How to Set Up a Local AIDS Council
Communities around the Philippines have found it extremely useful to set up multi-sectoral Local AIDS Councils (LACs) to coordinate, facilitate, support and oversee the response to HIV and AIDS and STDs/ LACs assure strong local participation in the response to HIV/AIDS and STDs. Leading to a solid sense of local ownership. They also help build a concerted response in the community to avoid confusion, duplication and competition among agencies. The LAC can function as an advocacy group to work for policy development and or reform in consultation with the local government. The LAC can help organize HIV/AIDS and STD education and communication programs in schools Behavioral Surveillance and Sero-Surveillance, and in assuring standardized serological testing and counseling.
Two NGOs closely involved in setting up successful LACs report very different approaches in setting up the LAC in their respective areas.
FREELAVA in Cebu City focused on establishing the LAC as a legal entity and describes how that was done:
- Plan and conduct a forum for City Councilors about the current situation of HIV/AIDS and STDs.
- Disseminate information to City Councilors about RA 8504 AIDS Law and DILG memorandum circular on the role of LGUs.
- Among the City Councilors, find one or two champions to be authors and sponsors of an ordinance creating the LAC.
- Work with your sponsors in one-on-one meetings to draft an ordinance creating the LAC. After it has been introduced, extended your focus to include the Executive Assistants, the ones who carry out the revision process.
- Conduct with the local City Health, DILG, DSWD and DOH to gather support within government for the proposal LAC.
- Collaborate with the local City Health, DILG, DSWD and DOH to gather support within government for the proposed LAC.
- Before the final deliberation of the ordinance in the City Council, conduct one-on-one meetings with all City Councilors to advocate for their votes and address any opposition to the ordinance.
Source: Behavioral Change Communication Starter Kit; AIDS Surveillance and Education Project- DOH-USAID-PATH
Summary of Local AIDS Responses