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IDB gives a $300,000 hand up to women living with HIV/AIDS in Honduras

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) recently announced the approval of $300,000 in grant funds to provide financial support and training to low-income women entrepreneurs living with HIV/AIDS in Bahía de Tela, Honduras. 

The project will provide business micro loans to some 390 people, including 130 people living with HIV/AIDS and 260 people affected by the disease, in five Bahía de Tela communities: San Juan, Triunfo de la Cruz, Encenada, Tornabé and the city of Tela. It will also train some 780 people in business development, the rights of people affected by HIV/AIDS, and access to financial services.

“This is the first time that the Bank is working with HIV/AIDS affected populations, and in particular women in the country’s Garifuna community, as subjects of credit,” said IDB project team member Adriana Quiñones.  “It’s also the first project that combines economic and business development efforts for affected people with efforts to combat discrimination and stigma.”

With 22,366 cases of people living with HIV/AIDS reported as of October 2005, Honduras is the Central American country most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The disease is the leading cause of death among women of childbearing age in Honduras, and its effect on people of African descent is nearly three times higher than in the general Honduran population.

The project will support the formation of a new alliance between the Afro Honduran Women’s Network (Enlace de Mujeres Negras de Honduras, or ENMUNEH), a grassroot’s organization with the mission of promoting the rights of Garifuna women living with HIV/AIDS, and the Women’s Business Development Organization (Organización de Desarrollo Empresarial Feminino, or ODEF), an established microfinance institution.

Financing for the project comes from a $100,000 grant from the Canadian-financed and IDB-administered Gender Mainstreaming Fund, $200,000 in the form of non-reimbursable technical cooperation funding from the IDB’s Social Entrepreneurship Program, and $220,000 in counterpart funding from the ODEF.

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