Harley Henriques do Nascimento

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 1998
GAPA-Bahia: Grupo de Apoio a Prevencao a AIDS


This profile was prepared when Harley Henriques do Nascimento was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Harley Henriques do Nascimento perceived early on that the AIDS epidemic was going to spread in poor, illiterate villages and neighborhoods, and he knew that prevention was urgent. He founded a community-based nonprofit group to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and minimize its effects on low-income and under-educated populations in Bahia. In areas where the epidemic is skyrocketing – and in a region that has never had an effective citizen sector – his group collaborates with existing organizations which do not specifically target AIDS but works with various segments of the community: the poor, the illiterate, women, bisexuals, youth, and rural inhabitants. Thus, he is addressing the twin challenges of AIDS and poverty. His organization provides direct care for people with HIV/AIDS, influences regional public policy, and works to eradicate human rights abuses and discrimination against people with AIDS through education campaigns.
Harley has initiated a challenging array of AIDS prevention programs, including providing information where it has been scarce. His strategy, which incorporates all community members, also encourages behavioral change. For instance, Harley knows that teaching only women how to prevent the spread of AIDS will be ineffective if their male partners, many of whom are bisexual and have multiple sexual partners, are not educated as well. Harley maintains a direct link with the population he serves by identifying and training health agents and a network of well-managed volunteers whose diversity reflects the population of the communities where they work. His team of psychologists, psychotherapists, and pro bono lawyers provide support to these community agents and volunteers. It is precisely the diversity of his staff and of the populations he targets that accounts for his success. Harley's AIDS awareness campaigns have received national awards and the Brazilian Ministry of Health is documenting his volunteer recruitment strategies in a manual to be distributed across the country.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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