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Tulane University

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy


The aim of this research was to understand what the ideal partnership would be between United States (US) governmental aid agencies and South African non-governmental organizations (NGOs), specifically concerning HIV/AIDS programs funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), from the perspective of NGOs. PEPFAR is the largest relief fund for a single disease; thus, I additionally sought to deeply reflect upon myself as a US citizen in South Africa, a country that has received trillions of dollars from taxpayers such as myself.

To accomplish this, I interviewed NGO staff about the nature of current partnerships, outcomes of US involvement in PEPFAR-funded projects, and the responsibilities of the US in international health. Using autoethnography, I incorporated personal experiences and journal entries alongside the views of my informants; this ultimately allowed me to bring humanity back to PEPFAR and share the journey of my relationship with the US and with developmental aid.

The findings are separated into three themes that I found as central to this topic: the structure of developmental aid and PEPFAR, the balance of power between NGOs and PEPFAR, and the nature of America’s involvement in global health. Overall, this project sheds light on the complexities of developmental aid, PEPFAR’s growing potential, and the role each of us can play in achieving better outcomes in PEPFAR-funded nations.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Health Policy | Immune System Diseases | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Medicine and Health | Politics and Social Change | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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