As the global HIV/AIDS movement gathered this week in Amsterdam for the 22nd international AIDS conference, it has become abundantly clear that “…the only way forward for the AIDS response is the way led by communities holding the wealth and diversity of their lived experiences of exclusion and struggle for health and rights. It is community networks that have unique reach and impact at community level and ability to influence changes for the better well-being and inclusion of our community members.” – Johnny Tohme, Community Mobilization Manager at M-Pact – grantee of the Robert Carr Fund.
The indisputable value of investment in civil society and community-led HIV responses is reflected in a 25% increase in collective contributions by the governments of the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Robert Carr Fund, resulting in over USD 37 million investment for 2019-2021.
Making the long journey of communities “from invisible to indivisible” possible
Commitments to strengthening the voices and influence of the communities, most effected by the epidemic, in the global HIV response came from the funding partners of the Robert Carr Fund at the Fund’s special event on July 24th “From invisibility to Indivisibility.” The U. S. government continues to demonstrate its support for civil society with a contribution of USD 15 million for 2019-2021. The government of Norway announced their continued investment of NOK 36 million in the Fund until 2021. And Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced further support with USD 3 million for the next three years to the Robert Carr Fund.
Advancing human rights, gender equality and social acceptance
Earlier, on July 23d at the opening of the conference, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, announced their investment of EUR 10 million in the Robert Carr Fund for the next 5 years: “It is important to focus on human rights, gender equality and social acceptance. I therefore commit 10 million Euros to the Robert Carr Fund to make HIV prevention more accessible to vulnerable groups, such as men who have sex with men, drug users, transgender people, young people and sex workers.”
Supporting grassroots organizations to keep HIV on the agenda
On July 24th, the UK committed to increase its support to help people in grassroots organisations keep HIV on the agenda in countries around the world. UK International Development Minister, Alistair Burt, pledged that DFID will step up its support with another GBP 6 million for the next 3 years for the Robert Carr Fund. The UK pledge is in recognition of the Fund’s dedication to supporting community networks across the world to realise human rights of people with HIV, tackle stigma, and advocate for policy change.
Robert Carr Fund’s gratitude for continued commitment to sustaining strong HIV civil society
The Robert Carr Fund and Aidsfonds, as Fund Management Agent, celebrate our funding partners’ and UNAIDS’ continued commitment to sustaining strong HIV civil society. “We are grateful to our funding partners for pooling their financial resources through our Fund and to our grantees too – for pooling invaluable technical, intellectual and emotional capital of their communities, to jointly achieve greater impact. Newly committed resources to the Fund demonstrate confidence in investing in regional and global networks as value for money and are critical to advancing an effective and inclusive response to HIV.” – Dr. Sigrun Mogedal, Chair of the Robert Carr Fund International Steering Committee.
Founded in 2012, the Fund carries the name of Dr. Robert Carr, who was a charismatic figure, devoted to defending human rights in his native Caribbean region and globally and to strengthening the role of civil society in the HIV response at large. Over the last six years, the Robert Carr Fund has served a unique role in mobilizing and disseminating pooled resources for global and regional civil society networks to maximize country impact. To date, close to USD 50 million have been allocated to grantees, including groups of people living with HIV, men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender persons, people who use drugs, young women and girls in highly affected regions of the world and other populations greatly impacted by the epidemic. The Fund’s institutional focus recognizes networks’ critical value in ensuring access of inadequately served populations to health, justice and resources. The Robert Carr Fund supports building the foundation for civil society networks to do the work that ultimately gives communities a voice, strength and influence in the HIV response.