By Hester Phillips, Programme Support Officer for the KC team. The KC team is an independent network, supported by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. The Alliance provides long distance mentoring for KCs plus training and reporting opportunities. It also provides international platforms to showcase KC work.
Hearing voices from the communities most affected by HIV is crucial to the global response to the epidemic. And as 25,000 delegates plan to attend AIDS 2012 in July, the Key Correspondents, a team of citizen journalists supported by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, are getting ready to give their perspective on proceedings.
The KC team is a global network of community-based writers from around 50 countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. A large number of KCs are people living with or affected by HIV. All are volunteers and include those working in advocacy, media, health and development.
KCs shed light on the realities people at higher risk to HIV face. They report on the police brutality experienced by sex workers and people who use drugs, the state-sanctioned discrimination and denial of health services people living with HIV face, and the impact health sector and government corruption has on people’s attempts to stay healthy. The stories told are diverse as the KCs themselves but each is underpinned by a desire to give a voice to the voiceless.
Reporting from international conferences enables KCs to connect local voices to international debates. Last year, KCs reported from the 10th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific and the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA). At both, activists held large demonstrations and KCs were right there, reporting on events as they unfolded to make conference delegates and the wider world listen.
As ICASA took place barely two weeks after the Global Fund’s cancellation of Round 11, protests at the conference unsurprisingly centred around the funding crisis facing the response. Now thousands of AIDS activists are getting ready to march through Washington DC prior to AIDS 2012 to remind leaders to Keep the Promise on funding. Again, KCs will be right there in the thick of it.
Throughout AIDS 2012 KCs’ work will appear on www.keycorrespondents.org. You can also follow the KC team on Twitter @thekcteam or find us on Facebook. And if you see a KC wielding a Dictaphone or a camera during the conference, come add your voice to the discussion.