UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.
In September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly, representing countries from across the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which apply to all countries. ‘Collectively and if implemented, these goals and targets will transform our lives in every sphere.The world has pledged within the Sustainable Development Goals to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.
Following on from its commitments under the MDGs, Caribbean Governments along with the rest of the world have taken on the challenge to strategically address the prevention of HIV, to treat and care for infected persons and to address stigma and discrimination as a driver of the epidemic, with the view to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to end the AIDS epidemic.
The Caribbean has been defined as the area with the second highest prevalence on HIV in the world. This description takes into account Haiti and the Dominican Republic in addition to the other Caribbean countries and territories. While the most pronounced decline in new infections since 2001 (49%) has occurred in the Caribbean, HIV continues to be driven by gender inequalities and harmful gender norms that promote unsafe sex and reduce access to HIV, sexual and reproductive health services for women. Throughout the Caribbean, the prevalence rate of HIV among teenage girls is much higher than that of teenage boys, and is a reflection of the vulnerability girls and young women face vis a vis transactional sex, sexual abuse and inter-generational sex. This is also manifested through the still high rate of teenage pregnancy in the region.
At every point along the HIV/AIDS continuum, from preventing the spread of the virus to diminishing its impact, this crisis is different for women and men. Gender interacts with HIV through four primary pathways: i) gender inequality influences susceptibility to infection; ii) gender inequality affects clinical outcomes and the experience of those infected; iii) gender inequality influences the effectiveness of the actions taken to control the epidemic, and iv) the pandemic and the response to it also have the potential to in turn influence gender inequality, either positively or negatively.
According to the HIV Prevalence rates and the number of persons living with HIV in selected Caribbean countries, country report for 2013:
Women as Mothers a Priority: The tendency of many national programmes in the Caribbean is to address women in the context of their reproductive role; and much less so in the context of their gender and the implications for vulnerability because of gender.
It must be noted that addressing women in their reproductive role is very legitimate in the context of epidemic control, especially when there is a clinical/health service/behavioural response available to reduce the number of children born with HIV in a relatively short period of time. This is illustrated in the priority given to the reduction and elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV. This has enjoyed great success in the Caribbean; indeed Jamaica is now in the process of being assessed by WHO for the status of elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV.
The challenge however is that this essential but narrow approach does not ensure that the root causes of women and girls vulnerability to HIV infection is addressed in a manner that will reduce these vulnerabilities in a sustained way. It does not ensure that the core challenges to women’s human rights and gender equality are confronted.
The response to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean: The national and Caribbean regional response to HIV is led mainly by the governments of the region, through their Ministries of Health. Over the years as the response has deepened and matured, civil society and private sector partners have begun to play increasingly important and vital roles in the response. Indeed the birth and growth of some CSO partners has been due to the response itself. There are very few NGOs at the local level who deal exclusively with the issue of Women and HIV. However, many NGOs/CSOs do address the vulnerability of women and girls; and in this context address HIV. There are those such as JN+ and CRN+ that address the needs and rights of people living with HIV and in this context address the issues which impact women and girls. In all cases the situation is dynamic and these entities would benefit from capacity building on how to examine the issue of HIV+ women and girls and those vulnerable to HIV in the context of gender; as well as plan, execute and monitor initiatives to address these HIV gender related issues.
With the financial support of UNAIDS through the Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF) as the latest co-sponsor, UN Women Multi Country Office – Caribbean is building upon previous work at the regional and national level. At the national level and building on the work under the UN Women Global Programme, the Multi-Country Office is supporting a number of initiatives in Jamaica.
National Family Planning Board
UN Women MCO – Caribbean is supporting the second phase of a pilot project aimed at improving HIV awareness and Sexual and Reproductive Health of Adolescent Girls and Young Women through empowerment and reduction of gender inequalities.
UWI Mona Campus
UN Women MCO – Caribbean is currently supporting an important situation assessment being conducted at UWI Mona Campus which will guide programming related to addressing the sexual and reproductive health of female students with a particular emphasis on addressing Gender Based Violence.
Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC)
In 2015 CVC embarked on a research project to assess the degree to which policies intended to enable the reduction of GBV/VAW and its associated risk of HIV infection have been implemented in Jamaica, Belize and The Bahamas.
Eve For Life
Commencing in 2016 UN Women will be lending support to Eve For Life in empowering HIV+ young women and girls to address sexual abuse and the commercial sexual exploitation of the girl child.
Jamaica AIDS Support for Life
Through the UN Trust Fund, UN Women is supporting a national non-governmental organization, Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) in responding to the linkages between gender-based violence and vulnerability to HIV.
WOMAN INC/Voices for Equal Rights and Justice (VERJ)
Along with these initiatives focused on addressing gender based vulnerabilities to HIV, UN Women – MCO has also supported civil society advocacy related to amendments to the Sexual Offences Act in Jamaica through the VERJ Collective.
Duties and Responsibilities
Objectives of the Symposium
Given UN Women MCO – Caribbean current support to programming in Jamaica within the context of UNAIDS UBRAF, as well as the past work of the MCO related to addressing gender based vulnerabilities to HIV, UN Women will be hosting a Symposium entitled “Sharing experiences on implementing GBV and HIV programming in Jamaica”. The objective of this symposium will be to identify and discuss best practices through the sharing of knowledge and experiences on methodologies related to HIV and GBV intervention. This will include addressing prevention, treatment, care and support within the context of the intersectionalities of HIV and gender based vulnerabilities, primarily gender based violence. The Symposium will also focus on advocacy related initiatives and strategies aimed at addressing gender based stigma and discrimination in the provision of services; and also identify new and emerging gender based patterns of the epidemic.
UN Women’s key partners in Jamaica will share details of their work programmes and important insights into key strategies and lessons learnt both through the process of project implementation, and from their many years of experience in the field.
An expected outcome of this Symposium will be to chart a way forward in terms of intervention methodologies and strategic approaches to addressing HIV and related gender based vulnerabilities, namely gender based violence.
Objectives of the Assignment
To facilitate a two-day symposium that will be focused on the sharing of knowledge and experience in the implementation of methodologies and strategies related to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support which address the intersectionality between HIV and gender based vulnerabilities and discrimination, primarily gender based violence.
Under the overall supervision of the UN Women Head of Office a.i. and working in close collaboration with the Programme Specialist GBV and HIV, as well as the National Programme Coordinator for Jamaica. The consultant will be responsible for:
Core Values / Guiding Principles:
Integrity and Fairness:
Cultural sensitivity and valuing diversity:
Required Skills and Experience
The individual consultant should meet the following minimum criteria:
Hardware, Software and Communication:
Location and Duration:
The consultant contracted will be required to sign a statement of confidentiality and freedom from any conflict of interest with potential future contractors with respect to the TORs and work that they will be delivering.