Monday, February 15, 2010

ADRA/NAPHAM training People Living with HIV/AIDS Support Group

Thandizo Lathu CBO is a community based organization in Maonga group village head, T/A Kalonga in Salima district. This group started in 2004 at a Methodist Free Church in the area through dialogue sessions with the community on the impact of HIV and Aids in families and evolved to become a CBO focusing on positive living with HIV/AIDS. The CBO was established in 2008 and registered with the district social welfare office.

Thandizo Lathu CBO operates in 4 villages and has 5 key components namely of People Living with HIV/AIDS support group (PLWHA), Home based Care group, Youth club, Community Based Child Care and Orphan Care.

In November 2009 the CBO wrote a proposal to National Aids Commission of Malawi through the District Social Welfare Office in Salima to train some of its members on Positive Living.

The next hurdle was to find facilitators for the workshop and the district social welfare office identified and approached NAPHAM (National Association for People Living with HIV and Aids in Malawi) and ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Malawi) to provide the training since the CBO was in their impact area and also due to the nature of nutrition activities ADRA was doing in the area.

ADRA and NAPHAM went on to facilitate the training in areas of Concepts of positive living, Anti Retroviral Therapy adherence, stress management, food processing and utilization, home gardening, IGA activity concepts (savings and loans) and group dynamics. This was done week beginning 8th February, 2010.

During this training the facilitators and the CBO noted some issues that affect people living with HIV/AIDS such as distance travelled to the nearest clinic to access ARVs from the village was very long (25km) and this has made many patients to give up treatment early. The other was unavailability of bicycle ambulance for the community to carry patients to hospital. One bicycle ambulance costs around $500.

Other notable issues were lack of reliable IGAs other than piece work in crop fields and lack of access to nutritious foods such as soya meal. The CBO lamented that many of its members fail to attend meetings because they are always out looking for piece work

At the end of the training ADRA through Tsogolo Labwino project pledged to support the group with savings and loans training once they get organized. ADRA has also provided the group with 10 kg of soy seed which they have planted in a communal garden.

Thandizo Lathu CBO has expressed gratitude to ADRA and NAPHAM for the skills imparted to them. ADRA Tsogolo Labwino Project is equally happy with the recognition it is getting from other government institutions on its capacity to provide trainings to the grass root as it changes the world one life at a time.

By Francis Zande (Tsogolo Labwino Project Manager)

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