ICW Representation
ICW Representation at Your Meetings
To all policy-makers, donors, international networking organisations and supporters

Background
The International Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS (ICW) is the only global network run by and for HIV positive women. With over 7,000 members in over 120 countries spread across 6 continents, and with English, French and Spanish as our 3 main working languages, we are uniquely placed to represent the views of a large, active and growing network of HIV positive women and girls with a rich and diverse range of experiences of what it means to be HIV positive.

Our plans
ICW has recently set up a scheme of official representation, whereby each and every one of our members who attends a meeting as ICWâs representative has signed an agreement with ICW, both to represent our membersâ diverse interests and to feed back to our membership their account of what took place at the meeting. In return for these responsibilities, ICW as an organisation is endeavouring to ensure that each of our official representatives is adequately briefed by our staff and other members, in advance of the meeting, about the issues which the meeting will address.
We are aiming to build up a large group of official representatives, all of them HIV positive, who come from 6 continents and who reflect our membership in their breadth of ages, languages spoken, backgrounds, experiences and professional areas of expertise.
In this way, we aim to develop a body of expertise within our membership and an institutional memory across our network, which should both enhance our contribution to inter-organisational debate and should also enhance our own understanding of the wider social, economic, political and legal issues which affect the lives of all of us living with HIV.

Our request to you
The principle of involving networks and organisations of people with disabilities, in the struggle to promote the rights of people with disabilities, and in relation to all issues concerning disability, was established over 20 years ago in the 1982 UN Declaration of the World Programme of Action. This point was repeated in the Section IV.1 of the principle document of 1994, with specific regard to HIV positive people and our organisations. We would therefore like to request you and your organisation to support our principle of official ICW representation, by endeavouring to invite ICW to send an official representative or representatives to the meetings which you organise and by offering to pay for her - or their - travel and accommodation costs. If you wish also to include other HIV positive women in your meeting, who are not ICW official representatives, that is, of course, your prerogative. But this means that ICW will not necessarily be able to contribute to or learn from your deliberations through this individual.

Logistics
Most of our representatives commit themselves to work for ICW on a voluntary basis and often have to take time off from their own work to do this. This means that at times we may not be able to provide a representative at the time and place required. We would also therefore like to request that you give us as much advance notice as possible of meeting times, dates and locations, so that we may do our best to plan ahead and allocate our representatives time efficiently. Ideally, we would be glad to be consulted about a range of possible meeting times, before they are fixed, in order to maximise our ability to take part. Advance planning also gives us time to develop a mentoring system amongst our own membership, so that if one representative is not available, another may be briefed in her place to take part in your meeting.
Advance planning is also important, in order that the representative concerned has adequate time to request leave of absence from her normal place of work, and in order to ensure that the required background papers, visas, tickets, inoculations and other travel arrangements are ready in time for her departure.

Unfortunately, several recent experiences with various organisations around the world have shown us that ICW tends to get asked to take part in meetings at the last minute, causing much anxiety, and stress, as well as unnecessary time and expense to our representatives. Such experiences can often be especially damaging to our members health and we ask therefore particularly that you take these considerations into account when making your arrangements.

Contact information
Should you wish to invite an ICW representative to attend your meeting, kindly contact either Beri or Carmen (email: [email protected] or [email protected]) or the International Steering Committee member for the region of the world in which you work, a list of whom is available on our website.
We look forward to your support of this request and welcome any comments or queries which you may have about this, or about ICW's work in general.

Thank you.


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