Uganda is one of the African countries that registered commendable success in the fight against HIV/AIDS, seeing a dramatic fall in the prevalence rate from an estimated 30% in the 1980s to 6.4% in 2005. However, the trend has reversed as the HIV prevalence among Ugandan adults rises from 6.4% to 7.3%, according to Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey Report September 2011. Of the approximately 1.2 million people living with the disease, over half are women, and about 150,000 are children aged below 15 (UGANDA AIDS Commission 2011).
In Wakiso District, where the Kazo community is located, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is over 10%, the highest in the country. A UYWEFA survey conducted in Kazo, revealed that the disease has had a devastating impact on the community, with an average of one member per household positively living and an average of 1.9 orphans per household losing one or both parents to the disease. The HIV prevalence together with the low socio-economic status of the community leads to constant struggles to meet basic household needs, triggering poor nutrition and increased susceptibility to a variety of diseases.
To support people with HIV, UYWEFA offers economic empowerment, home-based care and counseling services.
For its economic empowerment program, to be specific, UYWEFA has implemented the skill training projects that teach HIV-positive single mothers to make candles and liquid soap, which has boosted their capability to make a living and support themselves. It has also carried out educational workshops on nutrition management, will writing and financial planning for the HIV-affected people.
Home-based care at UYWEFA is an approach to show the care about the HIV-affected group through home visits. In this case, UYWEFA volunteers pay a visit to the HIV-affected people, trying to understand their struggles against HIV and offer support to address the most pressing challenges, such as referring them to a health center in the neighborhood that offers quality treatment.
The women have also participated in small- and large-group counseling sessions and have received training in providing counseling support to others. Ultimately, these women have felt empowered to help other HIV-positive single mothers to cope with their condition and be receptive to loving support.