Global launch for HIV and AIDS resource
6 August 2008
Over 22,000 registered participants attended the conference in Mexico City from 3 to 8 August where scientists, community and political leaders urged resolute action and commitment from the international community on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
WAGGGS had a particularly strong presence at this important event. Seven members of the WAGGGS delegation were under 25 years old. The young delegates, whose attendance was made possible by funding from OB-PS, came from the countries featured in the WAGGGS AIDS training toolkit: Megha Tiwari from India, Luanda Fonseca from Brazil, Lexa Kaipa from Malawi, Micaela Valcarcel from Peru and Pamela Odhiambo from Kenya. Also present were Monica Bravo and Mari Cruz Bravo from Mexico.
The delegation was led by Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Region María Elena Murillo, WAGGGS Chief Executive Mary Mc Phail and was supported by Communications officer Bernadette Fischler and Deputy World Centre manager at Our Cabaña Vicky Gagliano.
Coalition of First Ladies and Women Leaders of Latin America on Women and AIDSMary Mc Phail also was invited by Mrs Zavala to present the training toolkit to the 5th reunion of the Coalition of First Ladies and Women Leaders of Latin America on Women and AIDS on 2 August, which preceded the International AIDS conference in Mexico City.
In her presentation Mary explained: “The training toolkit empowers young women to protect themselves against HIV infection, to advocate in their communities and to fight stigma and discrimination.
“The toolkit focuses on the needs of women and young girls as they are often more vulnerable and in many countries they have limited control over their sexual health and less access to education and HIV information. Armed with accurate and useful information about the disease and its prevention girls and women can help reduce the spread of the virus.”
The meeting brought together more than 150 women leaders and activists from across Latin America. Mrs. Zavala acknowledged the work carried out by WAGGGS Member Organizations around the world to fight HIV and AIDS. She
was so impressed by the testimonials from the young women about their involvement in the fight against AIDS that she invited them to visit her in the presidential palace the next day.
The Global Village
Sporting their red T-shirts with the recently launched WAGGGS centenary message: girls worldwide say “100 years of changing lives”, the young delegates displayed features of the AIDS prevention projects in their home countries. They entertained visitors with activities about AIDS prevention, including producing an AIDS pledge bracelet, conducting an HIV and AIDS quiz in 17 languages (available on the WAGGGS website) and a puzzle about the WAGGGS brochure “fighting stigma and fear”.