|AIDS Education Through Imams: A Spiritually Motivated Community Effort in Uganda (UNAIDS, 1998, 35 p.)|
|Mobilizing Muslim communities|
The Community Action for AIDS Prevention project (CAAP) in Kampala takes advantage of the urban setting to jointly train religious and community leaders of many faiths. Due to the density of the population in their communities, trained Muslim and Christian leaders place less emphasis on home visits and more emphasis on spreading AIDS education messages through group talks at mosques, churches, and Local Council meetings.
CAAP reaches beyond religious leaders and trains groups of bicycle taxi drivers (boda boda boys) and market vendors to pass on information about HIV/AIDS through their interaction with the public - at market stalls and while delivering passengers to their destinations.
We work in a densely populated area. Every home in our congregation has been affected by AIDS. And it is not only AIDS that is killing our people - there is cholera, dysentery, malaria, and typhoid. The area next to us is Katanga Valley, one of Kampalas largest slums.
I joined Muslim leaders in Kampala at IMAUs AIDS Education Workshop. Since then I have worked with women from Katanga Valley to start Income-Generating Activities. These women can be very bitter. They have already lost their children to AIDS. Some call their body their shop and feel they have no other means to support themselves. It is the local men here, the mechanics in the garages, who misuse them. They give them enough to buy a meal for that day. Socially, these women become misfits then opt for drinking and more prostitution.
We meet weekly as a group, for fellowship and to develop self-respect as women. The women are from many faiths - Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, and Muslim. They enjoy coming together to learn, but feel they already know everything about HIV/AIDS. I vary the topics of our weekly meetings and bring in guest speakers. We talk about AIDS, but we have also had lessons on basic hygiene, recycling waste into fuel briquettes, cookery, and how to wear the traditional dress.
Starting with a small amount of money for IGAs, the project has grown incredibly. Women take out loans from the group to start small businesses, like selling doughnuts or cassava chips. All they need is a charcoal stove, a frying pan, and a slotted spoon. Many of them used to do something, like work in a salon, but then got pregnant and the father ran away.
They have children and no source of income. Our village bank helps get these women back on their feet.
Womens Group Leader
St. Peters Church, Kampala
Organizations represented at CAAP workshops
To date, the 70 organizations that have participated at CAAPs Kampala workshops have included:
· 19 mosques
· 29 Catholic and Protestant churches
· 4 born-again churches
· 16 local Council parishes
· 1 group boda boda boys
· 1 group market vendors