US Embassy pours M1.6m towards HIV/AIDS fight
THE United States Embassy in Maseru yesterday awarded 11 local organisations with grants worth a combined $150 000 (M1 631 million) to fight HIV/AIDS at the American embassy in Maseru.
The grants are funded through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which supports community initiated projects and aims to strengthen health services delivery in communities affected by HIV/AIDS by establishing projects of their choice.
The US Ambassador to Lesotho, Matthew Harrington, said each year the PEPFAR program sets aside $150 000 to support communities across Lesotho through its Small Grants Program.
“This program helps local communities and organisations strengthen the care and support they provide to HIV/AIDS patients and to families affected by the disease,” Ambassador Harrington said. He said in 2014 the competition for funding from the PEPFAR Small Grants program was fierce.
“We received more than 75 applications for funding and narrowed it down to you, the top 11. You are here today because we believe in your projects. We believe they will have a real impact on the communities you serve,” said the diplomat.
“As you work to implement your important project, please keep in mind that this grant is not a blank check.
“The funding for this program has been made possible by the generosity of the American people, and one of my most important responsibilities is making sure that the American people’s assistance is well spent and has a positive impact.”
He said the applicants’ proposals were selected because they had faith in their ability and intention to use the funds wisely.
“Each of you today has pledged to manage the funds carefully, using good accounting practices, submitting reports as required and scrupulously documenting every expense. We, in the embassy, look forward to working closely with you during the course of your project to help you fulfil that critical commitment.”
The selected organisations to receive the grants are Bana Ba Rona based in Berea, Botleng Support Group in Maseru, Atlanta Piggery Cooperative Society in Berea and Association of Women in Small Business in Maseru to mention a few.
US Ambassador to Lesotho Matthew Harrington