Cambodia was a post-conflict country in which infrastructure and people were still recovering from genocide, mass emigration and political instability.
It was into this environment that the UK-based International HIV/AIDS Alliance (the Alliance) came to Cambodia with the intention of developing a comprehensive community-based response to HIV.
The pilot project
A pilot project called the Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO Alliance (or KHANA for short) was set up in 1996, to operate out of the office of Pact Cambodia with technical assistance from the Alliance.
At first, the project had four local staff with management and financial support from Pact. The pilot project was able to start quickly and train and support eight local NGOs to carry out community HIV prevention and care projects.
From the beginning, KHANA’s mandate was to work in a supporting role through a strong network of community-based implementing partners (IPs) connected to the communities they served.
KHANA also began working more closely with the government through the home-based care program. KHANA continued to work alongside government bodies, creating a bridge with civil society, advocating on rights-based issues, adding input on strategy development, linking to national plans and priorities, and supporting ongoing policy dialogue.
KHANA found success through its ability to adapt, innovate, commit, and build strong partnerships.
This was further enhanced by continuous structural and program development, support of IP and community networks, and through built trust and professionalism.
As such, it became the largest national NGO working in the HIV sector in Cambodia – an honour we still hold to this day.