The role that religious institutions and faith-based organisations played in turning the tide on HIV-related stigma, discrimination’s and misconceptions in the wake of the epidemic in Africa has also been widely acknowledged and documented through public awareness and the use of transformative theological reflections and – engagements.
AMSHeR in partnership with INERELA+ took up the challenge of promoting dialogue between religious leaders of various persuasions with the LGBT community.
- Break the silence on, challenge stigma towards, and improve access to HIV services for MSM/LGBT communities through a number of activities aimed at improving the understanding of Gender identity, sexualities, sexual orientation and human rights within the framework of transformative theological engagements.
- Improve knowledge among MSM/LGBT communities, religious leaders and faith-based HIV service organizations on sexuality and spirituality in the context of human rights and the HIV response.
- Initiate partnerships among MSM/LGBT communities, religious leaders and faith-based HIV service organization to challenge attitudes and practices that marginalize MSM/ LGBT communities.
This project leveraged on the success of previous meetings by incorporating some of the religious leaders who participated in that meeting and using them to identify potential faith-based HIV service organizations from the selected countries who participate in this project. AMSHeR identified MSM/LGBT organizations from its membership in those countries to participate in this project.
Some of the major activities were:
- A regional dialogue held in Johannesburg on Integrating Spirituality and sexuality from 4-6 May 2015 with representatives of MSM/LGBT communities, Religious Leaders and faith-based HIV service organization.
- Three in-country round-table meetings/dialogues with representatives of MSM/LGBT communities, religious leaders and faith-based HIV service organization were held in Tanzania ,Zambia and Botswana.
- Four action plans on a joint project by the four countries aimed at improving access to HIV services for MSM/LGBT communities and enhancing the understanding of sexual minority issues within faith communities.
- A small sub-grant were disbursed to support the implementation of the action plans developed by the country groups.
- Development and dissemination of a documentary detailing the reflections and experiences of participants of the regional meeting on challenging the silence, stigma and bigotry surrounding Sexuality and Spirituality.