Africa: Fund to Help Key Populations During Covid-19 Launched

Geneva — UNAIDS announces the launch of its Solidarity Fund, which will support social entrepreneurs and micro-business owned by key populations facing special hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Key populations are among those disproportionally impacted by COVID-19,” said Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS Executive Director. “COVID-19 has highlighted and exacerbated the profound and widening economic and social inequalities. We must act to support and protect the people who are most impacted by the pandemic.”

Experience from the COVID-19 and HIV pandemics, and from other diseases, such as Ebola, has shown that key populations are more likely to be impacted by food insecurity, face barriers to health care and access to medicines, and suffer losses of livelihood, unemployment, homelessness and domestic violence.

Launched today, Human Rights Day, the new Solidarity Fund will support social entrepreneurs and small-scale businesses owned by people living with HIV, women or members of key populations, including sex workers, transgender people, people who use drugs and gay men and other men who have sex with men, the people who so often have their human rights violated.

“The fund will help bridge the gap between aspirations and opportunities of people from my community. It places trust and gives us a chance to show our innovation and entrepreneurship with no limitations,” said Maite Schneider, the cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of TransEmprego.

To be piloted initially in five countries–Brazil, Ghana, India, Madagascar and Uganda–with a US$ 250 000 budget from UNAIDS, the initiative will scale up to additional countries over the coming months, with a goal of raising an additional US$ 3 million to US$ 5 million in 2021-2022.