Civil Society Organizations operating in Jamaica, Guyana, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the OECS can access funding for small campaigns to address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation as well as to support policy advocacy for equitable access to safe and effective COVID 19 vaccines in the Caribbean.
The Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) has received a grant from the Open Society Policy Center (“OSPC”) to support policy advocacy for equitability. This will be accomplished through supporting advocacy for equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, once they are licensed and approved as well as urgent, broad scale commitment and investment from participating countries. There are two distinct, but related components to CVC’s initiative.
Goal #1– To build momentum within Caribbean Civil Society (CS) to push the global North for information on and access to any new vaccine for the Caribbean region. It also seeks to build awareness among civil society to monitor the scene for alternative mechanisms that might emerge to COVAX, particularly given all the public funding being channeled into the vaccine effort.
Goal #2– The second goal is targeted at national and regional policy makers to ensure equal and equitable access to vaccines for all the people of the Caribbean (coverage for some is coverage for none), and avoid a repeat of what has happened with testing in the region. It will also mobilize political leadership and international support to fully operationalize the shared commitments to global equitable allocation within the vaccine development and distribution chain as well as elevate the voice of the Caribbean so it is heard clearly on all these matters.
The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted lives and livelihood across the Caribbean. Over the past several months it has become increasingly clear that an effective and safe vaccine against the COVID-19 virus is our best bet to achieve a permanent solution to the pandemic and to get our lives back to normal. While Caribbean countries initially suffered from a shortage of vaccines and less than expected deliveries through the COVAX facility, that is no longer the case. However, as more vaccines became available to the Caribbean the uptake in several countries have stalled. On November 3, 2021, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported that 1.2 billion doses of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines have, to date, been administered in member countries. Assistant Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa da Silva Jr. said consequent on this, 46 percent of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean had been fully vaccinated. He was however quick to note that several countries in the region are still experiencing challenges with their vaccination campaigns, noting that 19 countries remain below the 40 percent target set by the World Health Organization. Among them were Jamaica, Haiti, Nicaragua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Guatemala, which he pointed out “are still below 20 percent coverage”. While he noted that PAHO is working closely with these countries he raised the challenge of vaccine hesitancy as a major impediment. For example, vaccine hesitancy and vaccine preference has resulted in Jamaica being forced to dump hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses.
So what are the major reasons behind vaccine hesitancy across the Caribbean? A study published by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in August 2021 titled COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance Among Active Social Media Users in the Caribbean provides some insight. A total of 2,302 individuals from six CARPHA Member States (Barbados, Curacao, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago) were included in the study. From the survey participants 51% had received a vaccine for COVID-19, while 49% had not received a vaccine for COVID-19. Among those who are unvaccinated, 46% reported that they “would get the vaccine if available”, however 32% reported that they “may get the vaccine if available” and the remaining 22% reported that they “will not get the COVID-19 vaccine if available”. Hence overall COVID-19 vaccine acceptance (i.e., have taken a vaccine and willing to take a vaccine) accounted for 74%; 15% of the participants were hesitant, and 11% reported that they would not accept a COVID-19 vaccine when it became available. Participants were also asked whether they would vaccinate their children and elderly parents with the COVID-19 vaccine. The percentage of participants who reported that they would vaccinate their elderly parents was 53% while those who reported that they would vaccinate their children stood at 38%. From the survey respondents, 52.9% indicated that they had no concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, while 47.1% indicated that they had concerns. Of those who indicated that they had concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine “I am concerned about the possible side effects of the vaccine” (38.0%) was the major concern selected by participants. 21% felt the vaccine was developed too quickly, 19% said they did not know enough about the vaccine, 16% said they do not think the vaccine will protect them from getting COVID-19, 10% did not trust vaccine manufacturers, 9% preferred to use natural remedies and 4% thought that they could get COVID-19 from taking the vaccine.
While closer evaluation of the reasons behind vaccine hesitancy needs to be done through more detailed analysis in specific countries, the CARPHA study gives us critical insight into concerns some individuals have about why they are yet to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile as Caribbean governments divert funding to pay for importation of COVID 19 vaccines, this should not result in the diversion of resources from other critical health needs such as HIV and Non-Communicable Diseases. In its 2021 Results Report, the Global Funds Executive Director Peter Sands noted, “COVID-19 has been the most significant setback in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria, that we have encountered in the two decades since the Global Fund was established. As countries went into lockdown and resources were diverted to combat the pandemic; prevention, testing and treatment services for all three dropped precipitously.”
In response to the above, CVC is pleased to announce funding for small campaigns to address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation as well as to support policy advocacy for equitable access to safe and effective COVID 19 vaccines in the Caribbean.
Campaigns should support any of the following objectives:
● To counter vaccine hesitancy through the creation of messages to counter anti-vaccine narratives while taking into account varying educational, cultural and language backgrounds.
● Social media campaigns with messaging to address misinformation, support vaccine demand and uptake and gain public confidence in the Covid-19 vaccines.
● Advocacy messaging to ensure that resource allocation towards the COVID-19 vaccine does not divert resources from other critical health needs such as HIV and NCDs.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY
Civil Society Organizations operating in Jamaica, Guyana, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the OECS.
Each organization may apply for an award of maximum US$7,500 to support project-related costs for up to four (4) months. Allocations for salaries, stipends, incentives and overheads should not exceed 40% of the total budget for the grant.
CAMPAIGN PROPOSAL SHOULD INCLUDE:
1. Background to the preparation of the campaign and how it will make the desired impact.
2. Explain the goals and objectives of the campaign.
3. Describe the key messages and the target audience for each message.
4. Outline the proposed campaign strategy, indicating the expected output(s), outcomes(s) and impact as well as the main risks and assumptions towards their achievement.
5. Outline the dissemination channels and the expected reach of the proposed campaign.
6. Campaign Budget
All proposals will be considered and reviewed by a Committee, which will take into account the organization’s past grant performance and proposal for strengthening or expanding its current work.
Project proposals will be reviewed and scored against the criteria outlined below:
● Relevance: Are the proposed strategies aligned with the objectives of the call for proposals?
● Efficiency: Are available financial and other resources (including collaboration and resource-sharing with partners and volunteer contributions of labour, expertise and material) being used to good advantage? Does the project use resources creatively and get the biggest “bang for the buck?”
● Leverage: Will this grant result in outside support or government buy-in?
● Strength of plan and measurable outcomes: Does the proposal have a clearly defined plan of action with measurable outcomes for success?
CONFIDENTIALITY AND COMMUNICATIONS
CVC respects the privacy of the applicant and is committed to protecting from disclosure any confidential or proprietary information contained in a submitted proposal. While we will make every effort to ensure confidentiality in these situations, CVC, cannot guarantee complete confidentiality and/or be held liable for the disclosure of information that causes harm to individuals or groups associated with funded projects. Groups should be aware that any information provided carries the risk of being shared publicly through open dialogue about funding priorities, peer review processes, and communications about the project, decisions, and reported outcomes. Submission of a funding application is deemed to indicate the applicant’s understanding and acceptance of these risks.
REQUIREMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS
CVC seeks to support quality and accountable programs. Therefore, all organizations funded through this grant-process will be required to provide monthly and final reports, and will be required to utilize the community web-based M&E platform and database designed by CVC specifically for its partners.
Organizations should be able and ready to document appropriate financial and accounting controls, including measures to prevent duplicated use or misappropriation of funds. CVC will provide close technical support and financial oversight of all mini-grants awarded.
SUBMISSION OF APPLICATIONS
Please submit all applications to firstname.lastname@example.org and must include the subject line – Covid-19 Vaccine Campaign Grant Proposal.
All applications must be received no later than: December 01, 2021 at 5pm Jamaica time.
 46 percent of Latin America and the Caribbean vaccinated. Retrieved from: https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20211104/46-cent-latin-america-…
 As more vaccines arrive, Jamaica dumps expired AstraZaneca doses. Retrieved from: https://jamaica.loopnews.com/content/more-vaccines-arrive-jamaica-dumps-…
 COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance Among Active Social Media Users in the Caribbean. Retrieved from https://carpha.org/Portals/0/Publications/Summary%20Results%20of%20COVID…
Santo Rosario a sociologist by training is the Executive Director of the Centre for Integrated Training and Research (COIN). Over the past 19 years his work has supported and strengthened disenfranchised groups empowering them to set up their own organizations. Examples of this include “Amigos Siempre Amigos,” an NGO by and for the MSM community, which is now a leader in the field; and MODEMU, the first Sex Workers Association in the Dominican Republic and indeed the Caribbean. Rosario is a co-founder of the National Coalition of AIDS Service Organizations (ONGSIDA) which helps coordinate civil society’s response to HIV/AIDS in the Dominican Republic.
Name of organization
Foundation He & HIV
HIV+ Men who have sex with men
This project provides outreach, referrals, testing and care and support for low-income HIV positive men who have sex with men.
Suriname Men United
Men who have sex with men
This project reaches gay-identifying men who have sex with men and develops media spots to address LGBT stigma and discrimination.
“BUILDING ON WHAT WORKS: REPLICATING MODEL PROGRAMMING AND ADVOCACY INTERVENTIONS AND DEEPENING CARIBBEAN COMMUN
Name of organization
National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA)
This model integrates peer education and mobile outreach to people who use crack in Kingston, Jamaica.
Jamaica AIDS Support for Life
Men who have sex with men and sex workers
One of the region’s oldest civil society organizations reaching sex worker and MSM peers, JASL is scaling-up the quality of its interventions with increased training of its peers in sexual health.
Sex Workers Association of Jamaica
This sex-worker led project aims to provide empowerment and human rights education for sex worker peers and sensitize police officers in Jamaica.
This project provides theatre/edutainment interventions and voluntary counseling and testing with youth in Kingston. It has a new social media component for Phase II.
Stand Up for Jamaica
Men who have sex with men
This new project for Phase II intervenes men who have sex with men in prisons in Kingston.
Jamaicans for Justice
This project delivers sexual reproductive and human rights focused interventions with young people in institutions in Jamaica. It has an advocacy component for structural change.
Name of organization
TRANSSA (Trans Siempre Trans)
Transgender women living with HIV
provides a minimum package of services to HIV positive transgender women as well as information about safer feminization processes and access to primary healthcare.
Men who have sex with men
delivers an LGBT-led community radio show addressing a wide range of health and human rights issues in the community.
CAJIR (Consejo Asesor Internacional de la Juventud Rural)
This is a peer education model with marginalized youth in an impoverished, rural community called Vallejuelo. Youth are exposed to sexual reproductive health information through film nights. Community health centers are sensitized on the needs of these youth.
Fundación Red de Jóvenes Unidos de Guachupita
This is a youth-led peer education and empowerment model with marginalized youth in several of the most underserved and stigmatized barrios of Santo Domingo; where unemployment, drug-use, gangs, and family violence impact young people’s access to healthcare and result in teenage pregnancy and STI’s.
Centro de Promoción y Solidaridad Humana (CEPROSH)
Migrant sex workers
uses peer education in Creole to target migrant Haitian women engaged in transactional sex and sex work in Puerto Plata. It includes sensitization of duty-bearers such as police and health services to address structural violence and barriers to health services.
Red Nacional de Jóvenes viviendo con VIH/SIDA(REDNAJCER)
This project builds on the findings of the community monitoring system built in Phase I, and will sensitize SAI’s (centers of attention, care and support for PLHIV) about the findings of the Phase I study which showed high levels of perceived and real discrimination towards marginalized youth.
This project is a drug user-led, needle exchange program targeting both non-injecting and injecting drug users in Santo Domingo. The project also includes sensitization trainings for decision-makers on the structural determinants of drug use and HIV, and highlights barriers for drug-user access to services.
Men who have sex with men
This is a peer education model with 15-25 year old men who have sex with men in the Eastern Province of the Dominican Republic. The project tries to reach young men who have sex with men with a minimum package of prevention services as they become sexually active.
Movimiento de Mujeres Unidas (MODEMU)
This is a peer education model reaching non-identifying, home and street-based sex workers in Barahona, one of the poorest provinces of the Dominican Republic. The project provides a minimum package of services for women and transgender sex workers, many of whom experience high levels of gender-based violence.
Trans sex workers
This peer education model aims to increase access to primary and sexual reproductive health care services for transgender women sex workers.
Name of organization
Artistes in Direct Support
This project targets young men who have sex with men and aims to give them the life-skills and sexual reproductive health information they need as young men.
Youth Challenge Guyana
This project reaches low-literacy sex workers in mining communities with a minimum package of services.
Volunteer Youth Corps Inc.
This project provides peer education, income generation training and case management for marginalized youth.
This project addresses stigma and discrimination towards LGBT people in Guyana through targeted campaigns.
Name of organization
This project delivers peer education to men who have sex with men in Port-au-Prince in three neighbourhoods.
Movimiento Socio Cultural Para Los Trabajadores Haitianos/as (MOSCTHA)
Marginalized youth in the border town of Ouanaminthe, Haiti
This project works with marginalized youth to deliver peer education and strengthen youth advocates for structural change.
Men who have sex with men
In the north-west of the country, this project will deliver a peer education program targeting MSM; build capacity of MSM leaders, and sensitize community leaders to reduce stigma and discrimination.
Men who have sex with men
In Port-au-Prince this project will target MSM.
Joan Didier, Executive Director (volunteer) of the St. Lucia AIDS Action Foundation (AAF) which is an umbrella NGO based in St. Lucia that works with a wide range of stakeholders, including the private sector, persons living with HIV and AIDS, youth, men who have sex with men, and sex workers.
She is the Director of the OECS Regional Co-ordinating Mechanism for the current OECS Global Fund Grant. Miss Didier is an experienced Trainer and Facilitator with expertise in Voluntary Counseling and Testing, Behavior Change Communication, Advocacy and Human Rights. She has been instrumental in helping to get the St. Lucia private sector involved in HIV and has succeeded in helping the private sector to develop HIV policies for their enterprises. She is a human rights advocate and assisted in the organization of the PLHIV support group TLC. Miss Didier has represented both St. Lucia and the OECS at several regional and international meetings.
Name of organization
Productive Organization for Women in Action (POWA)
The project uses peer education to strengthen girls and women in leadership and decision making skills; provide knowledge and support for referral services and continued access to education.
Promoting Empowerment Through Awareness for Lesbian and Bisexual Women (PETAL)
This project aims to expand women’s knowledge and leadership capacity to advocate about gaps in violence and discriminatory laws in Belize through workshops on gender-based violence among other topics.
Empower Yourself Belize Movement (EYBM)
This project focuses on using mobile technology and peer to peer methodology to engage, empower and educate targeted populations on their Sexual & Reproductive Health and Human Rights and facilitate access to relevant services to maintain healthy lifestyles.
Name of organization
Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA)
This project is geared at sensitizing the public on marginalized groups through the distribution of IEC Materials as well as supporting marginalized youth in addressing their sexual and reproductive health by providing increased access to a minimum package of prevention services inclusive of information, education and materials for HIV/STI prevention; talks, condoms, lubricants, condom demonstration, as well as referral to HIV testing, support groups, primary health care and safe spaces.
Women Against Rape Inc (WAR)
The project implements a peer outreach program where peer educators connect with vulnerable and marginalised women to increase their knowledge of STI-HIV/AIDS, sexual health, gender base violence and human rights; increased access to comprehensive sexual health services, HIV testing and counselling, GBV reporting and counselling, increased access to safer sex commodities, educational materials; and referrals to friendly networks including health and legal referral services; increasing human rights awareness and scaling-up of community mobilisation through sensitization of front line workers including health care providers and law enforcement.
Antigua Resilience Collective Inc (ARC)
Migrant Sex Workers
This is a peer education project aimed at training a cadre of female spanish sex worker peer educators who will connect with the sex worker population in Antigua and Barbuda to educate, counsel and support their peers on HIV/STI transmission, safe sex, and violence towards female Spanish sex workers. The project will build the individual capacity of each peer educator with advocacy skills, knowledge of human rights issues, safe sex practices and safe networking with peers.
Name of organization
United and Strong
This project provides peer education training, information, health education and communication materials, and sensitization exercises to the LGBT community as well as health care professionals and support services organizations; and the nation through press releases that inform about HIV, human right, stigma and discrimination.
Dona Da Costa Martinez, EMBA, Co-Chair of CVC joined the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT) in August 1985 and has served as its Executive Director since 1999. She is the Chairperson of the Prevention Sub Committee of the National AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC) and is a member of several other multidisciplinary committees including a Technical Working Committee on Sexual and Reproductive Health appointed by the Ministry of Health.Under her leadership at FPATT, the organisation has introduced “De Living Room”, the only centre in Trinidad and Tobago providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care services to young persons under age 25; health care services for sex workers, and other at risk populations; the integration of voluntary counseling and testing for HIV into SRH services; post abortion counseling; and advocating for the provision of safe abortion services for women who choose to have one.
Mr. Cruickshank has been a member of the senior management team at CVCC since 2009 and has extensive experience in the field of HIV which has given him intimate knowledge of the Human Rights and HIV and AIDS landscape as well as the community-based response to development. He has represented CVCC at the regional and global levels with distinction over the years.
Currently Ivan serves in several major leadership positions in Jamaica’s HIV response, including Chairing both the Jamaica CCM and the National Technical Working Group for Enabling Environment and Human Rights as well as serving as a member of the Board of Governors of the National Family Planning Board – Sexual Health Agency as well as the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council. In addition, he serves as Chair of the Equality for All Foundation and is a past member of the Boards of Jamaica Network of Seropositives, and the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network
Howard Gough graduated with honors from the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology with a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology. While studying advanced psychiatric nursing in 1986 Mr. Gough became fascinated with drug addiction. This curiosity took Howard first to London on a European Union-funded scholarship where he used one year to qualify for a two-year diploma in Mental Health studies with emphasis on addiction management.
He returned to Jamaica in 1989 and began the development of drug treatment programmes on behalf of the government. He first crafted the treatment programme for the Detoxification Unit at the University Hospital and then moved to co-develop ‘Patricia House’ a residential, rehabilitation centre which he managed for 22 years. He has also served as consultant to CARICOM; as a Caribbean trainer for the London-based Richmond Psychosocial Foundation; Lecturer at UWI, Northern Caribbean University and the Mico Teachers’ College in Jamaica. He has traveled extensively across the Caribbean, Central and North America, Asia and Europe, in a bid to advance his understanding of addiction and the people affected.
Jaevion Nelson holds an MSc in Social Development and Communication from the University of Wales, Swansea in the United Kingdom where he was a Chevening Scholar; and a BSc in Management Studies (Marketing) from the University of the West Indies.
He has over seven years of work in social development and communication. He has experience working in civil society as a programmer and advocate on issues relating to governance, sexual and reproductive health and rights, violence prevention, human rights, youth rights and participation and communication.
Some of his previous positions include being a reporter at Jamaica’s oldest newspaper – the Gleaner Co. Ltd.; Teacher at the Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha” and Programme Officer & Campaign Coordinator at the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), where he managed two national peace campaigns. He has lobbied US foreign policymakers on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on issues relating to youth sexual and reproductive health, human rights and HIV. He has represented civil society at several human rights, youth development and HIV meetings, including speaking on panels on Capitol Hill and the UN High level Meeting on HIV.
Ian McKnight, MSc, has been involved in HIV development work since 1991 when he co-founded Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL), serving as its Executive Director from 1991 until 2002. He later served as Director of Targeted Interventions and Director for Social Marketing and Public Education. He was the Violence Prevention Specialist and Media and Communications Specialist on JA-STYLE, a USAID-funded/Ministry of Health adolescent reproductive health project and later became the Programmes Manager of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) from 2006-November 2009 and Executive Director from 2009 – 2013.
As a Facilitator, McKnight has given service to PANCAP/CARICOM’s “Champion for Change” initiative and the Saint Maarten National HIV Programme’s Advocacy and Policy Development Training. As a trainer, McKnight’s clients include UNIFEM, Fluid Bodies Project in New York, the Caribbean HIV AIDS Alliance, Kwanza Productions and Value Added Services.
Ethel Pengel is the founder and CEO of the Double Positive Foundation which is an NGO in Surinam catering for women and girls affected by and living with HIV. As someone who is herself a woman living with HIV, she has been involved with numerous local and regional entities inclusive of the Caribbean Network of Sero-Positives (CRN +). She is a member of Suriname’s Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) and a member of the Advisory Board of the Ministry of Health regarding HIV/AIDS.
She has managed two grassroots organizations (Stichting Broko Doro and Stichting Mamio Namen project Suriname) both of which had an enviable track record of providing care,support and income generating opportunities for persons living with HIV.
R. Anthony Lewis, PhD. serves as CVC Board Secretary. He has been an advocate and strategist on human rights and social justice issues since he was a teenager, and went on to work as a reporter specializing in, among other things, HIV and AIDS reporting (1993 – 1995). He was Director of Advocacy and Public Education at Jamaica AIDS Support between 2003 and 2005 and also worked in Targeted Interventions for MSM, inmates and sex workers. He is a trained translator who speaks French, Spanish, English, Jamaican and Haitian Kreyol.
He has represented CVC in a number of regional and international fora, including the 17th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers meeting, the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, the Global Forum on MSM and HIV Pre-Conference, training meetings of the PANCAP law, ethics and human rights program; and the PANCAP Regional Condom Policy process with a mandate to ensure it addressed an enabling environment for condom access for youth, sex workers, gay and bisexual men, and other at risk groups.
ethnography of masculine sexual work carried out by Columbia University and Amigos Siempre Amigos (ASA) in the Dominican Republic, as well as other studies to design and develop educational material on human sexuality, HIV and AIDS, and Sexual Transmission Disease (STD).