support is to empower them to positively buttress effort to accelerate the country’s national HIV response in achieving the 95-95-95 target by 2030 and widen conversation around SRHR issues.
Mr. Adofo called on the women to use the items for the intended purpose in raising awareness for Women, young people and marginalized groups to live in a healthy, equitable and inclusive environment void of stigma and dissemination, which is the overall goal of the project.
He challenged the women to remain united because SAIL and Actionaid count on them to ensure that people are educated on HIV and SRHR issues that are affecting Women, young people and marginalized groups.
“We depend on you because you are in a strategic position as PLHIV groups to create the required awareness to educate people who are involved in stigmatizing people seeking HIV and SRHR services,” Mr. Adofo said.
Mr. Adofo: “We are impressed by the work that you are doing here because you are bringing to light human rights issues that policymakers need to address. So, the items are just our way of saying thank you. We want to appreciate our sponsor Sida through Actionaid-Liberia for the support.”
In remarks the President of Welekerma, who spoke on behalf of the two groups thanked SAIL for the donation which she said will help address some operational issues they are faced with in Bong County.
“The donation was timely because it came at the time when we are so much in need of financial, moral and material supports to implement our various activities. We are very happy, and let me on behalf of our two groups promise that these items will be used for the intended purpose,” she said.
She urged other well-meaning organizations to emulate the good example of SAIL to empower them in order to sustain government and partners’ efforts of ending AIDS as a public health threat.
Stop AIDS in Liberia, (SAIL), a human rights based organization has been involved in creating HIV and AIDS awareness targeting Youth, Sex Workers, People Living with HIV, as well as providing Home Based Care and Counseling for community members, since its establishment 1999.
In 2010, the organization expanded its scope to address issues affecting persons of diverse Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities (SOGI) and other key populations.
Since then, the organization has remained supportive in buttressing the developmental initiatives of Liberia in promoting and protecting the rights of all people, regardless of sex, age, nationality, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or health status.