|AIDS Education Through Imams: A Spiritually Motivated Community Effort in Uganda (UNAIDS, 1998, 35 p.)|
The AIDS Education through Imams project has been a remarkably successful effort to educate community members about AIDS and HIV prevention, and to encourage changes in behaviour to reduce risks of transmission. IMAU has also inspired communities to accept persons living with AIDS, and to offer practical support and compassionate care to individuals and families affected by the epidemic.
What have been the keys to IMAUs success? One crucial element has been IMAUs excellent record of accountability, not only to the donors, but more importantly, to the community. Local communities and the donors learned that we could trust IMAU to be punctual, honest, and reliable. At the community level, this trust was transferred to other more sensitive areas, such as teaching about condom use for HIV prevention. This inspiring model of integrity and accountability greatly enhanced IMAUs successful effort to empower and mobilize Ugandan communities.
Dr Elizabeth Marum
USAID/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
IMAU has done much in sensitizing communities about the challenges we face with HIV/AIDS. I had the privilege of travelling to their project area in Busolwe. I went there to show some solidarity and to hand out bicycles.
It was an arduous journey, but I made it, and I was impressed with what I saw. In fact, that field visit made a lasting impression on me. The religious leaders and community leaders turned up in such large numbers that I was overwhelmed.
IMAU and the Muslim communities have been able to mobilize and sensitize people to the challenges of this virus. I think what we are seeing now, in terms of the acceptability of some of the approaches that used to meet a lot of resistance, is due to the good work of this and other organizations.
Professor Thomas Babatunde
United Nations Development Programme
The Muslim population in Uganda is not that large, compared to other religions, but we find IMAU a good partner to work with. They have a good structure in the field with Imams and Sheikhs. It is important that these religious leaders be given accurate information, like their counterparts in Catholic, Protestant, and other churches.
The beauty of the project is that once these leaders are given information, they share it with everyone in their area, not just their religious community. This is important when it comes to HIV/AIDS because we do not always have partners from within our own religion.
UNDP has been happy to associate with IMAU. Their intervention has been quite commendable and also relevant in terms of cost effectiveness.
Dr Romano Adupa
HIV/AIDS Control and Poverty Reduction Programme