APCOM partner for Australasia, The New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF), has been working in the Pacific to conduct a programme funded by the Pacific Islands HIV and STI Response Fund managed by the Secreteriat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
The work has primarily been carried out in partnership with local organisations in Tonga and Samoa and has sought to increase the resiliency of MSM and transgender women. Specifically, the project has aimed to improve the sexual health and well-being of these communities and to improve their access to human rights through minimising stigma and discrimination at all levels of society.
With Response Fund contracts ending in June 2013, SPC deemed it timely to undertake country focused needs assessments to help inform any potential future programming. NZAF staff have worked in Fiji to focus on questions around HIV and STI services, knowledge, experiences and behaviours for MSM and transgender. In particular, the focus was:
- The current level of MSM and transgender specific sexual health programming and support and how this is experienced by MSM and transgender themselves;
- The political and cultural determinants of sexual health/well-being for MSM and transgender in Fiji;
- The strengths and weaknesses of MSM and transgender civil society groups in Fiji;
- The acceptability of organisations such as the NZAF providing technical assistance and/or capacity building to existing civil society groups in Fiji and what this could look like.
The discussion section of the report draws on the narratives produced from both semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders as well as facilitated workshops with 46 local MSM and transgender individuals. These narratives were analysed alongside existing literature and the current Strategic Plan for HIV and STIs for Fiji.
NZAF is currently also working on similar assessments in the Cook Islands and Samoa.
Photo Caption: Participants in an MSM and Transgender needs assessment workshop in Suva, Fiji, March 2013.