Plan To Foster Women's, Girls' Leadership In Fight Against HIV

Armen Hareyan's picture

Delegates on Saturday at the close of the first International Women's Summit on Women's Leadership and HIV and AIDSin Nairobi, Kenya, released a 10-point action plan that aims to fosterleadership roles of women and girls in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the Nation/ reports (Wafula, Nation/, 7/9).

The conference, organized by the World YWCA,was attended by more than 1,500 AIDS advocates, celebrities, communityhealth workers, global leaders and policymakers. The summit aimed toaddress the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls and examined issuessuch as violence against women, poverty and children's rights, andaccess to resources. The summit is co-convened by the International Community of Women Living With HIV/AIDS and had support from UNAIDS' Global Coalition on Women and AIDS and the United Nations Population Fund (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/6).


Theplan, called Nairobi 2007 Call to Action, identifies strategies forchange that can be implemented by communities, religious groups,families and individuals, the Nation/ reports. The plan ofaction includes securing significant involvement of women in decisionmaking processes; promoting equality and the human rights of girls andwomen; ensuring their sexual, physical and psychological safety andsecurity; promoting their reproductive and sexual rights and health;and increasing their access to education, economic security and otherresources, such as the right to own and inherit property(Nation/, 7/9).

According to South Africa DeputyPresident Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, men also must become involved toeffectively combat the disease. "There aren't enough men who are takingenough responsibility to go for tests and live responsibly, and thatkind of (behavior) compromises the fight" against HIV/AIDS,Mlambo-Ngcuka said, adding that the "response to HIV will not be won ifmen do not come on board since they are equally affected or infected."In addition, empowering women is an effective HIV prevention method,Mlambo-Ngcuka said. "Addressing the economic status of women" willprovide women with resources and choices so "they can get out [of]abusive relationships" and "acquire the support that they need," shesaid, adding, "The most important thing is [to] remove women from thebottom of the pyramid" (AFP/China Daily, 7/7).

MusimbiKanyoro, World YWCA general secretary, said the call to action is a"pledge each of us at this summit is making in our hearts and with ourhands. Women are committing themselves to do something to win the waron AIDS." She added, "Where one woman acts, more will be inspired andbe committed. More will take action until there is no power that canstop us." Conference delegates also pledged to work toward increasingaccess to services among women living with and affected by HIV,including safe testing, treatment and support services and promotingthe rights of young women and children (Nation/, 7/9).

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