Monday, 27 September 2010

Only 8 days left! Please support this campaign

Born HIV Free

Born HIV Free is a campaign by the Global Fund to mobilize public support for a world where no child is born with HIV by 2015. Originated and supported by Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Global Fund Ambassador, this is one of the most ambitious campaigns of its kind.

Born HIV Free will run until the key replenishment meeting of the Global Fund in New York in October, in order to mobilize public support for donors’ decisions which will determine whether the battle to virtually eliminate mother to child transmission of the virus will be won or lost.

Please put an end to the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children by supporting your country’s contribution to the Global Fund.

Sign up here:

Also, see the videos on YouTube

We need 500,000 signatures by Thursday 30th September 2010!

Third Voluntary Replenishment Meeting

2010 marks the Third Voluntary Replenishment Process.  The replenishment process is critical not only to the future of the Global Fund, but also to many millions of people affected and infected by HIV, TB and Malaria around the world and whom depend on it for life-saving treatment, commodities, support, and services.  The replenishment is not just about money.

The Third Voluntary Replenishment Meeting will be held in New York, from 4th to 5th October 2010.  International leaders, governments and donors will come together to ‘pledge‘ their financial commitments to the Global Fund for the coming three years. The replenishment must raise at least USD$20 billion if the extraordinary gains made by the Global Fund over the past decade are to be sustained and accelerated.  While many may argue that USD$20 billion is a huge sum in these ‘resource constrained’ times, it is a reasonable investment which will continue to pay substantial dividends over many years, when compared to the USD$700 billion deployed overnight to bail out Wall Street banks during the financial meltdown.

Contributing to the success of the Global Fund is its commitment to the core principles of demand-driven, country-owned responses.  Some international donors have pre-empted the outcome of the Third Voluntary Replenishment, and have begun calling for caps on the amount of funding to be made available for each round.  This would be a disastrous consequence, going against the very basic foundation of which the Global Fund was established upon, and would leave countries and communities without the resources identified as necessary to effectively respond to HIV, TB and Malaria.

In signing the letter, we demonstrate our support for the Global Fund and demand that governments commit to the health of communities across the world by increasing their financial contribution to the Global Fund and raising the USD$20 billion at the Third Voluntary Replenishment.

We need 500,000 signatures by Thursday 30th September 2010!

Please sign here

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Return to Africa

It was my first time back in Africa since I left Equatorial Guinea in December 2008. This is the Africa I remember, this is the Africa that keeps drawing me back. Equatorial Guinea was not Africa, it was its own unique “dark” version of a dark continent a century ago. Being in Nairobi and Juba brings me back.. to other times, other memories, other lives, other reasons for being there. Surprisingly, even being at the UNDP office in Sudan brought back happier memories of Kigali and Kampala. UNDP Equatorial Guinea was not an office. It was an impound lot, a waste site, a decaying corner of a decaying street.

The air in Nairobi was cool but surprisingly refreshing, despite the exhaust fumes! I stayed with Sabine and her family (Jobo, Jimmy and Sophie). Westlands is so lush. I went to bed with birds singing and I woke up to birds singing! I had mangos fresh off the tree.

It was surreal seeing Sabine in Nairobi after all these years (2006). She was great letting me - and my back and forth itinerary – stay with her and her family.

My time in Nairobi was short-lived (and leisure time non-existent) because of a full-day meeting on my only full day there. I took the morning flight (jet link) to Juba, South Sudan. It wasn’t as bad as it was played out to be. The Quality Hotel wasn’t as bad as I was made to believe. Juba itself is like a town being built from scratch. It consists of roads, containers and Sudanese huts. At 35-38 degrees, the weather was not unbearably hot. However, I can’t imagine what it would feel like at 40 to 42 degrees in a container with no air-conditioning! It was even more surreal to see Sujitha (from UNDP Rwanda). It was great to have a quick catch-up over lunch.

In Khartoum, we stayed at the Al Salam Rotana. An oasis in the desert! The children wear military camouflages as their school uniforms! It was pretty… interesting to see.

The Sudanese are a mix of north Africa/Middle East and black Africa. The Dinkas are amazingly tall. I had no idea people could be so tall!

On my back and forth to and from Nairobi to Juba and Khartoum, I was able to squeeze in a dinner with Sabine at an Ethiopian restaurant, nyama choma just before another flight, and an overnight safari in Lake Nakuru.