Creating economic opportunities for rural women to address HIV & AIDS in Mozambique

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Southern New Hampshire University
In 2005, Mozambique had a HIV prevalence of 16.2% (MISAU, Aug. 2005), which is due to the fact that there is a fast increasing epidemic in the southern part because of interaction with South Africa and Swaziland. 1.4 million people in Mozambique were living with HIV by 2005 and 60% of the infected were women. Therefore, there is an urgent need to prevent the spread of the virus, especially among the rural women who are in vulnerable positions because of their partners leaving the homesteads to go look for work in towns or neighboring countries, especially South Africa, as miners. Female headed households are placed in vulnerable situations, because the women are left to tend for the needs of the households and due to the lack of their bargaining power, they are forced to engage in unsafe sex to be able to earn income to support their families. Hence, the development of this project which aims to address the negative impact of HIV & AIDS through creating economic opportunities for the female-headed households. In the long run, the project will target at least 100 female headed households to benefit from this intervention, out of the 1105 women of Nhapele. The hypothesis was that by creating economic opportunities for these women, there will be a reduction in their vulnerability to HIV infection. The target area was Nhapele location of Inhassoro district in Inhambane province. This is a rural location whereby the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood. The main problem identified was the lack of economic opportunities in the target area. This was addressed through interventions targeting household food security faced in the rural community by increasing technical and organizational capacity of women's groups and community members, in order to respond to their economic needs, in an effort to prevent the further spread of HIV. In the initial phase the project targeted ten women who were trained in developing kitchen gardens, addressing HIV & AIDS issues and running income generating activities. The initial IGAs were two tuck shops in Manjangara and Nhazamba villages of Nhapele location. The long-term plan is to develop saving schemes, merry-go-rounds, and use the initial capital of the IGAs as a revolving fund for other women groups. (Author abstract)