“Strengthen Abilities to Manage And Respond effectively To HIV/AIDS in India” (SAMARTH) was initiated in 2006 with the goal of improving the effectiveness of the response of the government and civil society in the areas of evidence-based HIV policy development and programming in India. The project provided technical assistance under the Indian National AIDS Control Program (NACP-III) and the U.S. Mission to India Five-Year Strategic Plan (2006–2010) for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in mounting a comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS epidemic in India. Principal Recipient Family Health International (now FHI 360) partnered with SAATHII, INP+ and the Christian Medical Association of India (CMAI) on this grant.
From 2006 to 2009, SAATHI provided technical assistance in enhancing capacities of government and civil society for effective management of HIV/AIDS programs; improved planning, collection, analysis, and use of strategic information at the national, state, and district levels; and enhancing leadership and visibility of USG supported programs through strategic communication. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu were the focal states for this work.
Accomplishments included documentation and brochure development for the four demonstration projects being supported under the SAMARTH project in Delhi and training kits for NGOs/CBOs on strengthening documentation and dissemination systems. The program also conducted a training that reached 2,415 individuals from 484 Community Based Organizations (CBOs), District and City Positive Networks, women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs), Red Ribbon Clubs (RRC), USG Partners Implementing HIV Programs in India (UPIP), TANSACS-supported NGOs, District HIV/AIDS Program Managers, NGOs implementing PMTCT in USG states (EGPAF partners), and journalists. The program also facilitated a workshop for US Government partners on abstract writing, which resulted in 30+ abstracts developed during the workshop accepted at the International AIDS Conference AIDS2008.
SAMARTH provided mentorship to five CBOs/ NGOs (Sahodaran Chennai TN, Lotus Sangam TN, Kumbakonam, TN Suraksha Kurnool AP, Rudrama Devi Mahila Mandali, Warangal AP, and Bethel Home, Salem TN) and supplied guidance to four of them on project management and organizational development as per needs assessed.
As part of SAATHII-SAMARTH efforts in developing Karur as a model district for decentralization by strengthening the District AIDS Prevention and Control Unit (DAPCU), SAATHII helped the district achieve ownership of the program, with outcomes in inter-department coordination, referrals, program review and innovative initiatives for supporting PLHIV. It is in the process of documenting the efforts, ranging from building skills of the nodal district officials and helping set up and consolidate systems of coordination between the different service facilities, to support in review of district-level data and assistance to the District Collectorate in innovative HIV/AIDS initiatives such as a district-level trust for people living with HIV/AIDS.
SAATHII carried out an outcome assessment of its capacity building activities. Preliminary evidence suggests that groups that received multiple trainings or other forms of capacity building were better able to retain knowledge and translate skills into practice. One community-based organization that had an ongoing project was able to benefit from the ongoing mentorship to successfully implement a grant from the World Bank Development Marketplace, while another CBO which had its documentation systems previously strengthened by the SAATHII SAMARTH team was successfully granted a Targeted Intervention (TI) project by State AIDS Control Society (SACS). Five of nine district-level networks trained in documentation, project planning, and proposal development under the project in 2009 had their proposals accepted by SACS for Drop in Centers and Legal AIDS Clinics, and subsequently became implementers of the government program.
- Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
- Christian Medical Association of India
Janakpuri, New Delhi
- Family Health International