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Where We Work

South Africa

The goal of the USAID | Health Policy Initiative in South Africa (HPI/South Africa) (2007-2012) is to promote an enabling policy environment for HIV. In doing so, the project works at both national and local levels to strengthen policies and programs, enhance multisectoral collaboration, and promote evidence-based decisionmaking. HPI/South Africa places particular emphasis on mobilizing and training faith-based organizations, traditional leaders, and people living with HIV (PLHIV). The project also promotes gender equity and the mitigation of HIV-related stigma and discrimination to increase access to services.

In particular, HPI/South Africa enhances the country's HIV response through three strategic activities:

  • Strengthening the capacity of organizations and institutions across all sectors to design, implement, and evaluate comprehensive HIV programs;
  • Building the capacity of public sector and civil society champions and networks to engage in the policy process; and
  • Promoting the timely and accurate use of data for decisionmaking.

HPI/South Africa continues and builds on the work initiated under Task Order 1 of the Health Policy Initiative (HPI-TO1). HPI-TO1 created new tools to combat stigma and discrimination and   cultivated strong relationships with religious and traditional leaders, resulting in increased commitment to HIV prevention and efforts to mitigate HIV-related stigma. As a result of HPI-TO1's work, both the National House of Traditional Leaders and the National Baptist Church of Southern Africa launched national HIV capacity-building programs that are being implemented at the national, provincial, and district levels. The project contributed to the creation of a Postgraduate Diploma Program in HIV and AIDS Management that has helped public sector and civil society champions to become leaders in the HIV policy process in South Africa and beyond.  Overall, HPI-TO1 contributed to an improved HIV policy environment in South Africa by bringing key champions into the HIV response; helping PLHIV and their advocates create tools to fight stigma and discrimination; improving the workplace environment through new HIV guidelines and policies; and helping to build sustainable training programs that will produce future generations of HIV leaders and advocates.


Project Mobilizes Traditional Leaders.  Traditional leaders in South Africa are key stakeholders in the country's fight against HIV.  Yet, their involvement in HIV activities has been limited.  This situation is changing with help from the project, which provided technical and financial support to the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) and trained traditional leaders in HIV-related community mobilization.  These leaders are now initiating and participating in HIV activities in their respective communities. In one month, for example, three traditional leaders reached 576 people with prevention messages.

National Baptist Church Addresses HIV and AIDS.  The National Baptist Church of Southern Africa (NBCSA) is one of the prominent churches in South Africa playing a critical role in dealing with the challenges posed by HIV and AIDS.  The NBCSA did not have an HIV program until 2005, when it formed an HIV working group with support from the Health Policy Initiative and its predecessor, the POLICY Project.  In July 2007, the NBCSA formally adopted an HIV program, and provincial churches have formed their own HIV committees and implemented community outreach activities, reaching over 1,000 people with prevention messages.  The NBCSA's new commitment to HIV will serve as a model for other faith-based organizations in South Africa on how to tackle the HIV epidemic among their congregations.  

"To the Other Side of the Mountain" is a toolkit written for and by those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in South Africa. It includes five modules focused on disclosure, the rights of people living with HIV, effective communication, facilitation, and advocacy. The goals of the toolkit are to share lessons and experiences and build the capacity of people living with HIV to actively participate in the HIV response. The toolkit was developed with support from the Department of Health of the Republic of South Africa and the USAID-funded POLICY Project, with additional dissemination and training support provided by the Health Policy Initiative.

Last Updated 7/18/11