|The Business Response to HIV/AIDS: Innovation & Partnership (UNAIDS, 1997, 60 p.)|
|Examples of Company Actions on HIV/AIDS|
A. THE ORGANISATION
Rotary International is active in 155 countries through more than 28,000 clubs with nearly 1.2 million members. The organisation was founded in Chicago in 1905, with the first club outside the US starting up in Canada in 1910, followed by Ireland in 1911. Each club is composed of men and women established in their businesses and professions who work as volunteers to encourage and foster the ideal of service in personal, business and community life, as well as to advance international understanding and development.
Rotary was the leading non-governmental organisation associated with the founding of the United Nations in 1945, and helped to formulate many of the UN's early and important declarations.
B. REASONS FOR ACTION ON HIV/AIDS
UNAIDS estimates indicate that half of all infections to date have been in the 15- to 24-year-old population group, and that every day, well over 4,000 young people lose their future to a preventable disease. Rotary understands that no community initiative for youth can ignore the AIDS crisis. The organisation acknowledges that its wide global network and tradition of outreach to young people can help disseminate the HIV/AIDS prevention message around the world.
C. EXAMPLE ACTIONS
Rotary International began its AIDS education and prevention work in 1993. Projects to date include The Los Altos Story, an award-winning video showing how AIDS has affected the community of Los Altos in California, US. The video has been distributed to Rotary clubs in other countries. One Rotary club in Delhi, India, helped establish a terminal care facility for AIDS patients at a city hospital with support from Rotarians in California. In Chad, the Rotary club of N'Djamena, supported by clubs in Belgium and France, has integrated AIDS education into its literacy campaign, using comic-book materials contributed by a group of young artists.
In July 1996, Rotary International and UNAIDS jointly established a programme "Working with New Generations for a Safer World" that mobilises Rotary clubs worldwide to expand and develop targeted youth programmes addressing such areas as health, hunger, education, the environment, human values and leadership issues. With UNAIDS as a primary resource, Rotary is using its global, community-based network to launch public awareness campaigns promoting AIDS awareness and safe practices among youth.
Many Rotary clubs around the world have taken this opportunity to work together with UNAIDS to improve the lives of youth in their communities. One example is "Nkosi's Haven an initiative between the Rotary Club of Sandown in South Africa, the Medical Association of South Africa (MSA) and UNAIDS. This joint project will be a live-in, short-term care centre particularly for mothers and/or children living with HIV/AIDS which, in addition to counselling and caring for them, will also train them in how to handle and teach others about HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS is also working with the Rotary Club of Sandown and MSA on a wider initiative to mobilise the South African private sector through:
· establishing and managing a network of companies, NGOs and HIV/AIDS projects which would provide access to national and international sources of information and educational materials, create a forum for discussion and debate on practical issues in responding to HIV/AIDS, and create a mechanism for identifying locally relevant examples of good practice;
· co-ordinating national and international fundraising efforts to support projects across South Africa;
· co-ordinating information flow between different sectors.
In Europe, the Rotary Club of Bulgaria has worked together with UNAIDS country officials in increasing awareness amongst youth. The Rotary Club of Caracas, Venezuela, has created an action committee on HIV/AIDS in their community which is responsible for gathering experts as panellists to increase HIV/AIDS awareness, reproducing and disseminating materials on HIV/AIDS prevention, mobilising resources, conducting surveys and conducting an awareness-raising campaign amongst youth in low-income areas of the city. In Bangladesh, UNAIDS and local Rotary Clubs have run educational seminars and World AIDS Day rallies, as well as press events. Music has been an avenue that Rotary has used to reach youth in France. The clubs of Cosne-Sancerre and Puisaye-Forterre work with a local Lions club to host an annual festival that includes a rock concert to draw young people and a roundtable on AIDS issues to inform them. Funds raised from the event benefit a number of AIDS organisations in the country. The Los Altos Rotary Club in the US continues to a be a key supporter of the UNAIDS/Rotary programme, sharing its experiences with other Rotary Clubs around the world.
Interact and Rotaract, Rotary-sponsored service clubs for young people, are playing an integral role in the programme. In the US, for example, an Interact club in Livingston, Tennessee, produced a puppet show for students in kindergarten through to fourth grade (ie, from approximately 5 to 9 years old), while in Glendale, California, Interactors conducted an educational forum for their parents.
In June 1997 UNAIDS worked with Rotary to promote the joint initiative at the Rotary International Convention in Glasgow, which drew thousands of Rotarians from around the world. It is envisaged that this project will be an increasingly valuable mechanism for mobilising business and local communities to respond to HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and care in the coming years.
Contact: Ms Aida OIkkonen
Community Development Program Officer
Rotary International Secretariat
One Rotary Center
1560 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201
Tel: 1 847 866 3423