Comic Relief funding for HIV, Diversity and Dignity in Sub-Saharan Africa

23rd September 2016

Today, Comic Relief is announcing a new HIV, Diversity and Dignity funding initiative, to address the needs of marginalised population groups who are disproportionately affected by HIV. According to the World Health Organisation, this includes: men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, people in prisons, sex workers and transgender people.

It is reported that worldwide, 40-50% of all HIV infections among adults aged 15-49 occur among these groups. Despite these very high rates of HIV, marginalisation and exclusion means that many living with HIV are unable to access care and support services. Although HIV treatment is now widely available, fear of stigma and discrimination stops many from having a HIV test or from seeking treatment. Sexual violence also increases vulnerability to HIV and these groups are particularly at risk.

Comic Relief’s resources will be focused on addressing the needs of these population groups, also referred to as ‘Key Populations’, in Sub-Saharan Africa. Comic Relief funding will not support direct service delivery, but will be used to strengthen referral pathways to a comprehensive range of services including but not limited to: prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections, HIV testing and counselling, antiretroviral treatment and treatment adherence.

The initiative will help to remove structural barriers like stigma which stop these groups from accessing services as well as giving them a voice, strengthening their livelihoods and improving the policy environment to enable them to claim their rights.

Comic Relief will support activities that reflect strong community approaches and participation and that work in partnership with others to scale-up and build sustainable responses. Successful applications will build on the evidence of what works, value learning and sharing of lessons.

Applicants must be based in the UK and working with partners in Sub-Saharan Africa who are either capacity building organisations that support community groups of Key Populations, or working directly with organisations led by Key Populations, or their networks. Building capacity of these organisations is a key outcome of this initiative. The UK and local partners must have a demonstrated record of working with Key Populations of at least five years. There is no minimum grant size but the maximum grant size available is £250,000.

This is a one stage application process and we will be open to receive proposals online from Wednesday 19th October 2016 up to midday on Wednesday 16th November 2016. Final decisions will be given by the end of March 2017.

Please check back on our grants page from 19th October 2016 for more details and to apply for funding.

13th October 2016: Since we first published this story, we have revised the list of countries where we will accept applications from. We will now accept applications for work in any of the following nine countries: Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zambia.

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