|Investing in Our Future: Psychological support for children affected by HIV/AIDS. A case study in Zimbabwe and The United Republic of Tanzania (UNAIDS, 2001, 77 p.)|
It is realized that at present, the majority of programmes working with children affected by HIV/AIDS have not strategically integrated psychosocial support issues in their existing programmes. To bridge this gap, accelerated learning through sharing experiences and information is the easiest way for an organization to grow and meet the changing needs of people affected by HIV/AIDS, especially their psychosocial needs. One example of a network that has taken serious consideration of issues with children is the AIDS NGO Network of East Africa (ANNEA), which has as its slogan Together we will achieve more.
ANNEA is a consortium of NGOs in Kenya, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania working in the HIV/AIDS field. In 1994 ANNEA was established with the idea that through networking, organizations could better support each other in order to conduct AIDS work more efficiently and effectively. At the end of 1999, ANNEA had more than 70 NGO member organizations from these three countries and is planning to expand to include other Eastern African countries. It focuses mainly on networking and experience sharing, organizing development and capacity building, and advocacy for human rights. Members are invited to participate in conferences on HIV/AIDS issues.
ANNEA works to build unity between NGOs in the three East African countries in order to strengthen and support their interventions in HIV/AIDS prevention and care. NGOs in one region frequently do not know what other NGOs in other regions are doing in the same field. Networking opens up the lines of communication between organizations so that they can share their experiences and support each other. Through the exchange of ideas, programmes can be improved so that AIDS work can be done more efficiently. Workshops are held on various topics related to HIV/AIDS. The professions of participants from member NGOs vary and include doctors, homebased care nurses, people living with HIV/AIDS and project coordinators.
ANNEA gives priority to childrens issues. For example, a recent workshop was held on psychosocial support for children affected by HIV/AIDS in Kampala, Uganda. As the majority of the 14 organizations present did not have programmes specifically working with children, the psychological impact of the virus on children was something new. One theme of the conference was child participation in programmes aimed at them. Although most participants were proud of their programmes material support, a survey of the group found that children had little say to affect these programmes.
As a result of these workshops, ANNEA advocates that children be listened to and actively participate in programmes, and that their talents be explored and used to improve programmes. NGOs are also encouraged to protect and advocate for childrens rights and for the support of communities without discrimination against children who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, as they need holistic care, including physical and psychosocial support.
AIDS IS ALL AROUND US,
Walter, age 12, Grade 6, Karori Farm School, Zimbabwe