Conference of Churches spearheads
a regional Faith-Based Response to
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
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
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,
"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.