Capacity building for addressing vulnerability issues in HIV/AIDS prevention and management among women : a case study of Mbinga Women Development Group (Kiungi)

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Southern New Hampshire University
Grassroots-based organizations have been perceived as appropriate institutions to bring about rapid changes in the community. These organizations have been implementing different development programme in various sectors ranging from empowerment, poverty reduction, advocacy, HIV/AIDS awareness raising and the like. Mbinga Women Development Group, popularly known as KIUNGI, is a grassroots-based organization established in 1999 by a group of women hailing from Mbinga district and living in Dar Es Salaam. It was registered on 24t h June 1999 with registration No. SO. 9933. KIUNGI has 40 registered members of whom 37 are women and 3 are men with an objective of promoting the development of women, youth and the people of Mbinga as a whole. KIUNGI has an office in Dar Es Salaam, district-based office in Mbinga district and grassroots-based branch offices in various parts of the district. KIUNGI has been implementing various programme including empowering women and HIV/AIDs awareness. KIUNGI interventions in both areas have been limited in scope though the challenges of empowerment and awareness in respect of HIV/AIDS have continued to increase. For example, currently the awareness on HIV/AIDS among the community is more than 90% but the rate to which HIV/AIDS has been transmitted is alarming. Though people are aware of HIV/AIDS there has been little change in behaviour and the infection rate has been increasing among the marginal groups of women, teenagers and children. The high rate of HIV/AIDS infection among the marginal groups despite the apparently high degree of its awareness has made it necessary in this study to use KIUNGI to investigate vulnerability issues in HIV/AIDS prevention, management and the required capacity of CBOs NGOs to enhance interventions.To be able to critically analyze these issues a significant body of literature was reviewed including both theoretical and empirical frameworks. The literature review was supplemented with a 'strength, weakness, opportunities and threats' (SWOT) analysis for KIUNGI to examine its external and internal environments from which such attributes were identified. A survey was conducted. Also a purposive random sample from Sinza-B where KIUNGI has been implementing a programme to raise awareness on HIV/AID was used to administer a structured questionnaire for gathering the information regarding vulnerability issues in HIV/AIDs prevention and management among women. The results from the SWOT analysis showed that KIUNGI has significant strengths which need to be capitalized on in order to realize its mission and objectives. The literature review and findings from the survey revealed that there is significant awareness on HIV/AIDS among members of the communities but with little change in behaviour pertaining to HIV/AIDS. There are also issues associated with the little change in behaviour towards HIV/AIDS which render women among the community members more vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.Both the literature review and the survey findings suggest that women empowerment through provision of women-friendly education and promotion of women's entrepreneurship would facilitate their control over their sexuality as a major means towards halting the spread of HIV/AIDS. The findings further suggest that these should be complemented simultaneously with empowering and strengthening the capacity of community-based groups (CBOs) and members of these groups to be able to meet such challenges. This empowerment should include strengthening the human, infrastructural and financial capacities of these organizations. (Author abstract)