Thursday, July 30, 2009


HIV affects our most private emotions, our sexuality, our security and trust in relationships and future. Having HIV is nothing to be ashamed about, but many people may feel afraid to tell their friends, colleagues or even family. They may feel not emotionally prepared or they may fear the social consequences of others finding out. This has become different to PLHA cluster members the group have been strengthen day after day.

The group started with very few members who shared the fact that they are HIV positive. They were worried about confidentiality, meeting in secret places. At the end they didn’t know what they were doing or thinking or even who they were. Since they started working with ROADS project the situation changed, there are hundreds of people joined and access services provided by the group. One of the group member shared her story, that she decided to check her sero status and join the PLHA cluster after receiving a very good support and care from HBC providers who are also HIV positive and members of PLHA cluster, before she was not believing that you can continue with your normal life after found your HIV positive but since joined the group her perception changed. Now she found new hope and vision through the group.

PLHA cluster members are free to speak out about their status, many members witness that soon after joining the group they met friends who changed their lives. They realized that, they hadn’t done anything wrong, they are not criminals and they have even get married which is what most people tend to lose when they found to be HIV positive.

Furthermore PLHA in the group testify that before joining the group they faced lot of problems in the community, they didn’t know where to go when they are discriminated in their own families, but through various trainings received have enabled them to have one voice to fight for their rights and to show that they are still productive and no difference from any one else. The only difference is that they are HIV positive which is not the reason to discriminate them.

What is your ROLE in this?

We Belong to Them: The Story of Zaida

The HIV/AIDS epidemic destroys children’s lives by forcing them to assume caregiver and providers role. Most live with and are cared with grandparents or single parent. ROADS project scale up OVC services through integrating systematic intervention, supporting and training volunteers, care givers and community OVC committes and by addressing service delivery issues. By doing so ROADS have improved the lives of many OVC/MVC in Makambako Township.
Zaida is a girl with, seventeen years old for the past three years her life was surrounded by mixture of sadness, isolation and aggression. Zaida is the oldest daughter and has the task of looking after her young sisters. Zaida was living in Makete in a very desperate situation, in 2003 her aunt took to live with her in Makambako. In 2007 things became worse, her aunt failed to continue supporting her and send her back to Makete the family in Makete abandoned her and decided to come back to Makambako where by one of ROADS OVC care provider decided to live with her.

In early 2007, Zaida was registered as OVC /MVC in ROADS project, since then has been benefited from various services and trainings provided by ROADS through care providers. Mligo who is care providers is saying that since Zaida joining ROADS project has changed mentally and physically, she is self reliant and happy. In the mid 2007 the project enrolled her in vocational training where she was attached to local artisans for tailoring skills.

These opportunities provided by ROADS project has provided her with enough skills to be self sustaining and financially independent. Now Zaida through the effort of MVCCs in mobilizing community resources has managed to convince one of the community member to attach her in her office and provide her with working equipments. The money earned are invested in catering services where by three OVC joined together to perform this work. ROADS project have been using the catering services provided by this group of OVC/MVCs during various trainings.

Now Zaida is able to support the rest of her family and herself.

The involvement of community in supporting the development of their communities has been important especially in helping people who are in need, some of the members of the society are able to help other people but they need education and recognition that they can do so.

This has been successfully through the initiative that has been done from one of our plan that the cluster has done on educating the Village Committee from the training on educating the community as one of the strategies that each group of village committee was proposed, where by they use that strategy to educate the villagers to save through village committee and care givers which work hand in hand with our project.

The knowledge obtained from the training enables the Committee to communicate the importance of supporting the most vulnerable children’s by the local people, they are then able to convince their village residents to take personal responsibility for the local MVC/OVC, rather than just leaving their care to work of donors. In Mjimwema A village, the OVC/MVC Committee persuaded village residents to take their own initiative and donate goods such as sugar, soaps, coneflower, maize, rice and groundnuts to the MVC and OVC through Chasawaya which is our anchor project.

We appreciate the initiatives the local community has taken, and feel this sort of personal responsibility is vital to the longevity of our program. Community initiatives provide a sustainable source of goods from the village itself and encourage a level of independence rather than depending on the finite resources of donors such as our donor support, with this initiatives and the education that the villages are receiving from our project they can help themselves in the future to stand on their own though now it is like a dream but we believe that in the future this may produce a good seed of the reality that our project is planting to people by the time being.

They are so many, remember, We belong to them

Elineema Mshana

Did You Know This Before?

The capacity of low income women to provide HIV/AIDS education and support to the community and their families have been strengthened due to the knowledge and education they received through various trainings, Peer education and advocacy on women rights has helped women to talk boldly about women rights and sexual issues which are not normally discussed in African. This has helped to break silence about sexual issues among parents and their children which has been one of the biggest obstacles towards HIV/AIDS prevention.

Many women among cluster groups they were beaten by their husbands and have been sexually abused, before they didn’t know where to present their problems. Since trained on women rights they have been involving the concerned authority in solving these issues also helps other women on this. Furthermore the knowledge received helped them to make right decisions on family planning issues, now they thinking about life/ family in a wide perceptive. Salima Chungu reported that: ‘The knowledge she got helped her to tell other people about her sexual life, she talk about the danger of AIDS and having many partners. She is saying that she feels very strong about some of our customs which makes our life more difficult to women, such as wife inheritance and the fact that a husband family inherits the widows possessions even after a legal marriage. Women need to know there are laws which govern a divorce. She helps women to fight for their rights hence help them provide for their children’’

Apart from that women got entrepreneurship skills which help them prepare basic Business plan. This has helped them to access credit from various micro-finance institutions and establish small firms (poultry activities, selling food crops and rearing pigs) and be able to run them in profitable ways. The entrepreneurship skills that LIW members got also brought a great impact to the community because the members are regularly disseminating this knowledge to other people through teaching and the business they run. Many people try to learn from LIW members and through this people want to do their business not longer just traditionally. Low income cluster members are now able to provide support to their families and other community members. Some of them witness that they are no longer using their bodies to earn income, hence they directly prevented from acquiring HIV. Recently they supported OVCs and PLHAs in food and school materials.

Edna Hauli