Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bicycle Ambulances - for a different new year

As the festive season is drawing near, there are a lot of gift sharing among relatives and friends. But for some communities that ADRA is working with, the present presented to them beats all the gifts received during the festive season. It is an all time present.

Transporting patients has always been a hustle to most communities, bearing in mind the long distance to a health centre, the scorching sun and rainfall in summer. The act of giving these communities bicycles has assured so many community members that they will have access to health services. The amazing part of this whole endeavor is that in most of the communities where the bicycle ambulances were donated, the community members did not have any means of transport for patients; there are no ambulances in these remote areas. In this regard most communities feel that this gift will not only help in transporting patients but has brought hope and assurance that they will have access to health services.

Expressing his joy one of the community members who received the bicycle ambulance on behalf of the community in Chiradzulu, Oscar Limani, said his community admired other communities who had the bicycle ambulance. However, he said that now that ADRA has given them their own bicycle ambulance, the community will be helped knowing that there are a lot of people who fail to go the hospital because of transport problems. Looking at the bicycle ambulances, Limani reiterate that ambulances are comfortable for patients and durable for the road conditions in the rural areas.

In absentia Traditional Authority Ntcheme appreciated the efforts made by ADRA and its partners. He said communities can only develop if health services are accessible to all in the communities. He said there have been a lot of incidences where people die unnecessarily because they were not able to get to the hospital or clinic in good time or sometimes not even being able to travel due to transportation challenges.

So far the fourteen bicycles will reach out to 140 villages in the Central and Southern parts of Malawi. More of the bicycles ambulances are expected and if all goes according to plan this will a life changing endeavor because most patients will have access to treatment from health centers.

The bicycle ambulances were donated by individuals and corporations through ADRA Denmark. If you want to join the pledge to provide 100 bicycle ambulances to the most vulnerable communities in Malawi, contact the ADRA office in your Country specifying that the donation is for this intended purpose, or give online in the ADRA International Website by following the link: Donate now.

Authored by Chikondi Madikiza-Madumuse, Communications and Advocacy Officer

Monday, December 14, 2009

Campaign against gender based violence - World Human Rights Day in Mulanje District

“Commit, act and demand together we can end gender based violence” this was the highlighted theme for this year to conclude a sixteen -day global campaign against gender based violence. The campaign ended on Thursday, December 10 2009.
In Mulanje, activities marking the event took place at Chisitu Primary School Ground attracting over twenty village communities including those targeted by the Women Empowerment Project. The event was graced by drama, speeches, poems, testimonies, songs and dances. All of them highlighted the theme with appealing messages that violence of any form is an evil act and must be stopped.
Earlier in the day, village communities staged a big walk, covering about two kilometers. The procession carried banners and waved placards while singing, telling the world that gender based violence should be stopped.
Speaking at the function, the Guest of Honour, Mr Gideon Mothisa from Ministry of Labour thanked ADRA for championing the campaign and urged stakeholders to take a gallant fight against violence.
Mr Michael Usi, ADRA Programs Director commended all participants and stakeholders for the united effort towards curbing gender based violence and stressed that ADRA would be committed to collaborate with all partners to reduce incidences of violence.
Mulanje Police Station Officer, Mr Bwela said that though gender based violent cases are reducing, there is need for more community awareness as cases come in different shapes and sizes. He said that Mulanje Police through the victim support unit has helped to promote awareness and settling domestic squabbles.
Speaking earlier, WEP Project Manager, Andiyesa Mhango said the event was in line with the project objective to empower women and build their capacity through promotion of information sharing, promotion of male participation as partners in development and advocate for change when human rights are violated.

Author: Andiyesa Mhango

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hope and Courage in dealing with AIDS in Rural Malawi

Authored by Chikondi Madikiza-Madumuse during World AIDS Day in Mulanje

For many people the World AIDS Day brings hope and courage. They realize that the world recognizes the effects of this pandemic. In the recent years discrimination and stigmatization of those with HIV has decreased and AIDS though a dangerous disease, is seen as something that can be managed.
In 2004 the Mapira family (Mr and Mrs) were found HIV positive, it was tough for them because during this time the husband was bed ridden. They visited different traditional herbalist who gave them different concoctions and in some cases were told he had been bewitched. They also spent so much money during this time, trying to get help.But one day a counselor visited the area, he visited this household. He advised the family to go for an HIV test. It was a hard decision for the man but he had to do it because he was very ill. After being found HIV positive the Mapira family decided to declare their HIV status. At first people were backbiting about their status, but later the community realized that the two were living a better life.
Now five years down the line the couple is self-dependant, they are living a healthy and a happy life, they accepted and are managing their condition after taking heed of counsel. The couple says instead of looking at ARVs as a burden, they take them as their every day ‘drink’ in doing so they take them with much ease knowing that they can live a longer life and see their children grow into responsible citizens. They encouraged those who have not yet tested to go for testing and for those who need ARVs not to be afraid to start on treatment.
Celebrating World Aids Day in Mulanje - Southern Malawi

As the world celebrated World AIDS Day this family sets an example for people, to share their experience and assisting others to go for testing and deal with their status.
During the celebrations in Mulanje different denominations came together to declare to the community and district that it takes everybody’s effort in the fight against HIV/AIDS, no one can manage on their own.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Letter from the field - World AIDS Day

Hello All
1st December was World Aids Day. Here in Salima the commemoration took place in one of our impact areas for Tsogolo Labwino Project in T/A Kambwiri at Lungumadzi primary school.
The theme was Universal Access and Human Rights - Accessing HIV and AIDS services is my right.
The function was graced by the District Commissioner, Mr Gift Rapozo, T/A Kambwiri, members of the clergy from different denominations, business men, NGOs and District Assembly staff.
It all started at 9.00 a.m with a big walk for about one kilometer before assembling at the school play ground.
Activities included: Prayers, songs, drama, traditional dances, recitals, sharing of experiences on positive living and speeches from selected guests.
NGOs that contributed in the activities included: Salima Aids Support Organisation (SASO), Family Health International (FHI), Social Islamic
Development (SID) and ADRA Malawi.
Tsogolo Labwino project through Chiungwe Kumanga Umodzi of Gvh Ndola performed a 15 minute play on the need to let women take lead in HIV/AIDS programs in their villages through participation in different development forums.
In his speech the district commissioner commended the efforts being taken by different development players in the district for different roles they are taking in combating the disease.
The only drawback in the function this year was the fuel scarcity which affected the preparations of the function.

Thanks and all the best
Francis M.T. Zande
Project Manager
Tsogolo Labwino Project
ADRA Malawi

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On World AIDS Day, ADRA Works to Curb Pandemic

Global ADRA Network press release on World AIDS day, highlights interventions in Malawi, read bellow for full article or access it on www.adra.org.

SILVER SPRING, Md. —The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is working to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS globally through targeted projects that promote behavior change, increase education, and improve the quality of life of those living with the virus, the agency reports.

“Around the world, ADRA offers HIV preventative education programs, HIV/AIDS testing, and counseling services to reduce the impact of AIDS on individuals and families,” said Charles Sandefur, president of ADRA International. “Through these efforts, ADRA expresses its call to biblical social responsibility and considers it a vital task to help eradicate this terrible disease.”

In Papua New Guinea, which has the highest incidence of HIV in the Pacific region, ADRA is running an HIV/AIDS counseling and testing center in Lae, the country’s second largest city. The ADRA Family Support and Community Information Center encourages communities to practice responsible sex. It also acts as a resource center, offering books and audiovisual materials that educate youth, the most affected segment of the population, on topics including HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and reproductive health.

“Our goal is to educate people so that they make informed decisions on risky behavioral practices,” said Harvey Kitoria, director for the ADRA Family Support and Community Information Center.

ADRA Papua New Guinea also provides HIV/AIDS awareness programs in business and academic institutions, conducts confidential mobile testing, voluntary counseling, and home-based care visits to support and help minimize the stigma and discrimination many HIV-affected families face within their communities.

In Malawi, where the number of people living with HIV and AIDS is estimated to be 930,000, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), ADRA is implementing several programs that not only raise awareness about HIV and AIDS prevention, but also meet the needs of families affected by the virus.

One such program is Let’s Fight AIDS in Malawi, or LEFAM, which works to strengthen families affected by HIV/AIDS, providing them with activities that prevent the spread of the disease, as well as counseling, advocacy programs, and income-generating initiatives.

ADRA is also teaching Malawian communities about HIV and AIDS through a well-known television and radio program called Tikuferanji, whose goal is to help the public learn about disease prevention and responsible sexual behaviors. Tikuferanji, currently one of the most popular television shows in Malawi, received the Radio Play of the Year Award at the 2008 Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Entertainers Awards, and was also voted the Best Advocacy Program in Malawi in radio and television.

ADRA recently ended the Live Safe, Play Safe Project, a multi-year initiative that used sports and games to teach children in Mali about HIV and AIDS prevention and the importance of caring for those living with the disease. The project, first implemented in August 2007, benefited more than 3,000 children before its closing in September 2009.

For more details about the HIV and AIDS crisis, including valuable information regarding ADRA’s response to the pandemic, go to www.adra.org.

According to UNAIDS, more than 25 million people have died from AIDS since 1981, Meanwhile, some 33 million people are infected with HIV globally.

In 1988, the World Health Organization and the United Nations General Assembly designated December 1 as World AIDS Day in order to raise awareness about the disease, fight prejudices, and increase understanding worldwide.

To get the latest information, follow ADRA on Twitter and Facebook.

ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.

For more information about ADRA, visit www.adra.org.

Author: Nadia McGill