THE HIV & AIDS COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT PROJECT (HACEP) FUNDED BY DANCHURCHAID (DCA)
In 2011, Rakai Community Based AIDS Organization (RACOBAO) with funds from Dan Church Aid completed implementing the 3 year HIV and AIDS Community Empowerment Project (HACEP) in Rakai and Lyantonde Districts. The major aim of the project was “To contribute to the realization of the Uganda National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS (2008-2012) targets”.
This project focused on empowering Most at Risk Populations (MARPs) and other community members to adopt safer sex behaviour and utilize HIV prevention services while also building the capacity of community members to demand for improved service delivery. Through dialogue meetings, the different groups were able to articulate barriers to behavioural change after which they were supported to design Community Action Plans for behaviour change.
This project targeted the leaders of these different groups and trained them as behaviour change agents whose main responsibility was to promote behaviour change among their peers in the respective areas inhabited by highly mobile groups such as Boda-Boda riders, Fisher Folks, commercial sex workers, and pastoralist communities. On the other hand PHA groups were mobilised into social support groups for joint advocacy for improved medical and other psycho social services provision.
A cultural approach was adopted by RACOBAO to promote behavior change among the highly mobile pastoral communities in Kasagama, Kinuuka, and Mpumudde Sub Counties. RACOBAO worked with clan leaders and influential elites and trained them as behavior change promoters. Using their influence, they mobilized different categories of people and promoted traditional skills acquisition. For instance among the women, the leaders promoted Hima art and craft where the different women clubs produce Emihiiha, Ebyanzi, beaded enkoni, necklaces, etc. These have continued to occupy the previously idle women while the proceeds can be used by widows to look after their families.