VHS – Multi Country South Asia – Project DIVA (2014 – 2018)

In Partnership with National AIDS Control Organization & State AIDS Control Societies.

Funding Support From Save the Children International / The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).

Introduction

VHS under the Global Fund Round 9 programme implemented the project titled “DIVA” in India (except North East) with the support of Save the Children International, Nepal. The project under the guidance of National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and in partnership with respective State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) aims to reduce the impact of HIV on the Transgender / Hijra (TG-H) population.

The major activities of DIVA project include sensitisation, capacity building, advocacy programmes and operational research activities.

Goal

  • To reduce the impact of HIV on Transgender / Hijra populations in South Asia

Objectives

  • Improve the delivery of HIV prevention, care and treatment services

  • Improve strategic knowledge about the impact of HIV on TG/Hijra population

  • Improve the policy environment on TG and HIV-related issues

Focus Areas

  • Capacity Building

  • Sensitisation

  • Advocacy

  • Operational Research

Operational Area

  • Entire India (except North East)

Approach

  • MSA DIVA project provided technical support for effective implementation of the Transgender/Hijra Targeted Intervention (TG-TI) program in selected states under NACP IV, with guidance from NACO and in partnership with SACS

  • Designated as a partner institution by NACO for capacity building of 35 Transgender/Hijra persons led Community Based Organizations across India, in collaboration with the respective State AIDS Control Societies

  • Advocated for the promotion and protection of rights of Transgender/Hijra persons

  • Engaged with Government Ministries and Departments, Parliamentarians, Panchayat Raj Institutions, Urban Municipal Civic Bodies, Legal Service Authorities (NALSA, SLSA & DLSA), Law Enforcement, Judiciary Members, academic institutions and health care sector

  • Implemented activities in close collaboration with NACO, SACS, Technical Support Units and CBOs/CSOs

Activities

  • Sensitization programmes for Government and key stakeholders, law enforcement agencies and judicial members

  • Creating knowledge base and conducting operational research activities

  • National / State / Local level advocacy programmes for policy changes benefitting Transgender / Hijra persons

  • Capacity building programmes for CBO/CSO TI staff for improved HIV service delivery

Achievements

  • Contributed to the decline of HIV prevalence from 8.82% (2010-11) to 7.5% (2014-15, Source: NACO)

  • Declared April 15 as TG-H day in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Puduchery, Odisha and West Bengal

  • Training manuals and guidelines developed to support the TG H service delivery programmes

  • Capacitated 1931 staff engaged in HIV service delivery programmes

  • On-going Technical Assistance to 39 TG-H community led organizations

  • Partnerships with Government & Private Sector for livelihood programmes

  • Secured various welfare schemes for TG-H communities under banking, insurance, education and employment opportunities

  • Nurturing TG-H Welfare Boards in 7 states and established in Chandigarh and Rajasthan

  • Desk review and operational study to improve the HIV Service Delivery Programme among TG-H people

  • Commissioned the TG-H Stigma Index Study in India

  • Participated in the Sexual Violence Study among TG-H people in India commissioned by UNDP-APRC

  • Conducted Legal Gender Recognition Study for TG-H people in India

Impact

  • Improved societal acceptance of Transgender

  • Advocated for passing of Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill in Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament

  • Increased focus by the media on positive stories about Transgender

  • Created enabling legal and policy environment for Transgender

  • Strengthened community systems and processes for improving the health and human rights issues of Transgender

  • Contributed to the decline in HIV prevalence among Transgenders from 8.82% (2010-11) to 3.14% (2016-17)

  • Instrumental in the drafting of Transgender Policy, establishment of Transgender Welfare Board, declaration of Transgender Day and formulation of Transgender focused social welfare schemes by several State Governments.

Agenda for 2019

  • On-going capacity building initiatives for TG-H CBOs and HIV programmes

  • Continuous policy dialogue with community, Government and relevant stakeholders to establish welfare boards and secure equal opportunities for TG-H people

  • Charting recommendations and strategies for NACO to be incorporated into the current HIV programmes for TG-H people

  • Identify more partnerships for income generation and livelihood opportunities for TG-H people

  • Document good practices, case studies, technical briefs and overall impact of the project