The Purpose of this Book
Over the last few years, as the impact of the HIV virus has become more widely felt in Asia, the response of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has been gaining momentum. Existing NGOs are extending their programmes to include education for AIDS prevention and services for those already infected and new NGOs are being formed as needs are identified. The NGOs play a vital role in the fight against AIDS: they often have deep roots within the communities which they are serving; they are often staffed by individuals who have strong commitment to the work; they are often able to reach individuals and communities that government services find difficult to access; they can respond more flexibly than governments to the special needs of different groups; and their size and relative informality make it possible for them to act in ways more difficult for the slower-moving bureaucracies of the government agencies.
Yet these NGOs are also vulnerable. They must deal with the same issues that face all organisations: the need to design programmes that respond to priority needs of the community yet are within the capability of the NGO to sustain; to organise themselves to carry out the programmed activities; and to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their activities. At the same time, its very size, its financial insecurity, and often the lack of management experience among the staff and volunteers, can all threaten the survival of the NGO.
Perhaps the most important steps that can be taken to support and assist NGOs working in the field of HIV/AIDS are to encourage and support the sharing of experiences, and to help NGO members to develop the analytical and decision-making skills that can be applied both to the design and execution of their own programmes and to the management of their own organisations.
This collection of cases provides an opportunity to share the experiences of a number of NGOs within the Asia Region as they developed and implemented their HIV/AIDS programmes. The organisations selected for inclusion in this case book represent a cross section of the types of programme and organisational responses that are emerging from the non-governmental sector throughout Asia. The cases are intended to help NGOs that are not yet involved in HIV/AIDS interventions to reflect upon and plan for such programmes. The cases are also intended for those NGOs already involved in HIV/AIDS programmes to think critically about their own programmes and organisations, and to identify new strategies and approaches that could be used to effect improvements.
The themes in this case book include: how NGOs can reach out into the community; the integration of HIV/AIDS interventions into existing programmes; planning and initiating programmes; finding and sustaining funding support; organising and developing the NGO'S human resources; working with volunteers; and monitoring and evaluation.
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