The 2011 GEN III Grantee Convening Helps Bolster Skills, Invigorate Staff

By Rob Banaszak on November 16, 2011 in GENERATIONS

by Veronica Tovar MPA
HIV Research & Education,
Chicano Federation

We at the Chicano Federation of San Diego, Inc. have been thrilled to be part of AIDS United’s groundbreaking program called GENERATIONS:  Strengthening Women and Families Affected by HIV/AIDS.  The GENERATIONS program supports new evidence-based interventions or adaptations of existing prevention models for specific populations of women and girls at high-risk for infection, utilizing a combination of cash grants, technical assistance, grantee convenings and evaluation support.  Chicano Federation is one of six grantees in the third cohort of GENERATIONS (GEN III)  grantees, all of whom gathered in Washington, D.C. November 2-3 to discuss the progress of each grantee’s project, support each other with input and ideas, and to rejuvenate.

Chicano Federation’s GENERATIONS grant helped us create the De Mujer a Mujer Project (From Woman to Woman) in response to the need for HIV prevention targeting primarily monolingual Spanish speaking, migrant, Latinas from traditional backgrounds.  To target the most at risk Latinas in San Diego, demographic maps demonstrating the areas with the highest STI and poverty rates, created by the California Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS, were utilized. Participants must be Latina, ages 18 and over, sexually active (had unprotected vaginal or anal sex with a man in the past 6 months), must be HIV negative, or not know HIV serostatus, and live in one of five zip codes in the central region.  The project was piloted for four months, and then began implementation in January, 2011.  To date, over 100 women have participated.

At the convening, GEN III grantees were given tips on how to write abstracts, a task that Chicano Federation really needed some help in doing so we could better  present our success to the community.  We were then assigned to begin writing an abstract, on the spot, with our team.  This activity was incredibly helpful.  Since Chicano Federation had not previously had an HIV prevention project, it also lacked the experience of writing competitive abstracts.  We left the conference feeling capable and better prepared.

The AIDS United staff also gave us tips on funding sustainability.  During a time when funding is scarce, it is very important to have a realistic discussion about the next steps.  AIDS United Victor Barnes, Angela Von Croft, and Maura Riordan, took the time with the program managers to have candid discussions about funding possibilities.  For me, it helped to give greater clarity on what the best options are for my agency.  Having little experience in generating funding, I left the convening with a plan of action.  The technical assistance team conducted another important and final activity, addressing each grantee’s project individually, and explaining what portion of the GEN III proposals caught the attention of funders, and what almost took us out of the running.  Having funders tell you exactly what was good and not so good about your proposal is rare but unbelievably beneficial to us!  This type of interaction is a perfect reflection of how much the funders truly care about the grantees and their work.

Moreover, just being with a group of people who are all implementing wonderful projects to better the lives of underserved women is inspiring in and of itself.  Chicano Federation was striving to create a prevention project for Latinas; GEN III made our dream come true.  It is incredibly fulfilling to have participants share how this project has positively impacted their lives.  They get out of abusive relationships, they learn how to use a condom for the first time, and they feel better about themselves.  Thank you GEN III for making such a huge difference in our community!

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