Network of Regions
As an international network of women living with HIV, scattered across the world, we do our work in different spheres of influence and diverse contexts:
- At a global level, building our movement, leading advocacy campaigns and ensuring that our issues are prioritized in the campaigns and work of others.
- At a regional and national level, building local movements of women living with HIV that respond to regional and national concerns and contexts. These issues inform our global agenda.
- In partnership with organizations of people living with HIV, women’s organizations, feminist organizations and with organizations in the reproductive justice movements and the human rights movement.
The regions of ICW work collectively to advocate and provide support for the work of the regional networks and our membership; all of whom are women living with HIV from around the globe.
We are a network of individual women living with HIV, but we have a shared, collective agenda and work collaboratively at the local, national, regional and global levels. ICW members lead our national and regional chapters and they do the important work on the ground in local communities. Each region builds on the work rising out of the local and national context to address concerns at a regional level.
Each region is responsible for electing representatives that will sit on the ICW International Steering Committee. These women play the role of bringing the regional and national voices of the membership to the global sphere. Each sphere of advocacy is equally important and advocacy efforts at the local and national level inform and define the issues prioritized at the regional and global level.
The ISC, the regional coordinators and staff, as well as ICW members who have taken on leadership roles work to mobilize and inspire other women to become visible in their communities, overcome fears and defend their rights. ICW leadership represent ICW’s viewpoint and concerns in the central decision making bodies present in the main decision making venues in the context of HIV and gender equality, ensuring that women living with HIV are involved in the formulation of policies and programs that affect us directly.
In March 2014 ICW’s Global Office moved to Nairobi, Kenya from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The ICW Global Office consists of a small team of women who are committed to implementing the political decisions of the ISC. They are responsible for supporting the ISC and to work at the global level to push ICW Global Advocacy Agenda.
ICW is a global partnership of independent regions aligned under a global mission. ICW’s regional networks are politically, operationally and financially autonomous with each setting its advocacy agenda in response to the specific context in which they operate. Each region operates in a different context, and organizational structure and with differing levels of staffing. However, ICW’s regions strategize collectively and work in concert. Some regions such as East Africa, Southern Africa, Western Africa, Asian Pacific (WAP+), and Latin America (ICW Latina) having functioning Boards and paid staff. Other regions such as, North America, Middle East and North Africa, the Caribbean, Central Africa and Europe and Central Asia have limited or no funding for paid staff to carry out programs and coordinate the regional networks. In many cases they are guided by working groups and other alternatives to Boards. In some cases they have volunteer coordinators that assist in the activities of the region. All regions are guided by their membership and they have the opportunity to bring their voices to the global level through the ISC.
Sita Shahi (ICW AP)
Sita Shahi has worked as a community social worker since 2005. She began her career as a volunteer at Sneha Samaj, a community based women-led organization focused on treatment and care support for women living with HIV. After which, Sita joined the organization Sahara Plus as a community home based care (CHBC) facilitator working for women and girls living with HIV.
In 2007, Sita founded an organization for and by women living with HIV in Nepal called Srijansil Mahila Samuha (SMS), based in Kathmandu Valley. SMS also had a branch office in Kapilvastu district where Sita served as President for 6 years. In 2009, Sita was nominated to be the treasurer of National Federation of Women Living with HIV (NFWLHA) and eventually joined the staff. Sita has held many different staff positions at NFWLHA including program manager, fundraising and technical support manager, and eventually rose to the position of Executive Director.
Sita’s public service includes her work as a Senior Advisor for Srijansil Mahila Samuha where she was responsible for advising, mentoring and providing guidance to new women leaders. After 2 years as a Senior Advisor, women living with HIV again nominated her for the position of President from July of 2015. Sita most recently served the International Community of Women Living with HIV – Asia Pacific, as a board member and was elected by ICW Asia Pacific to serve on the ICW International Steering Committee.
Sita believes education is very important for women in order to empower themselves, and is currently completing her Bachelor’s degree in Social Science.