Thursday, October 9, 2008


"The work we do has not placed high on a list of national health priorities... but that is changing – progress is being made as politicians and health authorities are acknowledging the crucial role MSM HIV programmes play in tackling the region’s AIDS challenge."

Naz Foundation International, the renowned MSM and HIV organization that is literally at the frontline of the effort to reduce the impact of AIDS among these highly vulnerable populations in the countries of South Asia, urgently requires financial assistance to continue key activities in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and elsewhere.

“It’s an ironic situation,” says Shivananda Khan, who founded NFI in 1996. “Even as we’re awaiting decisions on significant funding from international agencies for fiscal year 2009-2010 and beyond, funding that we are hopeful of securing, we need immediate short-term assistance to meet an array of challenges that have converged upon us in just the past few months. Basically, if we can’t get this help very, very shortly, we are at risk of needing to drastically reduce our efforts, ending the development of scaling up coverage of HIV prevention and programmes and outreach activities across the region that so many depend upon.”

For a small (but highly productive) agency, these recent challenges have significant impact, and include changes in policy direction of many bilateral and multilateral donors that have reduced opportunities to fund regional and technical assistance opportunities; decentralization by so many donors which makes it extremely complicated to have to go country by country and “sell” regionality; and despite the evidence, MSM and HIV is still low on priority lists of some donors, making it even more difficult to secure funding; the long time frame to develop funding proposals, submit them and have them accepted.

“This crunch couldn’t have come at a worse time,” notes Khan. “Over the past several years, we’ve been widely recognized for having helped establish some 70 MSM community-based organisations across South Asia, and for having trained several thousand MSM in a self-help and capacity building organisational framework. We’re being asked to replicate these efforts in country after country, working with governments and other stakeholders. It’s an honour to do this work, and we’ve always been responsible stewards of our modest resources, but HIV/AIDS funding is being spread so thin these days that we, like other NGOs, are increasingly challenged to make ends meet.”

Moreover, NFI operates in countries whose governments are only just beginning to tackle MSM HIV issues. “The work we do has not placed high on a list of national health priorities, at least so far”, continues Khan. “But that is changing – progress is being made as politicians and health authorities are acknowledging the crucial role MSM HIV programmes play in tackling the region’s AIDS challenge. It would be a shame to lose NFI’s services, expertise and accumulated knowledge at such an important time.”

Registered in the UK and with its regional programme office in India, Naz Foundation International addresses MSM HIV issues through enabling new MSM community organisations to be developed in order that more MSM at risk can receive prevention, treatment, care and support services across the South Asia region, while continued support to these organisations through mentoring, technical and institutional assistance

“Our mission is to empower socially excluded and disadvantaged males to secure for themselves social justice, equity, health and well being through technical, institutional and where possible, financial support,” says Khan, “with a primary focus on those who are particularly vulnerable and marginalised, such as low-income feminised and transgendered MSM.”

NFI’s activities include:

•Supporting low-income MSM collectives, groups and networks through technical, financial and institutional support to develop and deliver self-help sexual health programmes addressing their needs.

•Working with governments on drafting and implementing MSM HIV programmes and policy frameworks.

•Strongly advocating on social justice and human rights concerns of MSM in the various countries of South Asia and internationally

•Serving as a founding member of the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM) and working with a range of NGOs, INGOs, UN agencies, UNAIDS, bilateral and multilateral donors regarding scaling up the response to HIV among MSM across South Asia, as well as the rest of Asia and the Pacific.

•Conducting research and critical analyses that highlight the issues and problems that marginalised and socially excluded MSM face; identifying solutions and pro-actively promoting the resultant findings; as well as understanding the context of masculinities and sexualities which lead to more effective and sustainable sexual health promotion strategies for MSM.

You can learn more about NFI’s work by going to

To respond to NFI’s appeal and to contact Shivananda Khan and his colleagues, you can write to

Or write to:
Shivananda Khan
Naz Foundation International
Palingswick House,
241 King Street, London W6 9LP, UK


NFI Regional Office
9 Gulzar Colony, New Berry Lane
Lucknow, 226001, India

Or go to the NFI website and click on the donation button.

Shivananda Khan is the featured presenter on IRMA's next global teleconference - "What’s in a name? Working with male-male sexualities, masculinities and genders in South Asia" on Wednesday, October 29, 2008. Click here to learn more and to RSVP.

And check out this IRMA blog post on NFI's recent work - Everybody knows, but nobody knows

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