PARTNERING FOR CHANGE THROUGH THE GUYANA HIV/AIDS REDUCTION AND PREVENTION PROJECT (GHARP I AND II)
Howard Delafield International (HDI) has again been selected to be part of the team for the second phase of the Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention Project (GHARP), implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Presidentās Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), faith-based organizations and the private sector. HDI joins project leader Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF) as partners for GHARP II. HDI served as the marketing and private sector partner for the first phase of GHARP from 2004-09 with a consortium led by Family Health International (FHI), which also included MSH.
The follow-on project, GHARP II, which runs from 2009-12, focuses on strengthening HIV/AIDS programs that are currently managed and coordinated by the National AIDS Program Secretariat (NAPS). Targeted civil society organizations will receive technical assistance to enhance the efficiency and quality of prevention and care programs, especially those serving most-at-risk populations, including those in remote mining and logging regions. In its continued role, HDI will concentrate on expanding condom marketing efforts and strengthening and broadening private sector partnerships and initiatives, including the Guyana Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS.
PAST SUCCESSES UNDER GHARP
HDI applied a holistic approach to behavior change communication (BCC) and social marketing in Guyana during its first five years. It involved, on the one hand, activities and initiatives that created demand for products and services promoted by GHARP and, on the other hand, helped ensure an adequate supply of condoms and high quality service provision. The approach included strategic BCC, condom social marketing and private sector partnerships. Through its private sector partnership program, the initiative also helped create a greater demand for workplace education and training and workplace policy initiatives.
MARKETING/BEHAVIOR CHANGE COMMUNICATION
As part of the overall effort to help mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS in Guyana, HDI has developed and launched a number of communication campaigns including:
• Don’t Dis Me, a creative and powerful media campaign aimed at reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS;
• Knowing is Better, aimed at promoting voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) as an entry point to prevention, care and support and designed to create a sense of risk among the core target groups to dispel the myths and excuses of why people don’t get tested;
• What Your Mamma Never Told You About Making Babies, aimed at promoting prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and ante-natal services;
• Get Yours, aimed at promoting condoms among MARPs;
• Marriage—the Place You Belong, aimed at promoting faithfulness among married couples and addressing the harms and risks of having multiple partners;
• Sometimes All It Takes is a No, aimed at promoting abstinence among youth focused on addressing peer pressure (with tools for use in schools); and
• My Body, My Rules Initiative to address the issue of gender and help empower young women in making safe choices to protect themselves from HIV.
The innovative materials and interventions developed for the campaigns include TV and radio spots, music videos, posters, brochures, comic books, stickers, billboards, etc. Inter-personal communication activities, such as community performances and VCT outreach, have been used by field staff of NGOs, faith-based organizations and health workers to complement the mass media efforts. HDI also launched a campaign targeted at people living with HIV/AIDS called “Doing It for Myself,” including a magazine style brochure called “The Navigator: Positive Living.”
In addition, HDI organized one of the largest events in the Caribbean, an international concert to launch a campaign that aims to help reduce stigma and discrimination, and at the same time, create a forum for attracting and engaging youth. Participants in the concert included top local, regional and international performers and it achieved one of the highest ever attendance figures for a concert in Guyana. Two of HDI/GHARP TV spots, the only ones selected for Guyana, were featured in a PAHO video that highlights HIV/AIDS TV spots that have aired in the Caribbean, Central and South America during the past ten years.
PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS
In an effort to help scale up USAIDās investment in Guyana and to help create a sustainable coalition of private sector companies that are engaged in HIV/AIDS reduction and prevention activities, HDI helped lead the development of the 46-member Guyana Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS from a handful of companies to what is now considered a best practice model for the region. Working with the Ministry of Health, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and other stakeholders and partners÷including the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria and the Pan Caribbean Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS÷the Coalition serves as a coordinating mechanism for in-house workplace prevention education and training and links workers to member-provided or sponsored products and services÷such as VCT, PMTCT, and treatment and care options. The Coalition also serves as the vehicle to help develop corporate policies to protect affected workers against discrimination. HDI identified and trained the local GHARP team in all areas of private sector engagement and led the development of the Guyana Coalitionās first Business Plan and Membership/Marketing Plan, which involves broadening future membership by engaging small- and medium-sized businesses, industry affiliates, ILO member companies as well as supply chain affiliates of current members.
CONDOM SOCIAL MARKETING
HDI has developed an innovative approach to condom social marketing that is not only cost-effective but also self-sustainable beyond the scope of the project. A departure from the traditional social marketing paradigm, HDIās approach focuses on increasing condom access by leveraging and partnering with the private sector and by creating non-traditional outlets through sales promoters hired by HDI/GHARP. Through promotion of existing condom brands (non-subsidized), HDI's approach effectively eliminates the need for the creation of a new brand of condoms and all the costs that go along with a new brand such as import, warehousing, advertising and creation of a parallel distribution network. Signs of overall growth of the condom market, as evidenced in sales of approximately 1.2 million condoms since HDI's entry in to the market (which represents about 70% of the condom market), an increase in demand for condoms in non-traditional outlets and creation of 1,000 new condom distribution points are all indicators of the value of this innovative approach.