On World AIDS Day – The Power of Community Organizations to Change Lives
This World AIDS Day we are proud to celebrate the accomplishments of one of our long-term grantees, Namwera AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC) – a strong, thriving community organization on the front lines of social change for vulnerable children and families in Malawi.
NACC is proof positive that when you enable community organizations to thrive, you enable long-term structural social change.
NACC was established in 1996 in response to the AIDS epidemic in the eastern part of Mangochi district, bordering Mozambique. Firelight has partnered with NACC since 2004, providing them with grant funding to support the resilience of families through comprehensive support in health, education, and economic empowerment, as well as organizational capacity building support.
Initially formed as a small committee of concerned community members, NACC now works in 300 villages with a volunteer corps of more than 5,000. However, NACC remains strongly rooted in the communities they serve. While their work emerges from the response to HIV, with an emphasis on prevention, testing, and counseling, this care and support has led to the development of a range of strategies that address the needs of family and children.
NACC currently serves as one of Firelight’s lead partners in a program – funded with the generous support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation – aimed at delivering holistic early childhood development services for communities in Malawi. Firelight’s program is designed to improve early childhood development outcomes for young children affected by HIV and AIDS, focusing on the need to strengthen community-based organizations like NACC and enabling them to better deliver early childhood development services to the communities they serve.
As part of this program, NACC is supported by Firelight to provide critical training and mentoring to 5 smaller community-based organizations. We love that NACC can play this role – they are not only active participants in changing children’s lives but they are also providing leadership to other, smaller organizations, so that they can do the same.
At Firelight, we are very proud of our work with NACC. But we’re not alone – recently the Hilton Foundation spent several days with NACC, where they were able to witness first-hand the positive effect a community-based organization can have on communities. You can read their amazing blog post here which highlights NACC’s ability to mobilize communities for the benefit of children and families.
We are dedicated to enabling community organizations to thrive so they can build better long-term outcomes for vulnerable children and families and we are thrilled to see how our major donor partner, Hilton Foundation, is excited by Firelight’s work with communities on the ground. More evidence of Firelight’s value as a long-term enabler for community leaders in Africa.