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Grassroot solution to fighting HIV/AIDS

 

According to Zawadi Juma, deputy Mtaa Executive Officer (MEO) of Kayenze Mtaa in Sangabuye Ward confirms that some low income earning women in these fishing communities in Mwanza are more concerned about earning an easy quick buck by selling their bodies to fishermen. 

Tabu Dede a peer educator at the Kayenze Resource Centre says that these are women who may earn as little as TZS 500/- per day as profit from the fish they sell each day and a fisherman offering TZS 5,000/- for sex is seen as a saviour. 

Justine Wanjara a resident of Kayenze says; "It is pathetic seeing a woman move from one man after another in the name of having sex in exchange for money. And in some cases the fisherman may not even pay up the money agreed upon and instead offer fish," she says. In an exclusive interview with 'Daily News' in  Mwanza last week the Acting City Council HIV and AIDS Control Coordinator (CHACC), Willie Kisanji says that FHI 360 through the Regional Outreach is addressing HIV and AIDS through a development Strategies (ROADS II project funded by USAID Tanzania mission. 

Under the project eight active clusters have been brought under one umbrella working closely with 25 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and nine Beach Management Units (BMUs).Each cluster addresses comprehensive HIV   prevention, care and support in the way they see well.   ROADS project supports these organizations, by building their capacity in leadership, management and through financial assistance. 

For the low income earning women the project encourages entrepreneurship and saving.The success of the project depends on partnership with local government, faith based organizations. The project aims at empowering men and women to stand up economically especially in the fishing areas so that everyone  receives HIV prevention skills and AIDS control education.    

Before this cluster model was introduced, TANESA conducted research in 2007 and from the findings recommended that organisations like NGOs, CBOs or FBOs  use this method in HIV/AIDs prevention programmes. Councillor Kisanji says few people in the fishing communities are aware of the project due to the poor accessibility to the islands on Lake Victoria. Kisanji is happy to note that the women after the awareness and financial assistance change their attitude once they realise they are in control of their lives. 

This approach in fighting against HIV and AIDS is being implemented in Bugogwa,  Sangabuye and Kirumba wards of  Ilemela district in Mwanza City. In Bugogwa Ward, Emmanuel Mhoja a coordinator of Wanaharakati Jaboya Bugogwa (WAJABU) a CBO which is an anchor organization that represents smaller organisations says that through the 

ROADS project they provide HIV and AIDS education, counselling and guidelines and legal assistance to youth and women.Under the project so far 360 children have received educational support. Adults have undergone vocational training, community health insurance, psychosocial support, and life skills training. Caregivers participate in programmes that help them improve the family's nutrition, food security and savings and livelihood.

 

 

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Author: MOSES MATTHEW in Mwanza

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