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Organizational Background

The Southern African Network of AIDS Service Organizations (SANASO) is a Network of NGOs, Faith based organisations FBOs, Community based Organisations (CBOs) and People living with HIV/AIDS (PWAs) involved in HIV/AIDS work in Southern Africa. The Network has been in existence for ten years and its current membership includes NGOs in 10 Southern African countries namely: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was created from recognition of the important role that NGOs, community organizations and people living with HIV/AIDS play in the campaign HIV/AIDS and the need for these groups to better coordinate their efforts. SANASO is a mechanism for facilitating contacts among NGOs so that they are able to learn from each other, better utilize each others’ resources and be able to take a common position of issues in the HIV/AIDS response in the region. SANASO membership has increased to over one thousand organizations in the region registered through National Country Networks in 10 member countries as shown below.

Number of member organizations by Country (1998 - 2002)

COUNTRY Number of member organizations
  1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
ANGOLA 9 16 16 29 33
BOTSWANA 21 27 39 43 45
LESOTHO 25 25 25 25 25
MALAWI 56 56 189 240 300
MOZAMBIQUE 13 100 100 152 152
NAMIBIA 32 32 29 32 50
SOUTH AFRICA ? ? ? ? ?
SWAZILAND 16 17 17 16 20
ZAMBIA 340 254 340 342 346
ZIMBABWE 104 120 145 166 200
TOTAL 514 647 900 1044 1181

SANASO Objectives

SANASO Programme

(i) Network development

Develop and strengthen links among NGOs in Southern Africa so that they are able to cooperate with each other and with National AIDS programmes in order to strengthen their individual and collective efforts in responding to HIV/AIDS.

Strengthen Country NGO AIDS Networks so that they are able to include in their membership as many NGOs as possible and have a base or a Secretariat from which their activities are coordinated.

Database development

SANASO current membership is 1181 organisations excluding South Africa.
SANASO database contains a comprehensive list of NGOs, Faith based organizations, Community based organisations and groups of People living with HIV/AIDS in the region and includes types of activities implemented, expertise available, donors and other supporters.

Project-to-Project Contacts

SANASO Secretariat facilitates contacts between individual projects in different countries in the region and assisting them get in touch with counterparts in other countries as well as identifying sources of funding for exchange visits among projects. SANASO Secretariat does this through Country Networks

(ii) Inter-Country Exchange & Capacity building

Ensure that member organizations have timely access to accurate and relevant HIV/AIDS information and to share experiences and lessons learnt with other organizations in the region.


(iii) Advocacy

Make all relevant authorities in the region aware of the seriousness of HIV/AIDS and urge them to create a supportive environment for the HIV/AIDS response through appropriate legislation, national policies and provision of financial support for NGOs and people living with HIV/AIDS.


(iv) Partnerships

SANASO works in partnerships with strategic alliances including the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) - Health Sector Coordinating Unit, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

SANASO also liaises closely and collaborates with relevant regional and International Agencies in order to advance common interests, explore channels for resource mobilization, obtain technical expertise and achieve better coordination of efforts.

SANASO is a sub-region of the African Council of AIDS Service Organisations (AfriCASO). It works in close collaboration with the Network of African people living with HIV/AIDS (NAP+) and the Society of Women Against AIDS in Africa (SWAA).

It has worked in collaboration with an International NGO, Healthlink Worldwide, in information development efforts which included the circulating a Southern Africa edition of AIDS Action Newsletter and SANASO Information Support Programme; with Action Aid (UK) on Stepping Stones Training of trainers: and with the Treatment Action Campaign (South Africa) and Treatment Action Group (New York, USA) in advocating for equal access to HIV and TB drugs and for provision of affordable Antiretroviral drugs to Africa.

SANASO is currently collaborating with UNDP on mainstreaming Gender and Human Rights for new leadership in Southern Africa Treatment
SANASO is seeking to work with relevant partners in its programme aimed at reducing HIV/AIDS related Stigma and Discrimination in Southern Africa.

SANASO is also in regular contact with other HIV/AIDS Regional Agencies such as the regional AIDS Training Network (RATN), Nairobi, Kenya, the Southern AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SafAIDS), Harare, Zimbabwe, and the Southern Africa AIDS Training (SAT) Programme, Harare, Zimbabwe.


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