India HIV/AIDS Alliance’s Board of Directors has selected Sonal Mehta as the organisation’s next Chief Executive, succeeding James Robertson who has served in the role since 2010. With almost three decades of experience in HIV, sexual health and development, Mehta has been Alliance India’s Director of Policy & Programmes since 2007. A passionate and effective leader, she has played a key role in the organisation’s expansion, developing and implementing innovative programme models that have achieved unprecedented impact at national scale through strong collaborations with a range of stakeholders, including affected communities, government, and donors.
In addition to her many leadership contributions to Alliance India, Mehta has had extensive involvement in the country’s civil society and government sectors, including earlier stints with SEWA, CHETNA, Gujarat State AIDS Control Society, NACO, and DFID, as well as overseas with the Pacific Institute of Women’s Health in Los Angeles, USA. She is especially skilled at conceptualising programme models that empower communities and produce results. Sonal has a Masters degree from the Faculty of Social Work, Vadodara, Gujarat, and is currently completing her International Masters in Practicing Management at Lancaster University (UK).
“After a global search, the Board found our strongest candidate within Alliance India itself,” said Prasada Rao, Board Chair and United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia-Pacific. “It was a unanimous choice, and we are thrilled to have Sonal continue the tradition of strong leadership under which the organisation has thrived.”
“Sonal has been a leader not just within Alliance India but in the HIV movement across India and the world. Her commitment to the cause is profound, and she has been a tireless advocate for key populations and people living with HIV,” added Robertson. “She is an experienced manager, a canny networker, a creative thinker, and a generous mentor to her colleagues. I am truly delighted that Sonal will lead Alliance India into its next phase of growth and impact.”
“I am humbled by the confidence of the Board and inspired by the support of my colleagues,” said Mehta. “I’m particularly grateful to James for his leadership and friendship over the past six years. He has left an indelible mark on Alliance India and leaves a vibrant organisation with a substantial record of collaboration and achievement in meeting the challenge of our country’s epidemic.”
Mehta will take up her new duties on October 1st, immediately after Robertson steps down at the end of September. A search for Mehta’s successor as Director of Policy & Programmes is underway.
Founded in 1999, India HIV/AIDS Alliance is a non-governmental organisation incorporated as a Section 8 Company (not-for-profit) and fully governed in India. Alliance India operates in partnership with civil society, government and communities to support sustained responses to HIV in India that protect rights and improve health. Complementing the Indian national programme, we build capacity, provide technical support and advocate to strengthen the delivery of effective, innovative, community-based HIV programmes to vulnerable populations affected by the epidemic. Alliance India currently implements the Global Fund-supported Vihaan programme, which provides care & support services for over one million people living with HIV at more than 360 centres across India. The organisation’s accomplished HIV prevention efforts focus on key populations and are presently funded by grants from CDC/PEPFAR, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Government of the Netherlands, and MAC AIDS Fund. Other funding for Alliance India’s work has been provided by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, European Union, and USAID/PEPFAR
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