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PRESS ROOM > Releases
Back to Press Releases main page > January 2005

Caribbean Conference of Churches spearheads
a regional Faith-Based Response to HIV/AIDS

The Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC) recently hosted a two-day Consultation at which Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) deliberated on an HIV/AIDS Policy and Action Plan document entitled, " Guidelines for Caribbean Faith-Based Organisations in Developing Policies and Action Plans to deal with HIV/AIDS". see Resources >>

The document, which was developed by a thirteen member committee comprising persons of different countries, faiths and professions, is one of the key aspects of a wider project entitled, "Building a Faith Based Response to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean " . This project is a collaborative effort between the CCC and the Canadian International Development Agency's (CIDA) Enhanced Support to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean Region (ESAC) Programme. The overall goal of the project, which is being implemented over a period of approximately three years, is to mobilize and enhance the response of Faith-based organizations (FBOs) in the Caribbean to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Through the consultation the CCC sought to facilitate the formation of a strategic alliance among Caribbean FBOs to combat HIV / AIDS and to facilitate the empowerment of participants to lead the development of appropriate policies and action plans for/by their FBOs using as a guide the aforementioned document.

His Excellency, the Rt. Hon. Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana , delivered the feature address at the opening of the Consultation which took place at the Umana Yana, Georgetown , Guyana during the period January 17-18, 2005 . During this he stressed the need for active collaboration between the State and Church in dealing with the issue of HIV/AIDS.

From left, Lewis-Agard, Syms, Nicholas and Granado

Gerard Granado, General Secretary of the CCC, at right, introduces some of the members of CCC's staff who play a key role in the CCC's HIV/AIDS programme. From left are Nadine Lewis-Agard, Programme officer, Tricia Syms, Administrative Programme Assistant (APA) and Elizabeth Nicholas, Regional Programme Co-ordinator (RPC), HIV/AIDS Programme.



Remarks were also delivered by Dr. Oluwakemi Linda Banks, President of the CCC and Mr. Gerard Granado, General Secretary of CCC. Mr. Granado noted that: "As the development agency of thirty-four (34) member churches in thirty-three (33) territories across the region, the CCC has been working on HIV/AIDS for over six years now and is also a member of CARICOM's Pan-Caribbean Partnership (PANCAP) on HIV/AIDS". In fact, he noted that in referring to the CCC's involvement in HIV/AIDS work, the World Bank, in its 2001 Country Study on HIV/AIDS, noted that,

"Religious institutions represent a major resource in the effort to prevent the spread of HIV / AIDS in the Caribbean . Following the example of the Caribbean Conference of Churches, which is engaged as part of the Caribbean Task Force on HIV/AIDS, the creation of forums and formal alliances among the various religious institutions involved in the effort to combat Aids at the country level ought to be given priority consideration."

Participating in this consultation were over seventy five persons representing several of CCC's member churches, along with members of other religious organizations including those of the Muslim and Hindu faiths and inter-religious organizations.

Despite the inclement weather, the conference was a resounding success as each person present recognized that regardless of their religious background combating HIV / AIDS called for a deeper engagement, and mutual accompaniment of all religious institutions. Indeed, the need for a unified response in responding to the wider complex of social ills currently affecting the region, and linked to the epidemic, was agreed to by all present.

There was also a consensus that each and every organization present has a key role to play in terms of prevention, care, support, counselling and support. It was recognized that this would require a greater involvement and collaboration with existing agencies, institutions of the churches and other religious organizations, right down to the level of local congregations. This was seen as an imperative in the fight against HIV / AIDS.

All of those present gave their commitment to take the process forward and to continue liaising with the CCC.

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