Virac, Catanduanes, Baybay City, Leyte and Alabel, Sarangani are listed under the top 20 poorest provinces in the Philippines. These communities were selected by PAFPI as a response to the implementation of RA 10354or The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Act of 2012 primarily because they lack a strong presence of reproductive health care system and HIV awareness especially among the youth. They were also considered as Geographically Isolated and Depressed Areas or GIDAsites – communities with marginalized population physically and socio-economically separated from the mainstream society such as island municipalities, upland communities, hard-to-reach areas, and conflict-affected areas. Under RA 10354, ‘GIDA sites’ is one of the guidelines identified in Section 5.17 orIdentification of Facilities for Establishment or Upgrading in Support of Reproductive Careand PAFPI is considered as a Civil Society Organization in Section 12.04 to give assistance in these areas.
One of the main sources of PAFPI’s funds for creating and implementing projects to target these areas are grants from private companies with corporate social responsibilities focused on activities that engage young adults and communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Gilead Sciences, Inc., a pharmaceutical company, approved PAFPI’s proposal and awarded the organization funds from their Rainbow Grant to help these areas through a project entitled: Road to HIV, Sexual and Reproductive Health in Selected Geographically Isolated and Disadvantage Areas (GIDA).This project, which started in January 9, 2019 and will end in January 8, 2020, is aimed on capacitating the local government leaders to develop and approve ordinances such as Municipal/City HIV/AIDS Council and/or Municipal/City Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health Rights orARSH; and train youth leaders per city or municipality on HIV and ARSH to become peer educators.
The process of making people well-informed is a very powerful tool to spread awareness when done properly and distributed through open channels of communication. Some people seek for information on a specific subject in order to achieve clarity on how to approach that subject. While others seek for information so they can protect themselves and be aware of their rights and how to act on them. There is a tendency for some people to accept information openly from peers because they find comfort in discussing openly with them. These are the few reasons why PAFPI believes in the importance of Peer Educationthat trains people to properly inform those who are affected or at risk and enabling a Supportive Communitythat provides its citizens awareness on their rights especially on areas with young people not having the proper channels to receive them.