UMATU (Upendo na Matumanini – LOVE AND HOPE)
The community-based organization UMATU was established in 2005. Its main goals were to eradicate the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS and the myth that “AIDS kills”, in addition to conducting outreach education and facilitating the formation of support groups for people living with HIV so that they could come together to share information, challenges, successes, and even establish income-generating activities to support their families.
Why this project is important
UMATU has evolved from a support group for HIV-positive women into an advocacy group that provides community education and counselling on how to live positively with HIV and prevent its spread. UMATU is committed to abolishing stigma through education and encourages people to test for HIV, know their status and know their options. UMATU also encourages those who are HIV-positive to join their treatment program and support group.
Thanks in large part to UMATU, more HIV-positive women started coming forward to both declare their status and join UMATU, and UMATU’s membership continues to grow. UMATU members are now equipped to offer counselling, small business training, and nutrition advice to new female members.
The women of UMATU have teamed up to provide business services to local families in the district, such as special event design services for weddings and confirmation ceremonies.
This endeavour has contributed significantly to their household income, earning them the ability to fund essential home-based care services, nutrition and medical care while continuing to spread much needed awareness about HIV/AIDS.
Project strategies and objectives
This Phase 7 project will focus on strengthening existing support groups, enabling UMATU to conduct outreach in the Karatu and Bunda districts, including outreach in three health centres, in order to educate people about the proper use of ARVs (antiretroviral drugs), and to encourage people to disclose their HIV status so they can receive proper care.