The national AIDS commission project
In 2004, the Malawi Demographic and Health Survey revealed that 14 per cent of adults in Malawi were living with HIV or AIDS and the number of affected people was climbing. It was reported that 50 per cent of hospital admissions were AIDS related. In addition to lost productivity due to the increased need for caregivers and the number of sick and dying, the number of AIDS orphans was also growing. The Malawian government recognized that to stem the tide of AIDS, community education and prevention strategies had to be dramatically scaled up and the best way to do this was to work through community-based organizations (CBOs).
From 2004 to 2008, The National AIDS Commission engaged CPAR Malawi to take a leading role in five of the country’s Districts as an “Umbrella Organization”. CPAR was given the responsibility of building the capacity of CBOs to provide services, funnelling funds to them, and providing technical assistance so they could do their work more effectively. The specific purpose of the Umbrella mechanism was to increase utilisation of HIV/AIDS prevention and care services, introduce behavioural change strategies, and improve treatment, care and support for those affected by HIV. CPAR carried out its work in collaboration with local government authorities, employing the train-the-trainer model, holding educational workshops, and mentoring and supervising CBOs.
Some featured results:
Prevention and behaviour change strategies were introduced through community education and awareness campaigns. Treatment, care and support were strengthened through the support of home-based care services. Psychosocial, financial and educational support (including nutrition education) were provided to AIDS orphans at community-based child care centres. CPAR also connected CBOs with government departments in Malawi to increase access to specialized training and help centralize pharmacy services. Improving coordination between local civil society partners and the CBOs helps ensure the CBOs can continue their work into the future.