SOUTHERN AFRICA: Twenty-four HIV/AIDS projects awarded financing
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© The World Bank Group
The World Bank and its development partners awarded nearly $400,000 to "highly innovative" HIV/AIDS-related projects
JOHANNESBURG, 4 June (PLUSNEWS) - Twenty four innovative HIV/AIDS projects from across Southern Africa were presented with start-up funds this week by the World Bank Development Marketplace.
The World Bank and its development partners awarded nearly $400,000 to "highly innovative" HIV/AIDS-related projects that bring people and institutions together and have the best promise of moving from concept to concrete results.
"This is the World Bank's flagship innovation instrument. It taps into the non-governmental sector to recognise innovation that exists outside of government. Governments have their own structures and rules that restrict people from being able to think out-of-the-box. Innovative people like the ones we are celebrating here today are social entrepreneurs that follow hunches... we are able to help them follow their hunch with resources that are accessible because we believe in their vision," World Bank Managing Director Dr Mamphela Ramphele told PlusNews.
The Global Development Marketplace began in 1998 as a vehicle for World Bank support to non-governmental actors in the fight against poverty.
"The Marketplace provides a platform for sharing innovative ideas, building networks and partnerships while providing seed money for small projects," the Bank's external relations officer and project co-ordinator, Mallory Saleson said.
A snapshot of the winning ideas from Southern Africa included a youth campsite for reaching vulnerable children as a way of de-stigmatising HIV/AIDS; an income-generating tea garden project run by women infected or affected by HIV/AIDS; children's theatre projects; and an HIV/AIDS education audiotape programme for taxi drivers.
Eengudi in Namibia was one of the 24 projects that won. Their plan was aimed at empowering rural communities with the skills to write living wills to address issues around extended family members inheriting the property, "leaving the children, wives and to a certain extent husbands, with nothing".
In South Africa's Eastern Cape, a women's advice centre established a "model solar powered sun-bakery" in the rural community of Willowvale, to bake bread and generate income for HIV-positive women. Two HIV-positive women entrepreneurs are to be trained in business management skills and solar bakery management techniques. The sun bakery would provide a needed food staple where fresh bread is not currently available.
"We simply cannot talk about HIV/AIDS and not talk about women. As we now know, almost 60 percent of those infected are women. Even women that are not HIV positive, young women and elderly women bear the brunt of the crisis. We want to see projects that address these issues," said Dr Ramphele.
The theme of the first Development Marketplace in the Southern African region, 'HIV/AIDS: "Turning Ideas into Action', inspired over 300 entries across the five competing countries: Botswana, Lesotyho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. An independent panel wittled down the field to the 38 finalists.
Entries spanned five catagories, namely: promoting income generation for HIV positive people, especially in rural areas; projects that would step up awareness for prevention, especially among young people; projects reaching vulnerable people, including children, people with disabilities and orphans, ways to de-stigmatize the disease and HIV/AIDS workplace programs and private sector community programs.
"Winners from the SADC [Southern African Development Community] countries in the Global Development Marketplace have been at the forefront with a total of 19 prizes, nine from South Africa alone," said Dr Ramphele.
The US Agency for International Development and the International Finance Corporation worked with the World Bank to make the Development Marketplace possible. To date the Development Marketplace has awarded over $24 million to 370 projects in over 60 countries.
For a complete list of the 24 finalists go to: http://web.worldbank.org/