In 2003, Siaap facilitated sangams (community-owned-and-managed organizations Siaap supports) to set up Community Voluntary Counselling Centers (CVCC). This was made possible through providing training to community counselors who were selected from among sangam members. Our work with communities strengthened our conviction that community members made good counsellors because of their life experience and open attitude. It was also felt that they would be able to provide quality services to their communities at their doorstep.
Early diagnosis will be possible through CVCCs as vulnerable communities hesitate to access public health services. It also helps shortcut these communities to care (ART) as strong referral links exist with the public health facilities. As of now, there are 9 functional COMO CVCCs in place catering to their communities as well as the general populations. In most cases owing to the credibility of the sangams, the panchayats have come forward to offer space for counselling. Community counselors have shown tremendous initiative by offering these services on a voluntary basis.