Uganda Works to Halt the Spread of HIV/AIDS
In 2003, The Hunger Project-Uganda launched its highly successful HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Campaign. The program was launched in response to the overwhelming pandemic ravaging the region. With 90 percent of all HIV positive children living in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS has devastated Africa's most productive generation.
Recognizing the dire need to drastically reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS, THP-Uganda focuses its efforts on addressing the attitudes and behaviors that fuel the epidemic. By providing accurate information and open community conversations, people are freed from social taboos, and feel capable of taking steps to protect themselves and their families. THP-Uganda openly acknowledges that most African women do not feel that they have the ability to say no to sex, and therefore provide workshops to both women and men to empower the women to make informed decisions about their health. Men in the workshops recognize the importance of respecting a woman's choice and health.
When the HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Campaign began, several community leaders participated in workshops as a way to popularize and legitimize the workshops. They attended workshops designed to empower people in grassroots efforts to transform conditions that have led to the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The program has seen continued success since its outset. During 2010, a total of 26 HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshops were conducted across THP's Ugandan epicenters. Nearly 4,000 partners attended the 26 trainings aimed at changing partners' attitudes and perceptions and the promotion of gender equity at household and community levels. Awareness programs on Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS are routinely conducted in partnership with the government through the epicenter health units and other NGOs. To date, more than 93,000 women and men have participated in HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshops around Uganda.
THP-Uganda's successful programs have provided access to government, partnerships with leading organizations, the critically missing rural infrastructure and, most importantly, the courageous grassroots-level leadership willing and able to confront the gender issues fueling the spread of the disease.