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AFRO-NETS> Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report - Thu, 29 Mar 2001

Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report - Thu, 29 Mar 2001

* World Bank Report Calls For Redirection of Aid to Africa
* Many South African Schoolgirls at High Risk for Rape, Sexual As-
  sault, Study Finds
* International Youth Council Launches Campaign Calling for Increased
  Funding for International Family Planning, HIV/AIDS

World Bank Report Calls For Redirection of Aid to Africa

The World Bank on Tuesday released a report "indict[ing]" its past 
African aid allocations and stating that aid that had gone to "poor 
countries with corrupt governments had failed and that future aid 
should be targeted at governments committed to reform," the Philadel-
phia Inquirer reports. The World Bank drew these conclusions from 
case studies of aid provided from the 1980s to the mid-1990s to 10 
African countries -- Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, 
Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. While 
the report cited Ghana and Uganda as examples of "relative success," 
it "echoed" previous studies that found that "two decades of finan-
cial aid accomplished little in eradicating poverty in much of Af-
rica." David Dollar, an economist who helped draft the report, said, 
"Our message is [that] providing large amounts of finance to coun-
tries with poor policies doesn't produce good results." In fact, the 
World Bank documented in some cases that foreign aid exacerbated 
problems by "allowing dictators to stay in power, without improving 
the well-being of the poor." According to the report, in 1996 more 
foreign aid went to "mediocre governments" than to "good governments" 
committed to reforms. Although this trend may be attributable to 
"noneconomic motivations," such as European nations wishing to aid 
former colonies, the World Bank said that donors may have used aid 
"as an inducement [for] corrupt governments to change their ways," a 
method that "largely failed," according to the agency. "When reform 
is imposed from abroad, even as a quid pro quo for aid, it is not 
sustainable," the report states (Moritsugu, Philadelphia Inquirer, 

Guiding Light

World Bank officials say that the report is already "guiding" their 
decisions regarding low-interest loans to African nations, the Boston 
Globe reports. Although bank officials note that "many countries now 
in the midst of the AIDS pandemic are not ready to use donors' assis-
tance effectively," the Globe reports that the bank's $500 million 
fund earmarked to fight AIDS on the continent may soon increase to $1 
billion. Alan Gelb, the bank's chief economist for Africa, said that 
those countries that may not be able to manage "large quantities of 
funds" would instead receive technical assistance and "policy dia-
logue" under the report's guidelines. The Bush administration also 
may use the report, as well as a "little-noticed" GAO report that 
says that USAID's AIDS prevention efforts in Africa cannot be evalu-
ated because of a lack of data on its programs, to guide its reas-
sessment of African policy (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 3/28). Speaking 
to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month, Secre-
tary of State Colin Powell, hinting at a change in U.S. aid policy 
along the lines of the World Bank findings, said, "I'm going to be 
trying to invest in those countries that have made the necessary 
changes that have put them on the path of democracy and the free-
enterprise system, and not keep propping up despots who won't move in 
the right direction" (Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/28).

Many South African Schoolgirls at High Risk for Rape, Sexual Assault, 
Study Finds

"Thousands" of young girls in South Africa are at high risk for rape, 
sexual abuse and other forms of harassment at school, leaving them 
vulnerable to HIV, pregnancy and other diseases, the Christian Sci-
ence Monitor reports. A new report released Tuesday by the Human 
Rights Watch reveals that violence against girls in South African 
schools is "severe," with poverty, the "low status of women in South 
African culture" and the prevalence of violence in many communities 
all thwarting young women's "ability to protect themselves." Although 
the South African government last year passed a law requiring schools 
to disclose abuse to authorities, school administrators "regularly 
disregard" this mandate, report author Erika George said. In addi-
tion, teachers and administrators are sometimes perpetrators of the 
violence. A 1998 Department of Health survey of "thousands" of rape 
victims found that 38% said they were raped by a schoolteacher or 
principal. To solve the problem of violence against schoolgirls, HRW 
is urging the South African government to issue guidelines detailing 
how schools should respond to reports of violence, promote codes of 
conduct for teachers, publish clear punishments for violations of 
that code and offer counseling for victims of in-school violence.

Girls 'Targeted' for Rape

According to the HRW report and other surveys, rape and HIV infection 
rates in South Africa are "among the highest in the world," putting 
many girls at risk of contracting HIV. The problem is not limited to 
schools -- a survey conducted last year of 2,000 teens found that 39% 
of sexually active teenage girls reported being raped, one-third said 
they were "afraid of saying no to sex" and 16% said they traded sex 
for money, drinks, food or "other gifts." Meanwhile, statistics re-
leased last week by the South African Ministry of Health show that 
4.7 million South Africans are living with HIV. Young girls are espe-
cially at risk for rape and infection because some HIV-positive men 
believe a "widespread myth" that having sex with a virgin can cure 
them of the virus, the Monitor reports. In addition, many men per-
ceive young girls as being virgins and "free of HIV," and may "tar-
get" them for sex or abuse (Singer, Christian Science Monitor, 3/28). 
South African health officials say that adolescent girls are twice as 
likely to become infected with HIV as boys, "a reflection of their 
increased sexual activity, often coerced, with older men who have had 
longer exposure to the virus."

Report Recommendations

The education department in South Africa recently issued guidelines 
prohibiting sexual relations between teachers and students, with vio-
lators subject to disciplinary action. The guidelines also require 
teachers who know of a sexual relationship between another teacher 
and a student to report the issue to a principal or higher education 
authorities. However, the report makes additional recommendations for 
the South African government, schools and nongovernmental organiza-
tions that wish to help fight sexual abuse among girls. The recommen-
dations call for the South African government to establish a National 
Plan of Action on Sexual Violence and Harassment in Schools. This 
plan would include guidelines for schools detailing the "appropriate 
response" to allegations of violence or harassment by students; would 
outline the "[a]ppropriate procedures" for handling teachers or stu-
dents convicted of sexual violence; would fund counseling and medical 
services for victims of sexual violence; and would establish a system 
for "hold[ing] schools accountable for failure to adequately respond 
to allegations of sexual violence." In addition, the report urges 
provincial departments of education and health to make efforts to 
educate pupils and teachers about HIV/AIDS and to ensure that victims 
of sexual violence receive medical assistance "consistent with the 
prevailing best practice on post HIV/AIDS exposure prophylaxis." 
Meanwhile, nongovernmental organizations should continue to provide 
funding for projects that provide "clear, current, accessible and 
culturally appropriate" information on HIV/AIDS ("Scared at School: 
Sexual Violence Against Girls in South African Schools," March 2001). 
To view a copy of the report, go to


International Youth Council Launches Campaign Calling for Increased 
Funding for International Family Planning, HIV/AIDS

The International Youth Leadership Council, a subgroup of Advocates 
for Youth, yesterday kicked off its year-long "My Voice Counts" cam-
paign, which aims to raise student awareness of global reproductive 
health and HIV/AIDS issues. The campaign will feature a petition that 
calls on lawmakers to increase funding for international family plan-
ning and global HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment initiatives. The 
petition specifically urges the "immediate repeal" of the "Mexico 
City policy," the presidential memorandum issued by President Bush 
that bars USAID funding from going to international family planning 
groups that use their own funds to perform or promote abortion. In 
addition, the petition urges President Bush and Congress to "ensure" 
that all HIV/AIDS drugs and future vaccines will be "easily accessi-
ble" to developing nations at "low cost" and "without unreasonable 
restrictions from trade and patent laws." The petition will run in 
more than 30 college newspapers across the country and will be used 
at numerous events on college and university campuses during the com-
ing year. The petition is available online at

Group Gives Bush Failing Marks for Reproductive Record

In conjunction with the launch of the campaign, the International 
Youth Council also released a report card scoring Bush on his "atten-
tion to international family planning and HIV/AIDS." Bush received an 
"F" grade in the area of international family planning, mainly for 
his reinstatement of the Mexico City policy. "In President Bush's 
first 68 days in office, he has already moved our country back 12 
years by reinstating the 'global gag rule,'" council member Naina 
Dhingra said. In addition, Bush received a "D-" for his efforts to 
combat global HIV/AIDS. Dhingra said that while the council is "glad" 
that Bush has maintained President Clinton's executive order that ex-
cludes sub-Saharan African countries from U.S. trade and patent laws 
concerning HIV/AIDS pharmaceuticals and medical technologies, members 
feel that he has "failed to articulate a clear and concise policy" on 
how his administration plans to fight the epidemic. Dhingra added, 
"His inaction on this important issue shows that he is out of touch 
with the world. And, equally important, his inaction shows that he is 
willing to sacrifice the world's greatest resource -- its youth." 
Bush received lower scores than former President Clinton, who re-
ceived a "B" for his international family planning record and a "B+" 
for his efforts at stopping HIV/AIDS. Next year, the council will re-
grade the Bush administration and evaluate the 107th Congress on its 
efforts (Advocates for Youth release, 3/28). The report card can be 
viewed at

Cecilia Snyder

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