Expanded Church Response

Our Story

HIV/AIDS Crisis

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has a short, but devastating history throughout the world, affecting individuals, families, communities, and ultimately entire nations. According to UNAIDS, 34 million people were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2010. With over 67% of those living with HIV residing in sub-Saharan Africa, this region continues to carry the greatest burden of the pandemic. Although significant improvements have been made in HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, and treatment, in the year 2010, another 1.9 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were newly infected and 1.2 million AIDS related deaths occurred. This sweeping pandemic has left 16.6 million children orphaned, with over 90% of those living in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Church and HIV/AIDS: The Call of ECR

Once the scope of the AIDS crisis was realized throughout the world, the Church remained relatively silent. Many of its leaders believed that AIDS was only an issue for those leading a life inconsistent with Christian morality. This initial response led to stigma and silence that only exacerbated the impact of the disease. Zambia was one of the countries hardest hit by HIV/AIDS, with a national prevalence rate of 16.5% in 2003. At the peak of its prevalence, 220 church leaders gathered together in Zambia and decided that it was time for the Church to take collective action to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic, recognizing that the Church is God’s instrument to bring love, justice, mercy, and ultimately complete restoration to the world. Out of this, the Expanded Church Response to HIV/AIDS Trust in Zambia (ECR) was founded in 2003 with a mission to empower and equip the church to have an expanded, comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in every community in Zambia.

Over the years, ECR has implemented a variety of projects to strengthen the response of local churches to the HIV/AIDS crisis. These projects have included organizing national conferences, training church leaders and peer educators, distributing educational materials, spearheading campaigns on stigma reduction, providing grants to faith-based organizations for community-based interventions, and developing strategic partnerships for the delivery of HIV/AIDS care and treatment services.

ECR Today

Over the past 10 years, ECR has recognized the complex relationship between HIV/AIDS and other interrelated issues, including disease, poverty, and lack of development. Because these issues are complexly interrelated and the Church has been called to love and restore people to wholeness, ECR has expanded its mission and work to include strengthening the Church to respond in a holistic manner to the many needs plaguing their communities. Projects have been adapted to continue impacting the HIV/AIDS crisis, while also addressing issues of malaria, tuberculosis, hunger, clean water, poverty, and education. While expanding its scope of work, ECR has also begun to expand its areas of operation to include the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa.

Throughout the world, tragic gaps of silence still scream at us where there is suffering, oppression and injustice. During the slave trade, apartheid, segregation, and other fights against injustice and oppression, there was a small but vocal remnant from the Church who stood and spoke in the gaps where mostly silence had been found. These voices helped move society towards justice. ECR is on a biblical mission to hear the cries of those God hears, stand in the gap, and be a voice, catalyst and actor for change.

Learn more about how ECR is mobilizing the Church to stand in the gap and how you can be a part.

contact us

Expanded Church Response
House No. 3 Lagos Rd
Rhodes Park
P.O. Box 34691
Lusaka, Zambia
Telephone: +260 211 233 040
Mobile Phone: +260 977 771 076
Email: info@ecrtrust.org