The Belgian Foreign Affairs Ministry hosted a training workshop (5 May 2006) which brought together disability organizations, development NGOs, academics and officials to consider the way forward on addressing HIV/AIDS and disability in development work.
This was the first training event to be supported by the pilot project on mainstreaming disability and development cooperation 'Breaking the cycle of poverty and disability in Development Cooperation'.
Anja de Greve of PHOS, one of the project partners, highlighted the reasons behind the exclusion of disabled people in developing countries to HIV/AIDS information and awareness raising measures as well as to sexual and reproductive health care. Anja emphasized the importance of operating with an awareness of the local context and culture relating to sex education as well as with an understanding of disability access requirements.
Susan Girois HIV/AIDS expert for Handicap International explained the work HI had undertaken over the last 10 year period. The main areas of activities have been in the area of prevention and HIV screening, health care delivery for persons with HIV and AIDs as well as advocacy work on access to medicines.
Handicap International had produced guidelines on how to integrate HIV/AIDS work into NGO operations and how to address the issue in respect to disabled persons.
The workshop provided practical, hands-on training on how to mainstream disability and HIV/AIDS into project cycle management. Two case studies, one on health and one on education, provided the working groups with the challenge of considering the obstacles as well as the opportunities available to project leaders in order to bring about full and equal inclusion of disability and HIV/AIDs issues into the activities of a development cooperation programme.
The main conclusions from this workshop will be used to develop a toolkit on HIV/AIDs and disability which will form part of the project material.