In 1999, Swaziland’s King Mswati III warned his nation that it “will cease to exist, unless we change our attitudes and behavior” toward HIV and AIDS.
Almost a decade and a half later, Swaziland continues to have the highest rate of HIV infections in the world, at nearly one of every four adults in the 1.2 million-population kingdom.
Controlling and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS in Swaziland is a long-term effort, and Pact is helping build the sustainability of 17 homegrown organizations participating in a broad HIV/AIDS consortium called the Coordinating Assembly of Nongovernmental Organizations, or CANGO. Strong local NGOs can continue to design local solutions that combat HIV and AIDS as international aid dissolves and national ownership of the challenge grows.
Since 2005, Pact’s capacity development experts have been working with the groups to strengthen their governance, administration, financial management, resource development, program implementation, and monitoring and evaluation processes.
Across 120 rural communities, Pact assists its partners in improving community-based care and support services, encouraging local ownership and participation in HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment programs. Pact’s activities are coordinated with the government’s National Emergency Council on HIV & AIDS (NERCHA), the coordinating body for all HIV & AIDS activities in Swaziland.
After years of work, there are signs Swaziland’s rate of new HIV infections may be slowing, as attitudes change toward HIV testing, use of condoms, male circumcision and other forms of prevention.