Group Awarded AIDS Grant Despite Negative Appraisal

Excerpts from the Washington Post:

The Bush administration’s global AIDS program last fall awarded a grant
to promote abstinence in African youth to a politically connected
Washington advocacy group, even though the expert committee reviewing
requests for government money judged the request “not suitable for
funding.”

Waxman is seeking details of the Children’s AIDS Fund’s grant
application, why expert reviewers rejected it and why the decision was
overruled by Andrew S. Natsios, USAID’s head.The Children’s AIDS Fund, which has an office in Sterling and a post
office box in Washington, is an 18-year-old AIDS service organization
that has become a leading proponent of abstinence-based AIDS prevention.

The organization is headed by Anita M. Smith, a writer and researcher
whose views on strategies for reducing risky behavior by teenagers were
promoted by President Bush during his tenure as Texas governor. In
2002, she was named to the President’s Advisory Council on HIV and
AIDS, and last December was appointed co-chairman.

Natsios recommended approving the grant anyway because it offered
unique access to Janet Museveni, the wife of Uganda’s president, Yoweri
K. Museveni.

The amount of money the 11 other groups will get has also not been
decided. A USAID official said that averaging the $100 million among
the 11 “is not misleading.” That would mean each would get about $9
million. The official said the Children’s AIDS Fund’s award is likely
to be comparable to the others’.

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