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Ashodaya Samithi bags grant in South Asia Region Development Marketplace, World Bank, 2008

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Dear All

Development Marketplace (DM) is a competitive grant program administered by the

World Bank and supported by various partners that identifies and funds

innovative, small-scale development projects with high potential for expansion

can be replicated and would have development impact.

This year (2008), the theme for the South Asia Region Development Marketplace

was “Tackling HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination: From insights to actionâ€.

The countries from which organizations applied for the grant were Afghanistan,

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Ashodaya Samithi, an organization of female, male and transgender sex workers,

in Karnataka submitted their proposal titled, “Addressing Stigma and

discrimination towards HIV+ Sex Workers and Sex Workers in General through

Entrepreneurship.†Out of the 1000 proposals received by the World Bank from

the seven countries, a panel of experts short listed 75 finalists and Ashodaya

Samithi was one among them. The finalists were invited to Mumbai to set up a

stall, exhibit and explain their proposal to a team of jurors and convince them

about their proposal.

Ms. Bagyalakshmi, a sex worker and the present Secretary, Ashodaya Samithi,

represented the organization and explained their proposal in detail to the

jurors. Not only that she also defended the proposal and convinced the jurors on

the innovativeness, replication and sustainability. Thus, Ashodaya Samithi

became one of the winners and qualified to receive the grant from the World


Ms. Bagyalakshmi, Secretary, received the certificate on behalf of Ashodaya

Samithi from Ms. Shabana Azmi, actor and ambassador for UNICEF in India who gave

away the certificates to the winners in a glittering function at the Trident

Hotel, Mumbai on the 15th of May 2008.

Those present on the occasion included Mr. Praful Patel, Vice-President World

Bank South Asia Region, Ms. Sujatha Rao DG NACO, Mr. Toole UNICEF

Regional Director for South Asia, Mr. Denis Broun UNAIDS Country Coordinator for

India, Ms. Debrework Zewdie Director World Bank Global HIV/AIDS Program, and Mr.

UNODC Representative for South Asia. The initiative is supported and

partnered by the Government of Norway, UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNODC, UNDP, The Global

Fund To Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and of course, the World Bank.

We believe, this would not have been possible without your constant

encouragement and Ashodaya Samithi looks forward to your continuing support. We

take this opportunity to thank you all, who believe in the inherent capacity of

the marginalized communities.

Thank you

In solidarity

Ashodaya Samithi

Mysore, Karnataka

Sreeram Varadadesikan

e-mail: <setlurs01@...>

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