Friday, October 24, 2008

Until There's A Cure in Uganda: an explanation of UTAC's granting strategy

An Explanation and Case Study of UTAC Granting

Until There's A Cure is a grant-making organization. Because UTAC commits money to other organizations which provide direct care and services, prevention education and awareness, medical vaccine research, and vaccine development advocacy in the field of HIV/AIDS support, we ask that grant recipients keep us informed of what they do with the money.

While this concept and process appears simple, many of the groups we fund have such limited resources that even producing a report on their own activities takes time and money away from their day-to-day missions. This reporting process is very important on our end, and we so appreciate the extra effort these amazing groups put forth to keep us informed of their successes and challenges -- in the end, it helps us to make better granting decisions in the future, as we learn a great deal about the potential effectiveness of new programs given our previous history with similar projects. In the same way, if we've never seen a program idea before, the after-the-fact final report will serve as a benchmark for future programs and help us guide other groups with their own projects.

As an example of how this final reporting process works, let's take a closer look at a recent grantee organization in Africa.


KIFAD and UTAC

In 2007, Until There's A Cure granted the Kiyita Family Alliance for Development (KIFAD) a grant in the amount of $4,000 for their Wakiso Anti-Retroviral Therapy Support Program. We recently received their 2008 annual report, detailing how the grant money was used, the benefits and disappointments of their program, and where KIFAD plans to move in the future. KIFAD is a community group which aims to support People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and to prevent infection, treat infected persons, and support community members who are infected. A cornerstone of their efforts is the "dissemination of accurate ART [anti-retroviral treatment] information."

KIFAD applied for a grant to fund their program, which supported the following purpose:
"Wakiso Anti Retroviral Therapy Support Project seeks to support people affected and infected with HIV/AIDS especially those on Anti Reotroviral Therapy (ART) in Wakiso District to access comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support services. The project also intends to improve the quality and prolong the lives of People living with HIV/AIDS by disseminating accurate ART information, to promote compregensive HIV/AIDS treatment, care and sipport and adherence to ARVs."
-KIFAD Final Report to Until There's A Cure Foundation, submitted October 6th, 2008
The proposed project also stated a number of objectives, including a focus on increasing an understanding of how to use ARVs effectively, which would "mobilize communities to use prevention, treatment, care and support services," and to increase the number of community members who understand the effectiveness of strong adherence to ART.

The final report details the specific activities that KIFAD undertook throughout the program's duration. Between October 2007, from the receipt of their grant award, to September 2008, through the Wakiso Anti Reotroviral Therapy Support Poject, KIFAD offered:
  • HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) for 889 people, finding 2.6% of men, 0.9% of children, and 12.5% of women testing positive for HIV.
  • Community HIV/AIDS Education Outreach, which provided counseling to 256 people, reduced stigma, and during 586 home visits, "52 clients were educated on will making" and 31 wills were written. This is a critical step in the care for children with parents who are HIV positive, as it provides support in the unfortunate instance that a parents passes away due to complications from AIDS.
  • Referral services to 158 other organizations for specialized care and treatment and other related services.
  • Community HIV/AIDS awareness in 12 awareness sessions, which has resulted in increased numbers of people seeking counseling and treatment. The number of people getting regular status tests and performing life planning activities has increased as well.
  • Condom distribution and use among highly at-risk populations.
  • HIV/AIDS Basic Packs -- the Basic Pack was given to 151 poitive-tested individuals, and included: "1 Water Vessel... 150 mL Water Guard, 2 long lasting Insecticide treated mosquito nets, adult size, 60 condoms, Positive Living Guide to Life and 1 filter cloth."
  • Awareness sessions concerning the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), wich reached 386 women and expectant mothers.
  • A collaboration with Joint Clinical Research Centre, Wakiso District Directorate of Health Services, Palliative Care Association of Uganda, and AIDS Information Centre to distribute Information Education Communication Materials (IECs).
The Final Report details how the program was monitored and evaluated, and, especially importantly, discusses the challenges that KIFAD encountered during the course of its project. In particular, they faced issues of:
  1. "Low utilization of Anti Retroviral Therapy Services... [due to] limited information on the location of service sites... negative attitude of service providers, inadequate HIV/AIDS testing... and stigma etc."
  2. Extremely low household income, which prevents infected persons from seeking treatment because of inability to pay. Specifically: "Many of the would-be beneficiaries can not afford two meals a day hence unable to meet the nutritional requirements that accompany the treatment."
  3. "Household Food Insecurity," which is caused, often, by an HIV positive adult who becomes too incapacitated to provide food for his or her family. HIV contributes significantly to food insecurity and diminished nutritional status.
Finally, KIFAD provides us with a breakdown of both the expected outcomes of the project, compared with actual results:
  • Of a projected $800 for testing, the actual cost was $1,352, or 70% more than expected.
  • With a budget of $1,200 for education outreach, the actual cost was $984.
  • A projected $800 for discussion seminars cost $608 in the final breakdown.
  • The publication of joint ART messaging, budgeted at $1,200, actually cost $1,056.
While the project cost remained at $4,000, it's apparent that the testing was more expensive than anticipated, and other items were less expensive. Further communication with KIFAD will determine how their approach will change next year given what's been learned from this extensive, important project.

Hopefully this explanation has given some insight into how Until There's A Cure evaluates the projects of its grantees, as well as how those organizations' final reports, while time-consuming, remain a critical aspect of our grantmaking and administrative process. We deeply appreciate the time these groups put into critically evaluating and reviewing their own work, as it helps both the grantees and UTAC improve the progress of HIV/AIDS care and advocacy.

Note: KIFAD does not maintain a website.
For more information on KIFAD, please visit their VolunteerAbroad page, or write to KIFAD at:
Kiyita Family Alliance for Development
P.O. Box 33995
Kampala, Uganda

Monday, October 13, 2008

Schools campaign is live!

We've sent brochures and information to more than 5,000 schools across the United States, inviting them to join in the fall campaign with Until There's A Cure. If your school is one of them, great! We'd love to talk to you about setting up a fundraiser, and helping you get the word out. If your school was not contacted in our initial mailing -- and there are nearly 22,000 we couldn't reach right away -- don't worry.

You can get involved by contacting us at Until There's A Cure.

Email: marketing (at) utac dot org
Call: 1.800.888.6845

Please visit www.Together.Until.org to see our extensive online tools, fundraising ideas, and facts about HIV/AIDS rates all over the world.

Make a fashion statement against AIDS. Join us at www.Together.Until.org

-Until There's A Cure

Thursday, October 2, 2008

HIV is older than previously thought

A new study publicized in the journal Nature changes the scale of HIV infection. Previously, it was thought that HIV had been present in human populations by around 1930; the new study suggests that HIV was present in humans as far back as 1884.

Central to this new information is the fact that HIV is extremely quick to mutate, and knowing that the virus has infected humans for a longer period of time helps to explain a greater variation in strains of the virus. The study does not fundamentally change our understanding of HIV, and it is important to note that more research must be done to best use this information to eradicate the pandemic.

To read an explanation of the study, please click here.

-Until There's A Cure

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kim Kardashian wearing The Bracelet

Kim Kardashian, currently appearing on Dancing With The Stars, appears in a PSA for Until There's A Cure. Kim blogged about The Bracelet on her site yesterday -- we're so happy to have the support of her online community.

-Until There's A Cure

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Study Finds improvements in teen sexual behavior, but increased risks

This story, appearing in the New York Times, discusses the encouraging developments in US teens' sexual behavior, but highlights an important, and disturbing trend: while teens are delaying sex and increasing their condom use over a 17-year period, the rate of HIV and other STDs is increasing in the past few years. The article states that while teens are having less sex, having it later, and using condoms more often, there is still
"...a 34 percent increase in H.I.V. and AIDS cases diagnosed among teenagers 15 to 19 from 2003 to 2006."

This increase underscores the need for more comprehensive education in terms of the risks of STDs, particularly HIV/AIDS.


To read the full study, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for August 1st.




Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympians and Until There's A Cure

Congratulations to Kerri Walsh, Olympic Gold-Medalist in beach volleyball, and one of our most recent PSAs! Kerri's photo appears in September's issue of Maxim Magazine, and she is wearing several of our African Art bracelets.

Along with Kerri, Olympic Gold-Medalist men's basketball player Carmelo Anthony has posed for Until There's A Cure, wearing our best-selling silver plate bracelet, as well as the now-discontinued large jelly bracelet. Look for Carmelo's photo in upcoming months.

Congratulations on all the impressive performances, and a special thanks to those who have lent their time and faces to the fight... Until There's A Cure.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Please support the reauthorization of PEPFAR

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is currently under threat in the US Congress. Please take a moment to visit this site and sign your name, encouraging the reauthorization of these much-needed funds.
"The Senate might not consider PEPFAR reauthorization at all this year. With 15,000 new infections every day in sub-Saharan Africa, over 60% of them among women and young girls, we can't afford any delays in renewing US commitment to fighting AIDS."
For detailed information about PEPFAR, please visit their web site.

-Until There's A Cure

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

create a WEARness... Until There's A Cure

We are finalizing our new fundraising initiative -- UNTIL wristbands at high schools and middle schools across the country. This campaign will be truly comprehensive, involving physical events as well as interactive participation online. It's a lot of work but we're very excited... and busy!

As part of the campaign, we're encouraging people to send us pictures of themselves wearing The Bracelet. Send us a picture of you, your friends, your parents, your dogs, cats, teammates, classmates, roommates, etc. wearing your bracelets and we'll post them to our Flickr photostream.

Stay tuned for more updates in the very near future!

-Until There's A Cure

Monday, July 7, 2008

IAVI Gains a Leading Vaccine Expert

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, the medical effort dedicated to the development of a vaccine to prevent HIV/AIDS, has gained Dr. Thomas Hassell as vice president of vaccine development. Please view the press release detailing Dr. Hassell's work here.

Monday, June 30, 2008

UTAC Updates!

Candice Wiggins was profiled in the San Jose Mercury News on June 29th, discussing her success with the Minnesota Lynx as well as her partnership withUntil There's A Cure! You can access the article online here.

National HIV Testing Day was on June 27th, 2008 - for more information about this annual event, please visit the CDC's NHTD page.

In product news, UTAC is excited to be one of Fry's Electronics newest vendors! Look for the Until There's A Cure displays at each of the 34 Fry's stores -- find the nearest one by visiting the store locator. Fry's will carry several different styles of The Bracelet.

-Until There's A Cure

Friday, June 20, 2008

Intern with Until There's A Cure

Until There's A Cure is looking for an intern -- view our internship description here, on Idealist!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

WNBA/UTAC Video

Please view the WNBA's promotion video for the Minnesota Lynx Until There's A Cure Night with Candice Wiggins!

video

-Kelly

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Making Our African Art Bracelet

We've had a lot of compliments on our African Art Bracelet, handcrafted by members of a village in Namibia, a nation that has been severely affected by HIV/AIDS. The bracelets, which are carved from recycled PVC pipe, are individually designed by the carver and feature totally unique designs -- no two are ever exactly alike. The proceeds from the sales of these bracelets support prevention/education/care programs within Namibia, so by wearing one, not only are you making a fashion statement of your own, you are directly benefiting small businesses and HIV/AIDS awareness in a truly tangible way.

This photo album includes pictures of how the bracelets are actually made -- I was surprised by the process myself! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Until.

To see how the bracelets are created, please visit the gallery here.

Until There's A Cure,
Kelly

Friday, June 13, 2008

Products and Promotions

Our newest addition to the Until Bracelet family is the UNTIL wristband. We've introduced them at two events so far: this year's San Francisco Giants Until There's A Cure Night at AT&T Park--where we gave every Giants vendor a black UNTIL wristband--and at the June 10 Minnesota Lynx's Until There's A Cure Night at the Target Center in Minneapolis. For the Lynx game, we had UNTIL bands specially-made to include Candice Wiggins' name and jersey number for the first 5,000 fans.

We are very excited about this product as it provides a new way for us to increase awareness and funding for vaccine research and HIV/AIDS education: school and group fundraising. Students can purchase the wristbands in packages of 10, in pink, red, or black, to be sold individually to friends and family -- money they raise will be granted to one of our pre-screened AIDS foundations in their region.

For those who plan to sell a large volume [over 1,200], the bracelets can be custom ordered in almost any color; think school colors for homecoming, or holiday colors.

To check out the UNTIL bands and start supporting HIV/AIDS research and prevention education in your area, please visit our online ordering page.

-Until There's A Cure

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Review us on Yelp!

Yelp offers a unique way for Bay Area [and more distant] wearers of The Bracelet to encourage other people to support HIV/AIDS awareness. By reviewing Until There's A Cure and our products, you can help to make more people aware of the cause and the foundation.

Please visit our page and Yelp us out!
-Kelly