Together with the communities we serve, GAIA develops innovative and caring healthcare programs in resource-deprived regions in Africa, especially those most affected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
To ensure the broadest possible impact, we rigorously test our initiatives and promote the replication of successful models.
Empowering women in rural areas.
Promoting prevention in rural communities.
Expanding access to care, treatment, and support in hard-to-reach communities.
Empowering communities to find solutions
Partnering with likeminded organizations to achieve our goals.
The History of GAIA: A Grassroots Strategy to Reach Underserved Villages
The Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) is a secular nonprofit that delivers innovative healthcare programs in resource-deprived regions in Africa, especially those most affected by HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. GAIA’s programs seek to empower girls and women, emphasize prevention, and expand access. While completely secular, our name recalls an early grassroots approach, incorporating leaders of all faiths as important community influencers and messengers on health topics. The grassroots legacy continues today, as GAIA’s programs are developed in-country based on the local context and focused on strengthening systems and developing capacity as a means to real and sustainable change.
GAIA was founded in 2000 by Dr. William Rankin, former Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA, and Dr. Charles Wilson, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Neurological Surgery, UCSF, in response to the devastating HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Rankin served as GAIA’s first President and CEO and Wilson as President of the Board of Trustees. In 2011, Dr. Rankin retired, and Todd Schafer, MA was chosen as his successor. GAIA’s founding Country Director, Jones Laviwa, MA, a Malawian development professional, was succeeded in 2015 by Joyce Jere, RN, MPH, a Malawian nurse with vast experience in both clinical work and administration. With Joyce at the helm, the Malawi staff has grown to a team of 64, with two-thirds of those being women.