Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC) is a coalition of community leaders and non-governmental agencies providing services directly to and on behalf of Caribbean populations who are especially vulnerable to HIV infection or often forgotten in access to treatment and healthcare programmes. These groups include men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs, orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV, migrant populations, ex-prisoners, and youth in especially difficult circumstances. We currently have about ninety members from across the Caribbean, and work in, Antigua, Belize, Bahamas, Dominica, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Curaçao, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent, French Caribbean and Suriname.
Participants at the Boca-Chica Sex Work consultation
Emerging from a meeting in Jamaica of civil society organisations and activists from around the Caribbean in December, 2004, CVC seeks to:
Generate an enabling environment to support human rights and improve the quality of life of vulnerable populations
Advocate for and facilitate the development of infrastructure to support culturally and contextually appropriate and accessible HIV management for vulnerable populations
Develop and support culturally appropriate prevention programmes and models geared towards vulnerable populations
Establish strategic partnership built on trust
Monitoring and evaluate the impact of the project on vulnerable populations
The communities of concern to CVC are characterized by social subordination and their inability to effectively challenge this status or the hostile stereotyping to which they are generally subjected. They also lack social protection and are often socially excluded because their behaviour may be deemed delinquent, deviant or criminal. Furthermore, the extent and efficacy of their struggle against HIV and AIDS is constrained by the fundamental character of the economic, social, cultural and political systems within which they live. Our work on the ground makes it clear that gender, youth, poverty and language differences exacerbate the vulnerabilities of some groups.
While we realise that the majority of those with whom we work will remain underground, invisible and without a voice, we are committed to promoting leadership among them and, where possible, will work to strengthen their capacity to act on their own behalf.