USAID Announces CORE Initiative Grants at ‘Prescription for Hope’ Conference
Yesterday at the "Prescription for Hope" conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Samaritan's Purse, a Christian relief group headed by Rev. Franklin Graham, USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios announced the recipients of 29 Communities Responding to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic (CORE) Initiative grants, according to an agency release. CORE grants, which were first announced last year on World AIDS Day, provide small, community-based organizations with funding for HIV prevention work and for the care of people with HIV/AIDS and their families. The 29 grants, which went mostly to groups working in African nations, are for less than $5,000 each. Speaking yesterday, Natsios said, "These small grants can go a long way toward helping local communities in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The war on AIDS will be a long and arduous one, but with the help of people and [faith-based] organizations ... it is a war that we ultimately will win." According to USAID, community and faith-based groups "will be essential partners in providing voluntary [HIV] counseling and testing, home care, clinical services and delivering advanced treatment," as the agency expands its HIV/AIDS mission. The agency added that the "values and activities promoted by faith-based groups such as promoting abstinence, committed relationships based on fidelity and supporting educational programs are meaningful contributions in the fight against" the disease. USAID will spend $435 million on HIV/AIDS efforts this year (USAID release, 2/19). A list of grant recipients is available online.
'Tidal Wave' of AIDS
Yesterday at the "Prescription for Hope" Conference, which was organized to mobilize Christian-based groups in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, called AIDS a "tidal wave" that is "going to consume Africa." He added that the disease will also "hit the shores of this country in a big way" if further action is not taken. He said he organized the conference because the church should "take a leadership role and get the word out" on HIV/AIDS. Ken Isaacs of Samaritan's Purse noted that the conference was a "big risk" for the group because they "didn't know how America would respond. We didn't know what the response would be in the church community." The conference will continue throughout the week (Sternberg, USA Today, 2/20).