News Articles

Here is a selection of news articles about the Stephen Lewis Foundation and the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

To browse older articles, click on a month from the list on the right.

Click here to browse selected speeches by Stephen Lewis.

Imagine Canada Standards Program

September 08, 2015

Staff, Stephen Lewis Foundation

The Stephen Lewis Foundation believes that transparency and accountability are essential. With this in mind, we are proud to announce that we are newly accredited under Imagine Canada’s National Standards Program.
Through rigorous peer-review, the Standards Program awards accreditation to charities and nonprofits that demonstrate excellence across 73 standards in the areas of board governance, financial accountability and transparency, fundraising, staff management, and volunteer involvement. With this new achievement, we join a community of 150 Canadian organizations, committed to operational excellence, accountability, and trust.
Click here to learn more about the Standards Program. 
Prior to its new designation under Imagine Canada’s Standards Program, the Foundation had been a member of Imagine Canada’s Ethical Code Program since 2011. 

The future of AIDS is up to us

For the first time since the AIDS crisis began, whether the disease thrives or is eradicated depends entirely on what we do next.

July 28, 2015

Ilana Landsberg-Lewis & Lee Waldorf, The Toronto Star

Win or lose? This is the question posed by a series of reports on the state of the global AIDS epidemic — reports that were released just in time for an international meeting of the world leaders to discuss financing for development.
These reports — produced by UNAIDS, in collaboration with a Lancet Commission and the Kaiser Family Foundation — present us with two dramatically different scenarios for the future.
In the first scenario (in a 15-year retrospective published by UNAIDS), the battle against AIDS will soon be won. The rates of death and infection — there are currently 2 million new infections and 1.2 million deaths from AIDS each year — will have been reduced to the point that AIDS can safely be considered to be under control and on its way out, no longer presenting a global health emergency. This is the promise held out by the targets UNAIDS has set for 2030 in its landmark publication, How AIDS Changed Everything.
The second foretelling warns of an ominous resurgence of the disease, bringing more infections, death, social devastation, and escalating costs. This is the danger to which another recent report by the UNAIDS-Lancet Commission on Defeating AIDS strongly and clearly alerts us.
Meanwhile, a third UNAIDS report published jointly with the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals that international government financing for HIV and AIDS is at a standstill. It has flat-lined at approximately US$8.6 billion per year from donor governments (together, the most affected countries are contributing in excess of $10 billion) and, even more troubling, there are signs that some governments — such as Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Sweden and the European Commission — may be starting to pull back. Not a trend that bodes well. It risks sending the HIV and AIDS epidemic directly to scenario two.
The world is at a crossroads. The most important message in the deluge of information tabled in recent weeks is that we have arrived at a moment of choice, and that the next five years will be absolutely crucial. Now, in 2015, what governments do as a matter of political will and human decision will shape the future of AIDS.
This was not at all the case in 2005, or even 2010, when the crisis was enormous, the need was overwhelming, but there was no guarantee of success. In 30 years we’ve lost 39 million men, women and children to AIDS globally. Communities have rallied, African governments have joined the struggle, and the international community is now making a concerted effort to make significantly more drugs for HIV and AIDS available. The moment has arrived. We will either chart a course to bring about the end of AIDS in Africa, or, for the lack of adequate funding, watch as the epidemic regains its stranglehold.
The UNAIDS-Lancet Commission has produced a cogent and compelling analysis of what that path must look like. Yes, there’s no doubt that funding must increase. But the commission’s report also makes it very clear that in addition, there must be a critical shift in how this money is being used.
For instance, donors have to expand their horizons beyond the technical matters of drug delivery, and start paying more attention to what it takes for people to avoid infection in the first place, and to actually stay on the medication. More support has to go to efforts at the grassroots level to help people bring their own communities back to life and to health.
Above all, it’s time to powerfully respond to the fact that gender inequality is at the heart of the epidemic. African women and girls are by far the most affected population. And while the global death rate from AIDS has gone down over the past 10 years, it has increased by 50 per cent for adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, where girls are up to five times more likely to be infected than boys their own age.
In many of its recent comments, UNAIDS has understandably — or at least predictably — been stressing an optimistic view and the opportunity that lies before us. But we shouldn’t be distracted by the easy comfort offered up by public relations messaging. Make no mistake, the end of the HIV and AIDS epidemic is not set to arrive on its own speed. Everything will depend on the decisions made in the next five years about the level and allocation of funding for the HIV and AIDS response.
For the first time in the history of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, fate is truly and utterly in our own hands. Millions of lives are at stake. Let that truth drive us forward.
Ilana Landsberg-Lewis is executive director and Lee Waldorf policy director at the Stephen Lewis Foundation. 

Stephen Lewis Foundation partners with TD Bank and Aeroplan in celebration of Pride

TD Bank generously donates Aeroplan miles to three charitable organizations during Pride Toronto

June 19, 2015

Staff, The Stephen Lewis Foundation

The Stephen Lewis Foundation was honoured to be selected as one of three charities to partner with Aeroplan Beyond Miles and TD Bank in celebration of Pride Toronto
Together with Egale Canada Human Rights Trust and Rainbow Railroad, the Stephen Lewis Foundation will receive one Aeroplan mile for every $1 dollar spent on a TD Aeroplan Credit Card in Toronto during Pride Week (June 19 – June 28, 2014). This generous support is a great boon to our work supporting grassroots organizations turning the tide of HIV & AIDS in Africa. 
Click here to read more about this partnership. 

'Ask Her' gives African women platform to share world views

Theo Sowa speaks with Canada AM about the Ask Her Talks

May 27, 2015

Canada AM , CTV News

When the latest ebola crisis hit West Africa, women were the first responders. They've been at the centre of the HIV&AIDS crisis, and on the frontlines helping victims of violence and sexual assault. And yet, when governments and NGOs look for solutions, their voices are rarely heard. Theo Sowa has made it her life's mission to change that. She's a women's rights activist and CEO of the African Women's Development Fund. She's also one of five remarkable women taking part in the Stephen Lewis Foundation's Ask Her Talks... 

Ask Her Talks giving African women a voice

A series of speeches at McGill University Monday night on the roles African women play in the face of crisis on their continent offered first-hand perspectives from people who are making change despite facing violence, illness and the tragedies that accompany both on a daily basis.

May 25, 2015

Staff, Montreal Gazette

The series, called the Ask Her Talks, was presented by the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which works with groups who treat people with HIV/AIDS in Africa. The theme of the series is to highlight the insights and opinions of women who are on the front lines dealing with problems like AIDS, the recent Ebola epidemic and the devastating impact of violence in countries like Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Despite being the front-liners who consistently help the victims of disease, sexual assault, domestic violence and children being recruited into wars, women’s voices are little heard when governments or many aid organizations seek solutions. The foundation’s series, which will continue in other Canadian cities, seeks to change that.
Theo Sowa, chief executive officer of the African Women’s Development Fund based in Ghana, was the last of five women to speak Monday night and said important decisions on Africa’s problems “are being made based on false impressions” and that the “current narratives” portray African women as helpless victims.
"African women are not victims. African women can look after their own children," she said, adding that the first people to respond to the Ebola epidemic were women in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea who operated with very little funds.
When aid organizations finally eventually came to realize this, Sowa said, funds from foreign aid organizations have since been directed elsewhere.
"Women everywhere are so often expected to provide unpaid services," Sowa said while singling out the Carnegie Foundation in the U.S. for its decision to go in a different direction by donating money directly to community groups in the parts of Africa that were affected by the outbreak of Ebola. She said that decision worked because instead of the donation being charity, it helped those communities pull together while facing a crisis.
The Ask Her Talks series is sponsored by the CIBC and will continue in Toronto, at the University of Toronto, on May 27, and Ottawa, at Carleton University, on May 28. The talks are hosted by Jackie Richardson, a Toronto-based jazz, blues and gospel singer.
While introducing the speakers, Richardson asked the people in attendance to not forget that when things get tough, "it’s the women who step up."
"Let’s remember, for every woman who speaks here tonight there are thousands who are also making the change in Africa," Richardson said.


Imagine Canada Standards Program September 8, 2015

Staff, Stephen Lewis Foundation

The future of AIDS is up to us July 28, 2015

Ilana Landsberg-Lewis & Lee Waldorf, The Toronto Star

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