The national agenda in the women's sector, in the sectors of women living with HIV, sexual workers and transgender workers have little visibility in regional proposals of the Country Coordinating Mechanisms. This is the conclusion that was reached by the study conducted by the Observatorio Latino with the support of the International Alliance and UNAIDS.
The report was carried out in 15 countries in Latin American and the Caribbean and it revealed that only the Honduras and Suriname have representation of the female population specifically as the rest of the countries are represented by collective groups, Non-Governmental Organisations, networks of affected persons or sectors.
As a consequence, it does not reflect the specific needs of women who are mainly linked to sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence and human rights.
In the case of sexual and transgender workers, the study demonstrated that in the last two years there has been a significant increase in participation although it is still not sufficient enough.
This increase is due, in part, to the recommendations of the Global Fund to include vulnerable populations in the CCMs and primarily the strengthening of organisations at a national level and joint advocacy carried out by the regional networks.
Amongst the barriers identified by the study, the lack of epidemiological data was highlighted as well as the difficulty in understanding how the Global Fund and its mechanisms operate and the lack of an agenda that represents the specific needs of the sector. The demand of legal entities to form a part of some CCMs is usually an obstacle as well.
Creating flexibility in the statutes of the CCMs and opening the assemblies, ensuring effective participation of all sectors, developing participative processes, maintaining the leadership of the networks and facilitating understanding of the mechanisms were some of the recommendations that were outlined in the study.
In conclusion, the capacities of the movements must be strengthened and national and regional networks need to succeed in establishing the specific needs and actual situations that affect women on the agendas on the CCMs. This is an important challenge that the CCMs in all regions will face.
By Alejandra Ruffo and Mirta Ruiz
Key Correspondent Team – Asuncion, 10/12/09