Purple Sky Network Moves Toward Independence
October 2011 - The Purple Sky Network, established in 2006, is a platform for organizations dedicated to uniting and supporting local efforts to address HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people (TG) in the Greater Mekong Subregion in Southeast Asia. Comprised of six technical working groups representing Cambodia, China's Guangxi and Yunnan provinces, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, the Purple Sky Network (PSN) strengthens partnerships between government agencies, community organizations, and international nongovernmental organizations while building local capacity and identifying opportunities for advocacy.
PSN Governing Board members
TREAT Asia has acted as the secretariat of the PSN since 2008, providing its physical home as well as management oversight and technical support. During a May meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, members of the PSN Governing Board concluded that after five years of operation, the network was ready to take the next step in its growth.
"The PSN's vision, in its new strategic plan for 2010-2014 and since its inception, has been to become an independent organization one day," explained Midnight Poonkasetwatana, current Interim Coordinator of the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM) and former PSN Coordinator at TREAT Asia. Ultimately, the PSN hopes to serve as a key voice of MSM and TG communities in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Its ambitious goals for the future include building alliances with policymakers, promoting social justice for MSM and TG, and equipping PSN members with the skills necessary to implement effective and context-specific HIV interventions.
"PSN will advocate for policy change and resource mobilization for comprehensive HIV/AIDS and sexual health programs in the region and represent a strong collective voice from the community," said Kyaw Myint, Co-chair of the PSN Governing Board. "Moreover, PSN will be a main body for capacity building and strengthening information flow between communities in each country and other governments and agencies working on MSM and TG issues."
As the PSN takes steps toward this goal, it will be assisted by several organizations including APCOM, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations, the Coalition of Asia-Pacific Regional Networks on HIV/AIDS (7 Sisters), FHI 360, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.