The Tanzania HIV/AIDS Interfaith Partnership
Joining Pernessa Seele are: Archbishop Jude Tadeus Ruwa-Ichi, President, TEC; Bishop Peter Kitual, 1st Vice President, CCT; Sheikh Issa bin Shaaban Simba, Mufti of Tanzania; Sheikh Harith bin Khelef, Chief Mufti of Zanzibar.
Through its domestic and international initiatives, The Balm In Gilead has evidenced a deep sense of love, camaraderie and commitment between the organization and its faith partners throughout Africa. The Balm In Gilead and its partners maintain a commitment to God and to one another and a determination to impact the HIV/AIDS epidemic (and other health disparities such as Malaria, TB, cervical cancer, etc) that continues to ravage their communities.
The Tanzania HIV/AIDS Interfaith Partnership (TIP) initiative was conceived by Pernessa Seele, Founder & CEO, in collaboration with Dr. Joyce Moon Howard, Erline Belton, Evatt Mugarura, and Nguru Karugu — all members of the Balm In Gilead’s team. Through intense technical assistance, organizational and leadership development, The Balm was among the first NGOs to transfer ownership of an established program to an indigenous organization in 2009.
The development and further establishment of The Tanzania HIV/AIDS Interfaith Partnership was the result of intensive capacity and infrastructure development of four national consortium faith partners to effectively deliver HIV prevention, encourage counseling and testing, and provide compassionate care of the most vulnerable affected by HIV/AIDS. The four faith partners are: Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC); Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT); The National Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA); and The Chief Mufti’s Office of Zanzibar, along with their associated partner community-based networks.
The overall goal of The Balm’s work in Tanzania is to contribute efforts to reduce prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The key objective is to expand the capacity of faith-based community organizations to become an effective force in the fight against HIV/AIDS pandemic in Tanzania. Today, The Balm In Gilead continues to work in partnership with FBOs to develop and implement HIV prevention and impact mitigation programs in the country.
Since 2001, in cooperation with CDC/Tanzania, The Balm in Gilead provides technical support to the national governing institutions of faith partners in areas that include capacity building through HIV/AIDS advisory councils, human resource recruitment and organizational development training.
With an established office located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, The Balm-Tanzania aligns its efforts to contribute to the aims of The President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which calls for immediate, comprehensive and evidence-based action to reverse the trend of global HIV/AIDS. The program also addresses key priorities identified in Tanzania that respond to emerging needs, that seeks to integrate prevention with continuum of care, that monitors, evaluates and ensures quality of services, and that demonstrates likelihood of local community sustainability.
The Balm –Tanzania works in concert with other implementing partners and is principally guided by the Government of Tanzania’s Second National Multi-Sectorial Strategic Framework on HIV/AIDS 2008-2012. Through the coordination and guidance of the Ministry of Health, National AIDS Control Program (NACP), The Balm –Tanzania works to encourage district and community responses. Using the strategy to expand localized partners from NGOs, CBOs and Faith-Based Organizations, The Balm – Tanzania helps to develop own long term responses toward prevention, care and support of HIV/AIDS. These responses are integrated with district and municipalities where comprehensive plans are developed, activated and constructively sustained at local community levels.