2015
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MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (SHURUNGWI) LAUNCHES ZVANDIRI SUPPORT GROUP

MIDLANDS PROVINCE,ZIMBABWE-Recently, Africaid ?Zvandiri? in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Child Care, the Department of Child Welfare & Protection Services and the local community established a support group for children and adolescents living with HIV at Tongogara Clinic which is located about 40 kilometres out of Shurugwi town in Midlands Province,Zimbabwe.

A total number of 36 children and adolescents, Zimbabwe Republic Police Victim Friendly Officers, officals from the Ministry of Health and Child Care (Shurugwi District), Department of Child Welfare and Protection Services Officers, Community Case Care Workers (CCCWs),Child Protection Committee members and Care givers attended the launch of the support group.

In addition to this, the training of CCCWs also contributed meaningfully to the establishment. A follow up visit was made to the clinic in May 2015 during the training of CCCWs for Shurugwi Rural. Trained CCCWs from the area also worked with Village Health Workers in mobilizing children.

The support group members will meet once every month at the clinic and it is felt that this will go a long way in building the confidence of these children and adolescents so that they live happy,healthy and fulfilled lives.

2015
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‘Incorporate children’s rights in mainstream programmes’

Newsday-16 June 2015

LOCAL children’s rights lobby group, Africaid, has bemoaned communities’ perpetuation of stereotypes against children and their failure to integrate children’s rights into the mainstream programmes.

Africaid’s call coincided with today’s commemorations of the Day of the African Child (DAC).

This year’s edition of the DAC will be held under the theme 25 Years After the Adoption of the African Children’s Charter: Accelerating Our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriages in Africa.

Africaid spokesperson Tinashe Rufurwadzo said: “Some of the children and adolescents do not know their HIV status of which it is their right to be tested for HIV and know their status.”

He said they were also advocating for more participation of young adults in issues to do with sexual reproductive health.

Africaid implements the right to participation with attention on children and adolescents living with HIV through the Zvandiri Community Adolescents and Treatment Supporters (CATS) Programme.

CATS provides direct psychosocial and health support services to peers living with HIV, to caregivers and to young HIV-positive parents. It also seeks to implement innovative ways of communicating and creating awareness to reduce stigma and discrimination.

“This is in accordance with the African Youth Charter Article 11 which stipulates that every young person shall have the right to participation in all spheres of society,” said the Africaid spokesperson.

Each year on June 16, African countries celebrate and recognise children all over the continent despite their differences, in remembrance of the sacrifices made by South African youths in 1976 who protested the inferior quality of their education and demanded equal rights. Thousands of children were injured and more than 100 people were massacred.

Last week visiting UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe said challenged society to safeguard the rights of children and adolescents.

2015
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Fulfilling the Right to Participation for Children and Adolescents living with HIV.

DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD:PRESS RELEASE

HARARE- Each year on June 16, African countries celebrate and recognize children all over the continent despite their differences, the Day of the African Child commemorates sacrifices made by South African youth in 1976 who protested the inferior quality of their education and demanded equal rights. Thousands of children were injured and more than hundred people were massacred.

As a result of this background, Africaid joins the rest of the nation in commemorating the Day of the African Child with special attention on children and adolescents living with HIV who faces unprecedented challenges including lack of HIV & AIDS Information, Stigma and Discrimination, limited access to SRH services, treatment default due to faith healing among others. Some of the children and adolescents do not know their HIV status of which it is their right to be tested for HIV and know their status.

Africaid is a community private voluntary organisation in Zimbabwe through which its Zvandiri Programme integrates community prevention, treatment care and support for children and adolescents living with HIV.

As an organisation we envision that HIV positive children and young people have the knowledge, skills and confidence to cope with their HIV status and to live happy, healthy fulfilled lives. The organisation also offers a wide range of services including HIV Testing and Counselling, Post Test Counselling, support and linkage to care, Antiretroviral Treatment & Adherence, Clinical Monitoring & Support, Training & Support for Personal Growth and Development, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Transition in to Adult Care.

With this in mind, it is of paramount significance to note that Africaid implements the right to participation with attention on children and adolescents living with HIV through the Zvandiri Community Adolescents and Treatment Supporters (CATS) Programme and this is in accordance with the African Youth Charter Article 11 which stipulates that every young person shall have the right to participation in all spheres of the society. This peer led intervention ensures that adolescents and young people living with HIV participate in their own development.

Zvandiri is founded for children and adolescents living with HIV being at the heart of the programme .These young people are directly involved in planning the programmes, they deliver the interventions and they work in clinics and communities.

Zvandiri has developed a theory of change approach that encourages reflection, adaptation and incorporation of new ideas and evidence into its evolving programme. Psychosocial support and health services are provided through community support groups, community outreach and Zvandiri centres attached to health clinics.

In addition, the programme influences the home, school and overall community environment to raise awareness and reduce stigma and discrimination, and contributes substantially to training and to policy and guideline development nationally and internationally.

At the core of Zvandiri are trained HIV positive adolescents and young people known as Community Adolescent Treatment Supporters (CATS). Supported and mentored by Zvandiri staff and supervised by primary health care counsellors, CATS provide direct psychosocial and health support services to peers living with HIV, to caregivers and to young HIV positive parents.

CATS also, together with Zvandiri staff and other adolescents in the programme, propose and implement innovative ways of communicating and creating awareness to reduce stigma and discrimination, and they help develop and test training tools. CATS are powerful advocates and role models who contribute to training health care providers (amongst others) to understand the holistic needs of HIV positive children and adolescents, supporting overstretched clinic staff to address these needs. Young people in the programme have regular opportunities to share experiences, ideas and challenges and to contribute to programme modification and development.

2015
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Zvandiri in the Global Fund Incentive Funding Proposal.

By Gemma Oberth

In incentive funding request, Zimbabwe prioritizes young people.

New funding model early applicant Zimbabwe submitted a $40.2 million request for incentive funding on 18 May, seeking additional financial support for interventions that specifically target people under age 24: the fastest growing demographic group in sub-Saharan Africa for new HIV infections.

Zimbabwe will receive some $437.2 million from the Global Fund through 2016 for its HIV response; this incentive funding request — which is not guaranteed — will supplement that sum. A concept note submitted in April 2013 for the total $311.2 million also included a request for additional support with $274.4 million that was not fulfilled. Grant implementation began in January 2014, and continued throughout the year with interventions focusing on treatment monitoring, prevention of vertical transmission and recruitment and retention of health workers. An additional $126.1 million was awarded to Zimbabwe in 2015, after the Global Fund’s country allocation methodology was updated. This top-up went towards expanding existing Global Fund-supported interventions, especially HIV testing and counseling and storage capacity for medicines at facility level.

The additional incentive funding request is arranged along four strategic areas namely Laboratory & Pharmaceuticals,Youth & Adolescents,Community & Key Population and Monitoring and Evaluation.

The additional money for laboratory and pharmaceuticals would specifically work to improve pediatric HIV diagnosis and care. In Zimbabwe, treatment coverage is much lower among children (46.1%) than it is among adults (76.9%), according to the country’s 2014 Global AIDS Response Progress Report.

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The second strategic area is youth and adolescents, which includes activities such as girls’ mentoring clubs, based on the UNFPA’s Sista2Sista program, and peer counselors, based on the success of the Zvandiri Model. Recent evidence from Zimbabwe (Mavhu et al.; Dunbar et al.) suggests that interventions that incorporate gender-focused HIV education, guidance counselling and integrated psychosocial support can reduce risky transactional sex, increase condom use, and improve treatment adherence among young people.

“The youth programs that ended up being part of the incentive funding proposal are programs that have already been rolled out, and have been documented to be impactful,” said Definate Nhamo, an advocacy and evaluation specialist for adolescent sexual and reproductive health at Pangaea Global AIDS.

The third strategic area is community and key populations, with core activities such as community ART refill groups. These groups develop a rotating schedule for members to travel to facilities to collect prescriptions, a way to ensure adherence to the drug regimen and address some of the reasons people with HIV may default on treatment.

Activities envisioned in this area also include skills training for healthcare workers on how to respond to the particular needs of people with disabilities. A national disability survey revealed that people with disabilities are twice as likely to self-report having HIV compared to those without disabilities, and have lower levels of HIV knowledge.

The concept note also provides for an overarching emphasis on monitoring and evaluation. This area includes interventions to develop and launch a new HIV data warehouse, link community information systems with the HMIS, and conduct an in-depth assessment on adolescents.

With Zimbabwe’s current Global Fund grant cycle ending in 2016, the development of the country’s next HIV concept note is on the horizon for early next year. In light of this timeline, the CCM regards the incentive funding request as a forward-looking process. If priorities in the incentive funding concept note are not funded, they will likely be carried over into the next application.

2015
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VST BENEFICIARIES RECEIVED EQUIPMENT WORTH $4600

Recently,with support from Swiss AIDS Care International(SACI), Africaid Zvandiri Vocational Skills Training Program (VST) handed over equipment worth $4 600 to the program beneficiaries at Zvandiri Centre in Avondale,Harare.

The equipment which were handed over include sterilizers,tables,chairs,fabrics,sewing machines,hair clippers,mirrors among others.

Addressing adolescents and young people who were present,the Country Director for Newlands Clinic Matthias Widmaier encouraged the beneficiaries to utilize the equipment they were given so that they will bring change in the entrepreneurship field.

Mercy (not her real name) said she is happy to have something she can use to deliver what she was taught before by Africaid Zvandiri and other partners.

Africaid Zvandiri Founder and Executive Director Nicola Willis handing over a sewing machine to the Vocational Skills Training Beneficiary with the Vocational Skills Training Tonderai Rupiya.

Africaid Zvandiri Founder and Executive Director Nicola Willis handing over a sewing machine to the Vocational Skills Training Beneficiary with the Vocational Skills Training Officer Tonderai Rupiya.

“For me to have a sewing machine was just a dream and l never knew that one day the dream will manifest,l was trained by Africaid Zvandiri on livelihoods but the major challenge was to own the equipment which l have to use but l want to thank our funders and Africaid for making sure that adolescents and young people living with HIV have something they can lean on in terms of employment” said Mercy,a VST beneficiary.

In an effort to improve the socio-economic status of young people living with HIV, Africaid continues to offer vocational skills training and mentorship. This has been made possible through financial and technical support from Swiss AIDS Care International (SACI) in collaboration with Newlands Clinic. The project is a response to the critical need to assist young people living with HIV to secure gainful employment and an income to support themselves both now and in the future. The intervention targets young people with minimal academic qualifications.

2015
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JUNIOR PARLIAMENTARIANS & AFRICAID IN WAR AGAINST HIV STIGMA IN SCHOOLS.

HARARE- The Ministry of Youth Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment in collaboration with the 2014-2015 Junior Member of Parliament for Budiriro Constituency Honourable Evans Rwambiwa invited Africaid Zvandiri to present at an awareness campaign on sexual immorality and early child marriages targeting adolescents and young people in school.

Junior Member of Parliament for Budiriro Constituency Honourable Evans Rwambiwa (Left),Maximina Jokonya Africaid Zvandiri Provincial Mentor(centre) and Chairperson for the Portfolio of Health and Child Care Honourable Tariro Mutawarira at Budiriro 1 High School,Harare,Zimbabwe

Junior Member of Parliament for Budiriro Constituency Honourable Evans Rwambiwa (Left),Maximina Jokonya Africaid Zvandiri Provincial Mentor(centre) and Chairperson for the Portfolio of Health and Child Care Honourable Tariro Mutawarira (Right) at Budiriro 1 High School,Harare,Zimbabwe

Africaid-Zvandiri Community Adolescent Treatment Supporter(CATS) presented on HIV related stigma in schools and this was also a golden platform for the young people in schools to know about the “soldier game” a learning tool which is used to show the importance of adhering well to medication by the CATS.

Adressing hundreds of students at Budiriro 1 High School, the guest of Honour, Chairperson for the Portfolio of Health and Child Care Honourable Tariro Mutawarira said adolescents and young people living with HIV should not hide their feelings, they should feel free since they attend support groups which are being coordinated by Africaid.

2014-2015 Honourable Members of the Junior  Parliament for HWATA Constituency.

2014-2015 Honourable Members of the Junior Parliament for HWATA Constituency.

“Although adolescents and young people living with HIV are facing stigma and discrimination, those stigmatizing them are going to be equipped with HIV related information since guidance and counselling lessons are going to be revived in schools as soon as the new curriculum is in all schools” said Honourable Tariro Mutawarira.

Under the same blanket, recently, Africaid Zvandiri was also invited to present on HIV related Stigma to HIV & AIDS Club pupils at a primary school which is located about 22 kilometres from the Zvandiri House after one of our support group members faced stigma within a school set up.

“Stigma remains the single most important barrier to public action. It is a main reason why too many people are afraid to see a doctor to determine whether they have the disease, or to seek treatment if so. It helps make AIDS the silent killer, because people fear the social disgrace of speaking about it, or taking easily available precautions. Stigma is the chief reason why the AIDS epidemic continues to devastate societies around the world” said the UN Secretary- General Ban Ki Moon.

HIV related Stigma is a process of discrediting an individual on the basis of known or suspected HIV status, the process entails attaching a negative label and devaluing of a person by another and the label may be based on a partial truth or completely false information.

The effects of stigma include: reluctant to access HIV testing, treatment and care, complicate decisions about HIV disclosure and ART leading to early deaths. Makes it difficult for children, adolescents and young people to come to terms and manage illness / HIV status.