From 5–7 November Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess visited the capital of Nicaragua, Managua, as UNAIDS Ambassador. The Crown Princess participated in a pre-conference for people living with HIV and AIDS and met with local organisations working to combat HIV and AIDS.
On Monday, 5 November, Crown Princess Mette-Marit opened the 5th Central American Meeting of People Living with HIV/AIDS, and participated in the following sessions:
- Universal Access – Is Central America reaching the goals?
- Women who live with HIV in Central America and the community approach in the defence of sexual and reproductive rights (roundtable)
The Crown Princess also met with leaders of ASONVIHSIDA. The organisation plays an important role in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Nicaragua, with a strong focus on safeguarding the rights of and improving the quality of life for people living with HIV and AIDS.
In the afternoon the Crown Princess paid a visit to a project run by the Xochiquetzal Foundation, an organisation that works on behalf of people living with HIV and AIDS. Since its founding in 1990 the Xochiquetzal Foundation has carried out a number of projects throughout Nicaragua, and has gained broad insight into the challenges facing people living with HIV and AIDS.
On Tuesday, 6 November, the Crown Princess began her day by meeting with local representatives from Norwegian Church Aid, Save the Children, Plan and Socorro. These organisations are all involved in HIV/AIDS-related projects in Nicaragua, and presented Crown Princess Mette-Marit with an overview of their activities.
In the afternoon the Crown Princess and Dr Peter Piot met with President Daniel Ortega and First Lady Rosario Murillo.
Visit to SI Mujer
SI Mujer is an alternative women’s centre that promotes the rights of women and young people, and addresses issues of access to health services and non-discriminatory education.
In addition to learning about the centre’s activities, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Executive Director of UNAIDS Peter Piot were treated to a folk dance performance and a theatre piece dealing with various HIV and AIDS-related myths and taboos. Fear of infection through normal physical contact with people with HIV/AIDS is one of the myths the centre is eager to dispel, which was evident in the performance attended by the Crown Princess and Dr Piot.
On Tuesday evening the Crown Princess participated in the closing session of the 5th Central American Meeting of People Living with HIV/AIDS and the opening ceremony of CONCASIDA.
CONCASIDA was officially opened on the same evening as the conclusion of the pre-conference. The theme of the conference was: “Our Response: Equity, Diversity and No Discrimination”.
Wednesday, 7 November, was the last day of the Crown Princess’s stay in Nicaragua. The Crown Princess participated at CONCASIDA and met with women leaders before departing for home on Wednesday afternoon.
Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Out of a population of 5.6 million, 48 % live on less than two dollars a day. 7,300 individuals are registered as HIV positive. This number has been climbing since the late 1990s. Norway has supported AIDS-related projects in Nicaragua since 1995.