As an inter-faith network of religious leaders living with or affected by HIV, INERELA+ seeks to empower religious leaders through education, knowledge and skills to live positively, becoming symbols of hope and agents of change who will help eliminate stigma and discrimination within their congregations and communities.
Enhancing the transformational capacity of religious leaders in HIV-related interventions is central to the work of INERELA+. Religious leaders have the potential to be agents of change in their interpersonal relationships, their congregations, and their communities. Drawing on their religious and personal resources, they can teach and demonstrate resilience, inclusiveness, non-judgmental compassion, and positive living for people living with or affected by HIV & Aids. A first step in INERELA+’s capacity-building work with religious leaders is to share information and skills to facilitate open discussion and equip them to promote HTS in their congregations.
INERELA+ has developed a holistic approach to address HIV &AIDS which includes sexual practices; access to services; Voluntary Counselling and Testing; and empowerment (SAVE). The comprehensive toolkit systematically tackles the issues of stigma, shame, denial, discrimination, inaction and misaction (SSDDIM) around HIV & AIDS. The toolkit is now available in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Malagasy and Mandarin. The toolkit contributes towards the enhancement of competencies of religious leaders to address HIV, Gender and Sex and Sexuality in the context of their faith at the levels of self, congregation and community.
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
INERELA+ promotes sexual and reproductive health with a right supported by knowledge, skills and the ability to make responsible, positive, informed and safe sexual choices. The SAVE Toolkit includes chapters on sex, sexuality and gender which is inclusive of sexual diversity.
Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Information (CSE&I)
Faith communities supported by INERELA+ networks implement CSE&I at congregational and community levels. The program is targeted at children of 5 – 18 years age group and focuses on teenage pregnancies including contraceptives and forced sterilization of women and girls living with HIV and AIDS.
Gender based violence (GBV)
INERELA+ encourages all members to openly combat discrimination against women and girls in the form of GBV translated as physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic violence.
Sexual Diversity (LGBTIQ)
The goal of this project is to engage heterosexist religious orthodoxy and practices and challenge religious institutions, through theology from different faiths, to be more accepting of sexual diversity. To achieve this, INERELA+ convenes consultative dialogues between religious leaders and sexual minorities in open and constructive spaces at national and regional levels. This enables them to be advocates for SRHR of all key populations.
In order to inform and facilitate dialogues, INERELA+ conducts surveys of stigma and discrimination experienced by PLHIV and LGBTI from faith communities. This survey is a methodology adopted from Stigma Index developed by GNP+ in consultation with INERELA+.
This project ensures that men and boys are included in HIV related prevention, treatment, care and support programs implemented at the congregational and community levels.