Gar Knutson Announces That CIDA Will Provide $240,000 to Compassion Canada of London to Fight HIV/AIDS in Kenya

(99-76) News Release
London -- Gar Knutson, Member of Parliament for Elgin -- Middlesex -- London, and Maria Minna, Canada's Minister for International Cooperation, today announced that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will provide $240,000 to educate community leaders in Kenya on issues related to HIV/AIDS. Today's announcement is in addition to Minister Minna's recent commitment of $50 million in new funding to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. This project will be implemented by Compassion Canada of London, Ontario in partnership with Christian Aid Mission Kenya.

"HIV/AIDS is a serious problem affecting millions of people world-wide," said Mr. Knutson, "It is a problem without borders and we must work together to deal with it. Compassion Canada has been active in the field of International Development since the 1950s and this project is a good example of their work."

"HIV/AIDS is killing millions of people. In just ten years, there will be more than 40 million orphaned children who will lose parents to AIDS and millions more will lose teachers or health care providers," said Minister Minna. "This is why I have committed another $50 million to continue aggressively and unrelentingly attacking this disease."

Compassion Canada will manage this two-year project that will provide training to teachers, church leaders and other community leaders in Kenya on issues related to HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. These leaders will in turn be able to provide accurate and effective information and counselling to their communities. Close to 200 community leaders will undergo the training and approximately 39,000 Kenyans will benefit from their knowledge.

In Kenya, there has been an explosion of AIDS cases. South Nyanza in Western Kenya has the highest number of AIDS related deaths in the country. In this region, more than 70,000 people die annually from the disease. The project will target those most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, in particular people living in the most impoverished rural regions of Nyanza.

"Compassion Canada is deeply concerned about the spread of AIDS throughout the world," says Community Development Director Stephen Clarke, "we have witnessed its ravages on families in our projects in the 21 countries where our organization is active."

Since 1987, CIDA has been active in fighting HIV/AIDS. CIDA's total disbursements for HIV/AIDS programming during the 1998-99 fiscal year was $21.7 million.

Funding for the project announced today was provided for in the February 1999 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.


Robin Walsh
Office of the Minister for International Cooperation
Telephone: 819 953-3160

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819 953-6534

Stephen Clarke
Compassion Canada
Telephone: 519 668-0224


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=A9 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 1999