Celebrating Gretchen Bachman

The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS wishes to celebrate the career of Gretchen Bachman, Branch Chief and Senior Advisor on Orphans and Vulnerable Children, who is shortly retiring from USAID and the Global Health Bureau. As a former Coalition Member, and a close ally for many years, Gretchen has made an invaluable contribution to children and adolescents the world over.

She has guided the Coalition. Her advice consistently cuts to the core of the practical changes in international aid architecture required to enable HIV-affected children and adolescents to survive and thrive. Gretchen challenges us all to move beyond rhetoric and ‘policy speak.’ To articulate what precise actions we can all take. Change seems more achievable when Gretchen is around.

Most recently, Gretchen championed PEPFAR’s role in the Coalition’s global analysis of donor funding for children affected by HIV. This analysis was an unprecedented step and paves the way for greater donor transparency globally. And with Gretchen’s help, we now have a strong new research initiative, looking at donor funding for children affected by HIV in the priority countries of the Global Alliance to End AIDS in Children.

Gretchen is a formidable and compassionate advocate for orphans and vulnerable children. She has played a pivotal role in safeguarding the 10% set-aside for them in PEPFAR’s budget; in ensuring that holistic, community-driven support for children and adolescents is front and centre of PEPFAR’s new strategy and COP guidance; and in driving forward the DREAMS program, which is so important for adolescent girls and young women the world over.

Gretchen has improved lives and changed minds. We have no doubt that she will continue to impact children globally and wish her well in her retirement.