HIV has always been high in the African communities because of ignorance and lack of knowledge about the facts and the mode of transmission of HIV. With this ignorance, coupled with stigma and discrimination, people living with HIV are left in poverty. Majority of people from the African communities see the disease as a taboo and a curse from God. Stigma and Prejudice are the barriers to HIV intervention resulting in the unfortunate behaviors and attitudes towards people living with HIV in that community. These unfortunate attitudes has resulted in people living with HIV in these communities believing in myths and not the facts related to HIV and AIDS and has therefore put many lives within the community at risk.
Immediate action was needed to solve this problem and therefore, Apostle Fred Annin found a way of solving this unfortunate situation with Action Plus Foundation. Fred was moved to intervene in this situation when he saw that these unfortunate behaviors and attitudes were being practiced even in the church. He took it upon himself to lead a campaign targeting the black African churches by interacting with Pastors so that the growing number of HIV infections in the BAME community will be prevented.
How it All Started?
Apostle Fred Annin was born in Ghana a very religious country but wasn’t born again until his conversion to the Christian faith in 1980. He attended the Full Gospel Bible College and graduated with a diploma in theology and later at the Fountain Gate Bible Seminary to pursue a Bachelor of Ministerial Theology degree. He became a fulltime Pastor at the Full Gospel Church in Ghana and served for ten years until his missionary tour to the UK in 1991.
During this tour sponsored by the Chalk Farm Baptist Church in London, Fred was assigned to a national crusade programme, preaching and teaching about Praise and Worship to revive the church in the UK. Fred in one of his interviews said during these meetings many prophetic messages came from men of God to him saying “when I return to Ghana, God will bring me back again to the UK for a specific ministerial assignment.” In 1992 when he returned back to the UK he was engaged in many ministerial assignments as a freelance minister of the gospel.
In 1997, Fred opened the Pneuma Outreach Ministries and the Pneuma Community Link and registered the two institutions with the Charity Commission in 1997. Pneuma Outreach Ministry was set up as a place of worship and Pneuma Community Link was also to offer practical charitable support such as organizing health awareness and wellbeing activities to educate the Black minority and ethnic communities in Southwark. Some of the projects they were organizing were, about healthy eating, drug and substance abuse, HIV awareness and prevention, teenage pregnancy, training young people to use music and drama to educate their peers to refrain from violence and crime. It was through this initiative that Fred discovered that Lambeth was the highest HIV prevalent community in the whole of the UK seconded by its next door neighbour Southwark where the headquarters of the Charity is based.
He also discovered that the black African community was also one of the communities at risk of having the HIV infection and Southwark also being the second community with the highest HIV prevalence in the whole of UK after the MSM group.
It was through this discovery that gave Fred more understanding about why God brought him back to the UK and led him to set up the charity right in the heart of Southwark and no other place. He, therefore, decided that his charity was going to spend more time to concentrate on HIV prevention and creating the awareness of the infection in the community to reduce the spread of the infection.
A Passionate Servant of God
At that time, Fred didn’t know much about the battle he intended to fight and so he decided to do more research work on HIV. Later, he also decided to consult the experts about how they could support this great vision. He travelled across London and the USA to meet with some of the known “experts” but unfortunately, they all gave him all sorts of negative comments contrary to his expectation. To them the vision was good, but they saw more than a hundred and one barriers, which suggested that Fred’s dream was going to be a mission impossible.
After spending some days with God in prayer, Fred heard God saying, “Fred I am the one who has called you to intervene in this situation and I am going to use you to release my people from the bondage which HIV has brought upon them especially those in the church. I will prove myself that I am a good God who can never put a curse on my people.” The Lord also said to him that although the journey will be long and tough but if he look to him, he will provide for him and will never fail him.
Fred worked tirelessly over the years with their limited resources to keep the infection rate of HIV lower in both the UK and Ghana because the vision to establish the NGO was not born from him but God. He is grateful to God for using him to do what others could not do and will continue to fight to save more lives.
A Central Role in Improving Lives
Fred changed the name of his charity to Actionplus Foundation to reflect to the kind of change he wanted to see in his organisation. After his hard work and faith in God, these are the remarkable miracles his NGO has achieved. It has trained over 6,000 pastors and church leaders both in Ghana and the UK for them to know more about HIV and they have embraced the facts about HIV but not the myths. Ignorance is removed and stigma is broken in the church. It has become the first organization in the UK and in Ghana to successfully launch the most effective module for HIV prevention today called “Take Action Now”. It has become the cutting edge for HIV testing in churches worldwide and many organizations are using this module. Others have adopted the module but have only changed the name. One of the organisations using this model have changed the name of Take Action Now to “Testing Faith”. These organisations are using theTane Action Now module to reach out to the faith communities to get many pastorsand faith leaders trained so that people in churches and mosques can be tested for HIV to save lives and reduce the prevalence of the infection.
Challenged Stigma and Discrimination
Apostle Fred Osei Annin opened Actionplus Foundation Ghana in 2007 with the aim of campaigning against HIV stigma and discrimination towards people living with and those affected by the disease in Africa. This initiative by Actionplus Foundation was the right step to be taken in making the world better, safer, and a lot more tolerant and understanding to the needs of individuals within their communities to enhance the development of healthy communities where everyone thrives despite different challenges.
Today, Actionplus Foundation is an international faith based HIV campaigning and advocacy organisation with it’s headquarters still based in the UK with branches in Ghana, Uganda and Kenya
Supporting the Vulnerable and Disadvantaged
In 2010, Action Plus Foundation became the first HIV charity in Ghana to open the first HIV testing center in a church in Ghana. Fred has managed to break stigma in the church. The church has accepted the responsibility and has now become a sanctuary again for the vulnerable especially people living with HIV and their families.
To achieve all these remarkable results globally with the limited resources, the organization is a big success to HIV prevention and a great module to be used in fighting the menace till it is finally eradicated from the communities and the world at large. Action Plus Foundation has four key objectives to address HIV in the UK and the rest of the world.,
- To prevent HIV infection from occurring.
- To promote early diagnosis and access to treatment.
- To challenge prejudice and reduce stigma.
- To reduce poverty experienced by people living with HIV.
The Message of Salvation
Even though Fred has gone through millions of uncountable challenges and oppositions throughout the 24-year journey, the organization is still growing stronger and stronger every year sending the message of HIV to both the young and old. This is a great breakthrough because the place where innocent people were discriminated because of their HIV status has now become a sanctuary again. Glory to God. Fred has won many national and international awards for his great achievements by championing the HIV campaign both in the UK and in Africa. After 10 years of intensive campaigning only about the dangers of HIV and its devastating effect on the Ghanaian community, God at his own time opened the door on Sunday the 25th of May 2017 for Actionplus Foundation to open the headquarters of its church, Joy City Chapel International (JCCI) in Accra with 150 members during the initial dedication service.
Organized HIV training and Women Empowerment Program
Currently, Actionplus Foundation aims at training women living with HIV through capacity building to empower them with requisite skills to enable them to acquire useful experience to help sustain their lives. To help these women, a microfinance scheme to support the trained women with financing will enable them to become independent and work on their own after acquiring the necessary training from the center.
As part of the ‘Take Action Now’ campaign by the Action Plus Foundation, it is trying to get churches more involved with this issue. It is also hoping to build a modern Empowerment Centre in Accra to serve as a place to organise training programs for church leaders to emulate a similar campaign in Ghana and the rest of Africa. Actionplus within 14 years of its establishment in Ghana, has managed to launch four major projects to reduce the spread of HIV infection in the country, including; the National CHEP Program “Campus HIV Educational Program.”
During the Covid -19 pandemic, Fred again took the lead in organizing online training programmes and conferences to create the awareness of the infection here in the UK and in Africa. He also led Actionplus Foundation to distribute free PPE’S to schools, institutions, traders and the general public.
Passionately Embraced NGO
Many people in the developing countries expect people from Europe or the developed countries to come to their countries to open NGO’s therefore depending on the AID which they donate to them. Fred however has managed to do the opposite by leaving Africa to open his charity in the heart of Europe. He has managed to establishhis the charity all by himself for 24 years and has returned back to Africa to do the same, single handedly running it for 14 years. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world but here Actionplus has grown to become one of the leading HIV organisations supporting the BAME Communities in the UK. In the UK. Actionplus Foundation, has branches not only in London but Luton and Colchester. In Africa too it has branches in Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya. Truly this is a miracle by the hand of God and we give him all the glory.
Since 2015 Fred has won many Local, National and International Awards which includes: Southwark Major’s Civic Award, The Diversity Champion Award For Charities (UK). The Heroes Award, The African Prestigious Award and the latest being the 2020 Best HIV Prevention Service Award (UK) Awards
Quote – “HIV should be completely defeated so we can leave a legacy behind us and one day when the story of HIV is t old to our children and to our children’s children, we will be smiling at the other side of life knowing well that we all fought together to make the history happen.”
“This is our world let’s all do something to make it a better place to live.”
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