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ICW In Action
16th September 2015



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ICW Updates

Internal Systems Strengthening

During the month of August, ICW was very busy with internal systems strengthening so as to effectively play its role that will ultimately lead to a world where women living with HIV live free of gender oppression, realizing and claiming our full rights inclusive of sexual, reproductive, legal, social, economic and health rights. A number of internal policies and procedures are in the process of being finalized including a revision of the ICW Governance Manual and a comprehensive Donor Matrix. We are excited that pieces are moving.

Planning for the Regional and Global HIV and AIDS Conferences

The ICW team has been very active and involved in the planning of the Women Networking Zone (WNZ) for AIDS 2016 as well as supporting the development of WNZ spaces at International Conference on AIDS and STI in Africa (ICASA) to be held in Zimbabwe, Harare 29th November to 4th December 2015, International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) to be held in November 20th to 23rd November 2015, and the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA). We are excited to be working with amazing networks and organizations that are promoting women’s rights and feminist values.

Development of Robert Car Network Foundation (RCNF) Proposal

ICW team successfully developed and submitted a RCNF proposal and working together with the regional networks and partners to ensure that we were able to move forward with our best possible foot. We would like to thank the staff and sisters from the regions for all their hard work, and to our sisters in the ICW Eastern Africa, for in the end pulling it all together. Way to go team!

ICW supports and celebrates the decriminalization of sex work

ICW wrote an open letter supporting Amnesty International’s Resolution and Draft Policy calling for the decriminalization of sex work that was tabled, discussed, and adopted at the International Council Meeting, 6-11th August 2015. The adoption of the Amnesty International proposal for the decriminalization of sex work sets an important precedent for protecting the human rights of sex workers and addressing the violence that sex workers, especially those living with HIV, face around the world. Details of the adopted resolution for decriminalizing sex workers can be found here. We thank all ICW members and partners for raising your voices to support Amnesty International to protect the rights of sex workers.

ICW submitted a Position Statement on UNAIDS 2016-2021 Strategy

The ICW position statement on UNAIDS 2016 – 2021 Strategy submitted this month is part of ongoing community consultation processes in the development of the UNAIDS Strategy 2016-2021. We would like to thank all the ICW members across the globe for giving us feedback on the draft UNAIDS 2016 – 2021 Strategy which informed the position statement that was submitted for consideration. Details on the position statement can be found here.

ICW issued a policy brief during the World Breastfeeding week, August 1-7

The policy brief titled Women Living with HIV and Breastfeeding; Mixed Messages highlighted the challenges women living with HIV face around breastfeeding and risk of vertical transmission of HIV which includes mixed messages, stigma and discrimination from family and barriers to access the breast milk alternatives. ICW recommends that women living with HIV must be given accurate and comprehensive information on breastfeeding; address stigma, discrimination and human rights violations in healthcare settings. Our policy brief was presented on Wednesday, August 12 and further discussed at our Know Your Rights monthly advocacy workshop where we focused on the rights of women living with HIV in regards to breastfeeding.

ICW with Women for Global Fund (W4GF) issued an advocacy brief on Community Systems Strengthening (CSS) in the Global Fund Strategy 2017 - 2021

The advocacy brief on CSS found here in English and translated into Spanish, French and Russian was jointly developed by ICW and W4GF. ICW and W4GF are calling for responsiveness to the needs and priorities of women living with HIV in all diversity and ensuring that resources are invested strategically to support interventions and populations that yield the highest impact and progress on HIV, TB and malaria. Members and partners are encouraged to use it in their advocacy in person or at partnership forums organized by the Global Fund secretariat.

ICW participated in the Community Rights and Gender Special Initiative meeting for Key Populations in Bangkok

The International Community of Women Living with HIV participated in a Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) Special Initiative (SI) meeting that was held in Bangkok, Thailand from August 18 – 20, 2015. The meeting was co-convened by the Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations (APCASO) and the Global Fund. The meeting was attended by representatives of CRG technical assistance providers, regional platform hosts, RCNF grantees, Global Fund Secretariat staff and technical partners. The main purpose of the meeting was to enable participants reflect on the CRG SI implementation progress in order to plan strategic and effective use of remaining resources until the CRG SI end in December 2016.

ICW chapter of young women and adolescents (CYWAG) in partnership with Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) with support from STOP AIDS Now! (SAN!)

Commemorated the International Youth Day (IYD) 2015 with a big bang through the joint global campaign #DoYouSeeHIV. The social media campaign aimed at speaking out against stigma faced by adolescent girls and young women living with HIV when accessing SRHR services. Congratulations to CYWAG in collaboration with other young HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights activists from Nigeria, India, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Russia, Jamaica, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Vietnam who jointly implemented a series of interventions which were part of the global campaign under the slogan More than Our Status: Our Bodies! Our Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights! with the hashtag #DoYouSeeHIV. The young activists carried an intensive campaign on social media through the use of pictures as shown below and special messaging for addressing stigma which often impedes adolescents and young women living with HIV from accessing HIV and SRHR services. Photo campaign (see image) attracted many participants from all over the world to share their views as to why young people matter to them. Details of the activities implemented can be found here. For more information on partnering with the coalition please contact

ICW in Action

This month, Know Your Rights: Monthly ICW Members Advocacy Workshop featured a presentation by Nicci Stein from the Teresa Group on HIV, motherhood and breastfeeding. The workshop was held on August 12, 2015.

ICW continued to release regular Global Fund updates and share them with diverse stakeholders inclusive of membership and partners. This month we received positive feedback from 2 organizations who referred out our bulletin.

In the Media

Regional Updates

ICW Asia Pacific – This month the region announced an opening for a short term contract for the regional coordinator. For more details contact

ICW Caribbean – The Caribbean region was hard at work this month to develop their RCNF proposal. Jointly women from Barbados, Ghana, and Jamaica took the lead in developing a robust proposal to support the engagement of women living with HIV in the Caribbean. In addition to this a workshop that was developed and led by young women in Jamaica titled, Communication Arts Through Technology was implemented so that women could develop their technological and social media skills to participated in on line advocacy. Here is the link to the website that was created: Exciting times!

ICW Eastern Africa (ICW EA) – The Regional Coordinator of ICWEA, made a presentation during the Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) Special Initiative (SI) meeting that was held in Bangkok, Thailand from August 18 – 20, 2015. In her presentation, she highlighted the achievements registered such as representation of women living with HIV on the Global Fund concept note drafting team in 2014 and submission of the issues paper that informed the national HIV planning processes in Kenya and Uganda.

ICW Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ICW EECA)  ICW EECA members submitted recommendations to the new USAID strategy in addition to supporting the translation of the joint ICW and the Global Fund 4 Women Statement on Strengthening Community Responses from English to Russian. In addition the team participated in a study tour to St.-Petersburg, Russia for women leaders from Central Asia to learn in place about the Russian women's network EBA.

ICW North America (ICW NA) – In the North American region, the women had been hard at work this month in regards to resource mobilization. Specifically the team worked on their RCNF proposal with members of the Global Office team. “Our fingers are crossed! The remainder of our time was put toward planning and orchestrating the US emerging ICW NA leaders retreat. This amazing weekend took place on August 7-9. Everything is ready for us to now complete our 501c3 status and pass our bi-laws" said Karen Marcinzyk ICWNA Regional Coordinator. ICW NA announces how proud they are of Gasamagera Claire, who was elected as a member of the South-Eastern Michigan AIDS Council.

ICW Southern Africa (ICW SA) – ICWSA held a think-tank meeting on the implications of hormonal contraceptives. The think tank was attended by human rights lawyers, researchers, scientists and practitioners who interrogated the current WHO stance and how countries have interpreted it, especially with regards to hormonal contraceptives especially injectable commonly known as DEPO Provera, given that patterns of high HIV infection and cervical cancer mirror high Depo Provera use. The meeting also flagged the lack of research on the interaction of hormonal contraceptives and ARVs. The discussions from the meeting will be integrated into the ICWSA position paper on contraceptives which will be the starting point for the advocacy campaign.

In addition, the ICWSA held a 3-day ‘Training of Trainers’ on the Global Fund processes. The meeting was held from 17th – 19th August 2015. It was attended by participants from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. The aim of the meeting was to enable women living with HIV from the four Southern African countries to meaningfully engage in Global Fund Processes including planning, implementation and monitoring at country level.

ICW Western Africa (ICW WA) – Women living with HIV in Mali advocated for implementation of the global UNAIDS targets 90%-90%-90%, test and treat, and option B plus. They joined the other civil society activists around the country and moved to the parliament building in a rally to remind the Government that Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were ending by December 2015, the government was demanded to develop the road map towards elimination of AIDS related deaths.

National PMTCT task team was reconstituted and inaugurated in Nigeria by Federal Ministry of health. ICW WA was nominated to serve on the task team. This created an opportunity for women living with HIV to advocate for inclusiveness and their meaningful participation in decisions that affect their lives especially family planning, research on Early Infant Diagnosis (EID), and advocacy around Mother, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) week.

Chapter for Young Women, Adolescents and Girls (CYWAG) – Congratulations to CYWAG members, Janet Tatenda Bhila from Zimbabwe, Nacia Davis from Jamaica, L’Orangelis Thomas from Porto Rico, and the team from Kenya for spearheading advocacy against stigma experienced by adolescents and young women living with when accessing SRHR service through the joint project with WGNRR - #DoYouSeeHIV campaign. You can see the amazing campaigns and workshops that have been going on around the world such as the Body Mapping workshop in Puerto Rico that L'Orangelis Thomas led and the Blogtavism workshop in Jamaica that was led by Nacia Davis on the website: CYWAG is also calling on young women living with HIV to support with the drafting of the webpage content and writing blogs. If you are interested please contact

ICW women

Get Involved!

ICW Members Advocacy Workshop

Call on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 starting 8am Washington/3pm East African Time will focus on PrEP and what it means for women living with HIV and how it can impact our lives and those of our communities. The presentation and discussion will be facilitated by the Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention (AVAC). Please join us at 8am (NYC)/ 3pm (Nairobi). To join the call please contact Velvine at

ICW needs your submissions for plenary speakers for the International AIDS Conference in Durban 2016. Please send your nominations with their full name and contact information as well as a bio and the issue that they would be great at speaking on and why to

Other Upcoming events:

  • Know Your Rights ICW Member’s Advocacy Workshop: PrEP and Women, presented by AVAC September 9th
  • Know Your Rights ICW Member’s Advocacy Workshop: Breast and Cervical Cancer and Social Media for Social Change October 14th
  • Know Your Rights ICW Member’s Advocacy Workshop: Women, HIV and Drugs, presented by INPUD November 11th
  • International Day for Safe and Legal Abortions, September 28th
  • ICASA – Weekly preparation meetings are on-going for women and organization in the African region

This Month's Profile

Name: Kia Michelle Benbow aka Kia Labeija

Region:  New York City, North America

What She Does: Kia Labeija is a visual and performance artist, photographer, mixed media and vogue.

Who She Is: Kia Labeija is a free spirit who lives by her own will. She uses art as a medium to speak through. She is a daughter, sister, lover and a representative of children born positive as well as long term survivors.

Why Is ICW Important: The ICW is incredible valuable for all women dealing with the HIV virus. It is such a taboo topic and is silenced within our community. But ICW has created a safe space for women to connect and share their stories and experiences.

Apology: In the last month’s newsletter, there was a mismatch between the photo of the profile and the text. We apologise for any confusion and inconvenience this may have caused Kia Michelle and our readership. In this edition we correctly feature her.

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ICW - The International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW)is the only global network by and for women living with HIV

Global Office

Yaya Center, Wood Avenue
Machera Court, Komo Lane
Ground Floor – CG

PO Box 7228 Postal Code 00100
Nairobi, Kenya

Kenyan Based Staff

Rebecca Matheson – Global Director

Velvine Jobiese – Administrative Assistant

Florence Anam – – Advocacy and Communications Manager

Maurine Murenga – Global Fund Coordinator

Rose Adem – Finances

Virtual Staff

Toronto, Canada
Jessica Whitbread – Community Relations & Mobilization Manager

Washington, DC, US
Sophie Brion – Human Rights Attorney

Katie Filous – Georgetown Legal Fellow

Kampala, Uganda
Margret Happy – Communications and Advocacy Officer

Kingston, Jamaica
Nacia Davis – Jr. Communications and Advocacy

Regional Coordinators

ICW EA: Lillian Mworeko

ICW WA: Assumpta Reginald

ICW SA: Sethembiso Mthembu

ICW AP: Rebecca Kubunavanua

ICW NA: Karen Marcinczyk

ICW MENA: Rita Wabah

ICW C: Olive Edwards

ICW LA: Arely Cano

ICW CA: Calorine Kenkem

ICW ECA: Sveta Morozo

International Steering Committee

Asia Pacific

Sita Banjade, Nepal

Marama Pala, New Zealand, Vice Chair

Central Africa

Fetia Donatienne, Democratic of Congo


Chrysol Albert – Hope, Guyana

East Africa

Teresia Njoki Otieno, Kenya

Europe and Central Asia

Olena Stryzak, Ukraine

Zhenya Mailyan

Latin America

Ruth Mery Linares Hidalgo, Costa Rica

Hilda Esquivel, Mexico

Middle East and North Africa

Souhalia Ben Said, Tunisia

North America

Deloris Dockrey, USA, Treasurer

Marvelous Mucenje, Canada

Southern Africa

Martha Tholanah, Zimbabwe, Global Chair

West Africa

Monisola Elizabeth Ajiboye, Nigeria