APLHIV Pakistan journey from ashes to a leading national network (Part 1)


 
The Association of People Living with HIV-Pakistan, commonly known as the APLHIV, was established in 2006 but it took nearly two years for it to be a more effective and visible entity. In 2008, the APLHIV started implementing various projects from institutionalization to national level project like Stigma Index Project in 2009.

One of the flagging issues that APLHIV faced was lack of leadership and insufficient capacity to break the barriers of having the organization work under the vision and mission for which the founders established it, from within the community. Despite being a community-based organization, from 2006 to 2011 APLHIV was mainly led and managed by non-community members. Operating out of a modest one room office located in a building and with little amenities, there were only two low–ranking members from within the community who had little say in APLHIV affairs.

Later, the departure of the founder members and arrival of new members was a politically motivated move and it affected the acceptance of APLHIV as a national network in an unfavourable way.

This time a coordinator from within the community was selected through a transparent and competitive process by a broad–based selection panel.

The donor agencies in general and the UNAIDS country office in particular provided complete support to APLHIV not only for its sustainability but also for its strengthening. But the lack of leadership from within the community was obvious to all the stakeholders. “I have invested million of (Pakistani) Rupees in APLHIV but what is the result?  I will not grant a single penny more before visible changes are implemented”.  These were the remarks of the then UCC – UNAIDS country office.

A little time back, APLHIV was taken on board for one of the projects funded by the Global Fund and led by APN Plus and the manager at the Grant Management Unit (GMU) firmly asked APLHIV management team to hire a project coordinator through a transparent, fair and merit-based process. This is when the things began to change.

This time, a coordinator from within the community was selected through a transparent and competitive process. A broad–based selection panel comprising of representatives from UN agencies, board members, CCM and NACP completed the process and on 16th January, 2012, a right candidate was selected.

The candidate was diagnosed as HIV positive just 3 months prior to the selection.  He came from a well–to–do family but the initial 3 months after the diagnosis totally changed his life perspectives and objectives. He spoke with his family members and informed them that he had chosen to use his qualifications and capabilities for the HIV community.

With no prior experience in the welfare sector, he dedicated himself to gather as much information as he could using several different channels, including the Internet. Soon he gained reasonable amount of knowledge to plan his move ahead and his vision was supported by all the relevant stakeholders with their encouragement.

 

For more info about Pakistan Association of People Living with HIV, visit the homepage here.
 
Note : Photo provided with courtesy from Pakistan APLHIV.
 

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