Who We Are
Established in 2002, the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) is a regional partnership of 115 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working together in 18 countries in southern and east Africa, to promote a human rights approach to HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) through capacity strengthening and advocacy.
To promote respect for and the protection of the rights to bodily autonomy and integrity for all in order to reduce inequality, especially gender inequality and promote health, dignity and well-being for sustainable development in southern and east Africa.
- ARASA promotes a human rights approach to HIV, TB and sexual and reproductive health in southern and east Africa, by utilising its strategic partnership of civil society organisations (CSOs) for capacity strengthening and advocacy.
- ARASA’s partners bring diverse skills and perspectives from communities and areas of interest, which enables it to stay informed and elevate key human rights issues to national, regional and global level to influence policy.
- ARASA strengthens partners’ diverse skills and perspectives from communities and areas of interest, which enables it to stay informed and elevate key human rights issues to national, regional and global level to influence policy.
Our Focus Areas
- Promoting the rights to bodily autonomy and integrity: ARASA will promote social justice, Universal Health Coverage and the achievement of the SDGs (with a focus on Goals 3, 6 and 10) through respect for and protection of the rights to bodily autonomy and integrity, equity, equality and ensuring accountability to regional and international health and human rights instruments.
- Transforming culture and discourse: ARASA will seek to influence culture and discourse on bodily autonomy and integrity, recognising that cultural and religious influencers such as media, artists and community leaders can help shape cultural and religious norms that influence how the rights of bodily autonomy and integrity are valued and upheld.
- Removal of structural barriers: ARASA will focus on the removal of structural barriers – such as national, regional and international policies and laws on gender, SRH, sexual orientation and gender identity – that prevent accelerated progress on rights-based responses to HIV, TB and SRH, in particular for people living with HIV, key populations and other vulnerable communities.
- Protection of civil society space: ARASA will focus on protecting the rights of civil society advocates to expression, association and engagement – to ensure their full and critical role in rights-based action on HIV, TB and SRH that responds to the real needs of communities.
- Sustaining and increasing health financing: ARASA will focus on holding national governments, regional institutions and international donors to account for their funding commitments for HIV, TB and SRH, and ensuring sustained and increased investment – especially in structural interventions and programmes for key populations and other vulnerable communities – in order to achieve the SDGs.
Our Overall Objectives
To ensure that a legal, policy and social environment exists in southern and east Africa (18 countries) in which people living with HIV and TB and key populations most affected have access acceptable, affordable and quality SRH, HIV and TB prevention, treatment and care services. ARASA works to contribute to these outcomes through Capacity Strengthening and Advocacy, both of which have regional and national components. Our Capacity Strengthening is designed to strengthen civil society capacity for effective HIV, TB and human rights advocacy in southern and east Africa. Our Advocacy is designed to promote an enabling environment for an effective response to HIV, TB and SRHR in southern and east Africa, with human rights at the centre.
ARASA Strategic Plan
In December 2018, the ARASA Board of Trustees approved a new Strategic Plan and Theory of Change for the period 2019 – 2022, titled : “The new frontier: Disruption, innovation and mobilisation for bodily autonomy and integrity”. The most significant change related to ARASA’s new strategic direction is a shift away from a niche focus on HIV and TB to more broadly addressing the social and structural determinants of health, central to which are the rights to bodily autonomy and integrity, as well as equality, equity and social justice. Other significant changes highlighted in the strategic plan include learning from our 16 years of experience to strengthen cross-movement collaboration; make better use of technology to drive innovation; taking our influence in regional consensus to national and local impact; and supporting our partners and individual civil society leaders and organisations we work with from beneficiaries to agents who drive national policy change.