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Advancing Surveillance, Policies, Prevention, Care and Support to Fight HIV/AIDS (ASHA), Nepal

The Advancing Surveillance, Policies, Prevention, Care and Support to Fight HIV/AIDS (ASHA) project was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and worked in partnership with Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population, National Center for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC), and HIV and STI Control Board (HSCB) along with more than 50 NGOs in 36 districts of the country. ASHA provided technical assistance for HIV programs, including strengthening national capacity, advocacy, policy reform, surveillance, and prevention and care service delivery for most-at-risk groups. ASHA activities contributed to the Government of Nepal’s National HIV and AIDS Strategy and Action Plan.

As a subcontractor to Family Health International (FHI), Futures Group helped build the capacity of the Government of Nepal and civil society to manage and implement HIV and AIDS activities and to formulate policy at national and local levels to reduce stigma and discrimination and enable equitable access to services.

For example, Futures Group strengthened the technical skills of policymakers to support decentralization through targeted improvements to the district level planning process, and support to local multisectoral partnerships. We improved community understanding of HIV-related stigma and discrimination, and strengthened the protective legal and regulatory environment. We also built capacity in finance and planning. At the district level, we supported the integration of HIV/AIDS considerations into workplans. So that others could be trained after the project ended, we collaborated with the Armed Police Force and the Local Development Training Academy to develop an HIV/AIDS training curricula. Futures Group also worked with several ministries to build capacity in developing HIV-aware policies and regulations, including the ministries of Industry, Labor and Transport Management, Women, Children and Social Welfare, Education, Home Affairs, Health and Population, and Local Development.

Key Successes

  • At the national level, sensitized all secretaries of the Government of Nepal on the epidemic and established and trained HIV/AIDS focal points in seven ministries.
  • Assisted 15 District AIDS Coordination Committees with strategic planning.
  • Initiated the Human Rights Bill on HIV/AIDS in Nepal; identified policy champions; sensitized over 100 members of parliament, justices, and other persons of influence; and worked with the Forum for Women, Law, and Development on a Supreme Court directive to introduce a law providing equal rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons.
  • Used a Futures Group costing model in the national HIV/AIDS action planning process, and secured the government’s agreement to use it again in the 2011 planning cycle.
  • Supported the Armed Police Force (APF) through development of a training manual.
  • Strengthened the National Federation of Women Living with HIV/AIDS.