YOUTH HIV AIDS PROJECT
Mt. Kenya region, one of the target areas for the New FPFK’s HIV/AIDS project established in 2010 0ctober, covers 14 administrative districts, 6 in Eastern Province and 7 in Central Province and an approximate surface area of 15,500km2. Major urban centres in the region include Thika, Murang’a, Nyeri, Embu, Meru and Nyahururu. According to population projections for 2009 available from Central Bureau of Statistics the region has a population of just over 5.4 million people.
The goal of this project is to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS by increasing the capacity of the communities to respond effectively to the challenges posed by the epidemic using their inherent human and social strengths.
The in specific objectives are:
Mobilise communities through SALT teams to change behaviour and attitudes that encourage spread of HIV and provide care between relatives or neighbours (for PLWHA & OVCs)
Achieve policy change and legal repeal so that the Human Rights of women and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS and the indigenous rights of the communities especially the Maasai are respected and upheld.
Ensure that the government keeps its national and international commitments concerning HIV/AIDS and exercises transparency and accountability in handling of funds for dealing with the pandemic as well as encourage the government to embrace Human Capacity Development Approach to HIV/AIDS response as opposed to service provision / top – down interventions response.
Improve the socio-economic and environmental welfare of the target communities by initiating environmentally sustainable income generating activities targeted at those affected and infected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and also the general public.
Promote learning through inter-group transfer of experiences gained during SALT activities and document replicable experiences from the participating communities
Project steering committee
The HIV & AIDS Project enjoys the support of a very committed Project Steering Committee with expertise in community work, development, and health issues. All the major decisions concerning project direction will be made by the project steering committee. The decision making process will be participatory and as inclusive.Members of the PSC
Story by Linet
My names are Linet Kaleke, a girl from Olosho and a form 4 leaver. While at home doing domestic work, i had heard about a team from FPFK Nairobi that had visited theFPFK Olosho church and had stimulated the community to respond to their concerns (HIV/AIDs and others) that they are facing. This had created excitement and the participants who hadattended the workshop sounded more hopeful in life and we wondered what had happened?
The following Sunday, My pastor informed me about the next workshop that was taking place in the church. Out of curiosity, I decided to join the workshop. I was shy and socializing with people was a challenge. I imagined that I will be lonely and thought the training was on HIV/AIDs only and decide to attend to come andlisten only without participation. The approach was encouraging and every one had a chance to participate, this made me to feel ease and realized that I had something to contribute. I felt I belonged to a team and had something to contribute to help my community to respond to HIV/AIDs, poverty, Drought among other concerns.
From the previous workshop, Information had spread through words of mouth and also the sharing by parents with their children. This stimulated an invitation by a nearby school to the team(Olosho parents and FPFK team) to discuss HIV/AIDs and other issues that are affecting the pupils. The second day of the workshop, we visited the school;I was given a chance to facilitate two classes; standard 3 & 4 with other teammates.It was then that I started building courage,enjoyed the process and felt motivated to participate with others as a facilitator. I learned that care through presence can stimulate people, even children, to act to their concerns. Children are aware of what’s happening at home and are part of the solution too.
Though theilliteracy level is high,which slows the facilitation process ,the transfer of information and behavior change, there is still hope for a better future because families are sharing and talking about HIV/AIDs.I also share with my mother,elder brother and I’m convinced that my dad will learn from my actions and the rest of the family members.Despite missing the first workshop which made me feel inadequate, I fell more confident, more focused and empowered.
I’m sure and confident that through this experience, the spread of HIV will reduce; care and support for the affected and infected will be embraced by the wider community. “We have seen other communities are now learning from us and inviting our team to support them as they respond to their concerns which is a motivation .Through this fulfilling journey of accompanying my community , I’m sure I will also achieve my dream “Linet reflect.
Pastor influences community to respond to HIV/AIDs
My names are Pastor James S. Mopel,Senior pastor Olosho FPFK church. The Community was conservative about HIV/AIDs and other cultural practices.The community members were disintegrated and it was everyone for himself.Most family felt isolated especially by the father figure, who was only visible to provide material things but not much caring about the deep embedded concerns of the family: soft issue like discussion around HIV/AIDs and welfare of the wife and children
After introduction of the Human Capacity development process to the community members with the FPFK organization; things started changing for better.Now, the community members know the importance of each other.Through the process the community has acknowledged and recognized HIV as a threat that put the continuity of the community at risk, they have opened up and willing to discuss around cultural practices that put them at risk to HIV/AIDs.There is strengthened relationship and communication at family level around HIV/AIDs and other family issues between husband, wife and children.Unlike the culture, where womensit and expectprovisions from their husbands, more are coming out and starting Income generating activities.
The Communitydiscussions around the community concerns have motivated the neighboring schools to invite the Olosho Community facilitation team to support them in opening up HIV/AIDs discussion among the children.More community members are sharing about HIV/AIDs in the church and in small self-helpgroups. The young generation is embracing monogamy with support from their parents whom most of them are polygamous. The older generations are sharing and supporting each other in discouraging alcoholism which has been named by the community as a risk behavior that fuels the transmission of HIV in the community.
Through this process have learnt that community can dream and act with the locally available resources for a better future. Cohesiveness and unity is a big strength which can catalyze change within the community.We have realized that the solution is within the community for they have capacity to respond to any concerns.This has been influenced by the community facilitation team that stimulates the community to identify the existing strengths and resources.Community can use their resources to develop in life.Children are also change agents and can play an important part in the change process. This has brought organic spiritual awakening and more people are joining different churches voluntarily because of the action of the facilitation team.
My dream for my community is that within the next 2 years with the same consistency accompaniment by the FPFK organizationtransformation will take place in the community. The level of illiteracy will decrease tremendously with the ongoing inspiration by the young generation to seek education. Transmission of HIV will have reduced and support of the infected and affected will be embraced by the community. We will have mentored other teammates to stimulate the community on this change journey for a better and save community.
SURVIVING BEYOND DISINHERITANCE
Beatrice Jemurungu was born 47years ago in the western side of Kenya. At the age of 17 she was married to a man that she thought he would be the perfect match. By the age of 21, she was already a mother of two. Being a housewife she solely depended with her husband who was working as a clerk in an Indian firm in Nairobi. As time went by her husband started drinking and having extra marital affairs. As a result Jemurungu often suffered physical abuse as well as negligence from her then husband. By the end of 1984 they divorced and Beatrice opted to live single.
In 1985 she fell in love to another man who promised her support to raise her two children. As they continued living the man started being unwell. In 1986 she accompanied her husband to the hospital where he was treated and sent home. Ten years later she had already given birth to two more children. In 1996 Jemurungu and her husband fell unwell and sorted medical attention at MP Shah Hospital.
In the hospital some tests were conducted but none of them was told the result of the tests done. In 2000 both of them had multiple opportunistic infection and were referred to KNH (Kenyatta national Hospital) for further ‘treatment’. After running a number of tests no result was given.
In 2006 her husband’s health deteriorated and was admitted at MP Shah Hospital,after which his condition worsened 2007 and was later admitted at mbagathi and later succumb. That’s when Beatrice knew her husband’s cause of death. This news brought shock, disbelieve, denial as well as totally worsening her condition even further. According to the Luo community, Jemurungu was to be inherited through sexual rituals to one of the husband’s brother. This was the only option she had at the moment. But this would not go well with her as she refused to be inherited. As a result, she was disowned of all her husband property as well as her matrimonial items. She was left with nothing not even beddings; and she started begging for shelter clothing and food. In all these she never thought of taking a HIV test.
Due to excessive stress her condition worsened and this brought in a lot of stigma from her in-laws as well her parents plus other extended family. In 2008, her last-born daughter 4 years old by then,fell sick, and She was taken to Riruta Health center for check up. After examination and running of some tests, Jemurungu was given a referral to lea ToTo for further check up. At Lea ToTo, Jemurungu was counseled that her child needed to be done some test including HIV test. Soon after, the result showed that her daughter was HIV +VE. This broke her heart but she was encouraged to take a test as well to be able to deal with any further doubt. With this courage she went for a test and unfortunately she too turned HIV +VE.
Initial CD4 count was 75 while her weight was 45kgs. This prompted the doctors to put her on ARVS immediately. At the health facility she was put on feeding program and she would collect some food supplement on monthly basis for duration of 9 months. When she joined the support group at Kawangware she was encouraged by the members and received psychosocial support. As a result her CD4 count raised steadily form 75, 115, 210,315, 430 and lastly 358. By December 2012 viral road test, the result revealed that the viral road was undetectable.
Currently Jemurungu is in fountain of joy support group in Kawangware, and her two young children are in a sponsorship program. She survives through casual job that is never guaranteed. However, her motivation came when she started drama club with other HIV+VE group members. In their drama, they act on dangers of HIV, Burden of OVCs, Importance of Family Planning and HIV & AIDs awareness.
Life has taught her that no matter how big the storm or the problem, there is hope. This is found through psychosocial support for all that are infected with the virus. She urges those who already know their HIV status to avoid re-infection and/or getting infected. She says she is now an ambassador of creating awareness on human rights to women in relation to HIV & AIDS.
1. Communities in the Target Region
The main target communities for this project are Maasai who occupy the geographical region of South Rift Valley Province . The Maasai were also targeted by the previous project but this project will use HCD, HRBA and advocacy approaches to achieve greater scale in the response to HIV/AIDS in the community.
2. Churches in the Target Regions
FPFK churches and other denominations are very widespread across the targeted regions. This project will use the relationship built with these congregations as the entry points into the larger communities. Many of the churches are involved in some response to HIV/AIDS (e.g. Home-care) HCD approach will be used in order to strengthen the linkages and deepen the local responses. The local congregations or worship centres will be the foundation unit of the strategy offering proximity and coverage that makes it possible to enter into the larger community.
3. Community Leadership
The communities in the target areas and especially the Maasai have great respect for their leadership. The project will take advantage of this situation in order to achieve greater results. Leaders will be invited to share during learning visits through the SALT (HCD) approach to initiate change in the way they relate with communities where they live to come together in new and constructive relationships. To this end leadership will be developed through mentoring at all levels of the community. Political leadership will also be targeted for promotion of a community led approach this is because of the influence such political leaders have on individuals in these communities as was demonstrated by the call for the Luo community to embrace male circumcision by its political elite which received overwhelming response from the people.
4. Constituency AIDS Control Committees (CACC), Health Facilities and Service providers in the region
CACC is important in any response to HIV/AIDS as it presents an opportunity for government funding at the grassroots level as well as a framework for coordination and networking between different actors. It has however, not played this roles well because lack capacity and government bureaucracy. On the other hand, the focus of many health facilities and service providers in the area of HIV/AIDS work has been on service and commodity provision taking very little account if any of the need for development of human capacity to cope with HIV and its consequences. The project will work with this target group with the aim of shifting their response from an interventionist, expert led approach to one which is people centred and community-led. The project will also endeavour to build the capacity of CACC in HCD and HRBA so that it can discharge its duties more effectively and efficiently.
5. Churches and Faith Based Organisations at the National Level
At the national level the project will target faith based organisations and national churches leadership with the object of forming a coalition for advocacy on issues of HIV/AIDS. The project will also use such a coalition to transfer its experience and learning’s on Human Capacity Development approach to HIV/AIDS with the aim of stimulating them to start acting and in this way achieve scale.
Over the last one year, FPFK has been part of the FBO Coalition, a project supported by BN to develop a resource pool of partnership activity in HIV/AIDS. This group is available and will be involved in learning and experience transfer to other FBOs across target areas.
The project used Human Capacity Development approach. The Human Capacity Development approach is based on providing community based facilitation in the areas of HIV/AIDS, health and development across communities. The grounding belief of HCD is that people have been created with a capacity for response to the serious issues of life – that is, a capacity for belonging, acceptance, change, care, influence and hope. People in desperate situations are not hopeless, and can become so much more than passive recipients of welfare. That they make their way forward is never in question. Hope sustains.
People and communities can respond even in challenging situations, there is hope and visioning expressed in each person, the capacity that is embedded in life of individuals that motivate action and stimulate response is the grounding for Human capacity development, that once these capacities for response are utilized and mentored through a culture of facilitation, it enhances a wider Change. The potential for response, for each individual in any challenging circumstances is provoked by the desire to care and to change. It is these synthesized abilities in individuals and communities that provoke this belief for Human capacity Development.
Hence HCD, means developing the will, skills, capabilities and systems to enable people to respond effectively to HIV/AIDS through facilitation teams. It is based on the development of relationships and communication between people.
HCD uses three main methods
Facilitation team process
Facilitation team, enters into communities to physically be present with people to stimulate reflection on community concerns, vision and capacity for response &participate alongside people to unveil strength in them. The facilitation team enters these communities with a SALTy attitude.
HIV &AIDS Competence
Competency means acknowledging the epidemic and the effect it is having; caring for those affected; and taking action in prevention through change. The goal is to build capacity within individuals and organisations by enabling them to internalize both the risk of HIV&AIDS and the power to change. By being open to learning from local responses on the one hand, and sharing learning that takes place within an organization, on the other hand, the organization’s activities will change to support the local community response more effectively.
Going to scale, scaling up and scaling out
The magnitude of the AIDS pandemic requires that all responses are going to scale, this is especially crucial for local responses. Scaling up means organizations doing more, with better quality and reaching more people. Scaling out is community-to-community transfer, concept transfers between organisations. This has received far too little attention in the response to HIV/AIDS.
Project has been working in partnership for the last year with six communities in Narok County; with a purpose of building their capacity to respond to their vulnerabilities which has resulted to the following:
- Acknowledgement & recognition: The communities have accepted HIV exist and are acting to respond to its issues. Communities are making and Owning decisions for change in relationship to HIV&AIDs and other concerns.
- Community capacity to identifying/Address Vulnerability enhanced: Communities have started owning their concerns around HIV&AIDs, poverty and working together towards a better future. For example, community members sit and talk with each other, neighbour’s talk and most parents are now talking openly to their children about sexual behaviour that puts them at risk of HIV. Communities are also naming things that puts them at risk to HIV; like cultural practice, poor communication at home between husband & wife on sexual matters and Unfaithfulness. Through community discussion/counselling, decision for change have been made and are been implemented in 5 communities. Suswa, Rotian, Empopongi, Transmara & Inchura
- Stigma and discrimination (Care & prevention): HIV is seen as a community problem and the community have taken ownership –they are visiting each other, offering material and spiritual support to other members of the community; this has led to reduced stigma and more people are going for HIV test. For example in Rotian community 5 churches have collaborated and are supporting 202 orphans.
- Gender: Women are also part of decision making at home and they are sharing their issues confidently during community discussion. They are also doing small income generating activities instead of depending on men. These evident by stories of change shared.
- Local partnership: The community facilitation teams are exploring partnership with like minded organization in their area. Some communities are exploring to access funding from Constituency Aids Control Council. Communities like Oldem, Rotian, and Inchura have already worked with the MOH on VCT services.