December 1st is the World AIDS Day. Every year on this day, the world shows support for people living with HIV and commemorates those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Worldwide, an estimated 36,7 million people have the virus and more than 35 million people have died of it. On the occasion of the World AIDS Day, we want to congratulate all the amazing NGOs that work in this sector and give some tips for applying for grants.
Use the newest scientific developments
When you work in the field of HIV and AIDS, it is of utmost importance that you use the newest and most recent scientific knowledge to do so. The field is constantly evolving and new developments are made. You have to make sure that your premises are based on the most accurate data so that you can make the biggest impact. Stay up to date in the field and follow closely what is been published about it to make sure you are on top of the game.
When you approach the fight against HIV and AIDS, make sure you think about it in a holistic way. While fighting a disease might seem straightforward on the surface, there are so many factors that play into it. If you do not consider the different circumstances people are in, your project might fail even if you have great ideas. Poverty, gender inequality and a lack of education are cross-cutting themes playing a huge role in the dispersion of the virus and should be taken into account. If people already have contracted the virus, it is even more important that they get support on different levels so they do not pass it on to other people and are stable enough to take care of themselves.
Include all stakeholders
HIV and AIDS disproportionally affect marginalized groups. When you propose a project, make sure you take into account all the stakeholders and all potential beneficiary groups. The most vulnerable groups of society often are overlooked but are at the highest risk for contracting the disease. You need to address this in your proposal and have a system to include specifically these groups.
Do not fall back on pity plea
While it can be tempting to make pity pleas for your beneficiaries, it is never advisable to do so. Instead, try to empower your beneficiaries in a way that they learn to speak up for themselves. Particularly in the case of work with AIDS and HIV, it is important to make clear that the people – even if they have contracted the virus – are much more and cannot be reduced to only this one characteristic.
Embed your project in broader strategies
Make sure that your project is not a stand-alone project but is embedded and connected within broader strategies. Almost all countries that deal with many cases of HIV and AIDS have a national strategy to combat it. The Sustainable Development Goals address the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Make sure that your project fits within a broader scheme and aligns with national and regional strategies. If for some reason it does not, make sure that you address the reasons for it – i.e. if you do not agree with the national strategies or feel like they need to be supplemented.
If you are currently looking for funding in the field of combatting AIDS and HIV, check out this funding opportunity by the US Embassy in Namibia.