As part of its CDC funded project, AIHA has launched a Social Enterprise initiative in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Guatemala, and Haiti, and soon in the Dominican Republic. The objective is to strengthen the financial resiliency and organizational sustainability of local civil society and non-governmental organizations (CSOs/NGOs) in these seven countries by increasing and diversifying their sources of revenue. Through a series of trainings, development of business plans, and on-going mentorship, this activity will build the capacity of these organizations to implement successful social enterprise programs. From May to July, it is expected that up to three organizations per country that have developed successful business plans will be awarded mini grants to implement social enterprise activities.

Week-long trainings conducted by experienced professionals are taking place with great success. One participant, Solomon Wambua, the National Coordinator of the Key Population Consortium of Kenya, said of the training “This is a bold step in ensuring the sustainability of our work. We look forward to having Kenyan Key Populations add to the overall pool of funds for programming especially in the health sector, facilitated by empowered and trained local experts and faculty in the area of social enterprise capacity building”. AIHA’s Board Member Richard Berman, who teaches Social Entrepreneurship at the MUMA College of Business, University of Florida, volunteered alongside a team of local experts to conduct the training. Professor Berman added, “I am honored to be part of a program that captures the passion and creativity of local entrepreneurs to solve significant social problems in a sustainable way. Most of all, I am so excited to collaborate with a few local entrepreneurs and local leaders who will be able to continue and grow this program.”

The work on Social Entrepreneurship is but one activity to build capacity of Key Population (KP) led organizations in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean undertaken by AIHA through its five-year cooperative agreement supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To date, the project has held 36 training sessions of various lengths and has provided technical assistance and ongoing mentorship for 74 organizations in 7 countries on topics ranging from Strategic Planning and Monitoring & Evaluation Frameworks to Advocacy and Communications Planning and Human Resources Administration. 

Building the technical, financial and organizational capacity of KP-led organizations is critical to HIV prevention and treatment given that HIV transmission is higher and treatment levels are lower among KPs than the general population. AIHA’s work under the CDC supported project not only strengthens the capacity of CSOs and NGOs, but also supports many other priority interventions under PEPFAR, the US Government’s flagship global HIV program that began in 2003.