Dieneke ter Huurne from the UK Department for International Development spoke about a recent review of stigma-related projects.
The International Centre on Research for Women (ICRW) has conducted a review of projects and programmes addressing stigma and discrimination around the world for the DFID, which looks at three main types of activity:
- trying to reduce stigmatising attitudes and beliefs
- promoting human rights and legal/policy reform
- addressing stigma and discrimination in institutional settings
The review highlights that:
- it is important to address stigma at multiple levels and to combine a variety of approaches in an integrated way
- active involvement of those affected is vital, particularly to address the challenge of ‘self stigma’ (where people internalise the negative attitudes of others towards them), as well as the lack of community support for those who are stigmatised
- policy support is required to magnify the successes of work at the community level
- the need to ‘start at home’ and examine attitudes and the level of understanding in the organisations and contexts in which we work
Finally, successful projects depend on understanding a number of key factors that underpin stigma:
lack of awareness or knowledge that stigma exists
fear of casual transmission
values that link those living with HIV and AIDS to behaviour deemed ‘immoral’
The ICRW review will be available shortly on the DFID website, together with background notes, information packs, advocacy tools, and monitoring and evaluation guidance.
DFID is currently reviewing its AIDS strategy and the ICRW review will form the basis for the agency’s future action on stigma. DFID is running a series of online discussions as part of its AIDS strategy consultation process on the AIDS Portal website, which includes a thread on stigma and discrimination (9 to 20 July 2007).