[COMMENTARY] Where Are the Key Affected Populations at the International AIDS Conference?

By Sara L.M. Davis 

This spring, when the International AIDS Society announced the program for AIDS 2012, the big HIV/AIDS conference that recently concluded in Washington D.C., the MSM Global Fund expressed concern that “only a fraction of high-quality abstracts” from men who have sex with men (MSM) had been accepted. Other activists and networks representing Key Affected Populations (KAPs) concurred in emails sent to the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) list that they too felt they were being excluded from the program.


[COMMENTARY] What We Talk About When We Talk About Outreach

By Mike Frick 

Many of our partners in China engage in “outreach” to marginalized communities such as sex workers, drug users, or men who have sex with men, that are at increased risk of contracting HIV. We hear a lot about “outreach,” but what do these activities actually look like in practice? China program director Gisa Hartmann and I experienced outreach first-hand when we accompanied Lanlan, a member of Asia Catalyst’s NGO Leadership Cohort, on an afternoon with female sex workers in Tianjin.

Lanlan is the founder and executive director of Tianjin’s Xin’ai Home, a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the health and rights of female sex workers in Tianjin. Over the course of four hours, Lan Lan showed us two different outreach environments: a bathhouse with about twenty-five sex workers and a street with dozens of hair salons and massage parlors, each staffed by two or three women.


[NEWS] Global Times Condemns Forced Labor in Drug Detention Centers

According to official statistics over 171,000 drug users underwent forced drug treatment, in China, in 2011 alone. While a joint statement cosigned by 12 UN bodies in March 2012 calling for “States to close compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centers” did not force China to close its drug treatment centers, a highly critical article from the Global Times, an official media outlet, may point to a shift in the right direction.

The article highlighted personal stories of drug users and NGOs like Asia Catalyst’s partner the Dongzhen Nalan Culture Communication Center, praising reforms including promoting counseling and community rehabilitation.

[NEWS] Call For Proposals, $20,000 For One-Year Projects

Good news, The U.S. Embassy is now accepting proposals for the 2012 EAP/PD Small Grants Program. 

Proposals must support program activities that promote democratic practices, including development of civil society; foster freedom of information and independent media; increase transparency in government; support NGO capacity building; advance rule of law and judicial reform; promote civic education; encourage conflict resolution; prioritize human rights; and advocate for equal rights for ethnic minorities or women. Priority will be given to new projects or programs.
Grants may be made to non-governmental, not-for-profit organizations based in China that demonstrate long-term sustainability beyond the proposed program activity. 
See the full application here.

[COMMENTARY] Opportunities and Challenges-Women’s NGOs in China

By Shen Tingting

Women in China face a threatening environment, including the risk of violence at home, in the workplace, at government agencies and organized crime. At least one in four Chinese women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Many women also experience discrimination, especially in the workplace. Other social issues include human trafficking, and marriage and family issues. At the same time, there is a leadership deficit at the national level. There is no woman in the inner circle of China’s leadership, the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party. As Chinese women’s rights activist Wu Qing points out: Lack of political freedom is stifling the women’s movement. In response, in the past decade, China has seen the rapid emergence of an independent civil society. In 2010, Chinese authorities estimated there were 444,000 NGOs, many led by women. The rapid growth, perseverance and courage of these civil society leaders, who are effectively mobilizing and empowering their communities, has led to small but tangible gains for women.