THE HIV & AIDS COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT PROJECT (HACEP) FUNDED BY DANCHURCHAID (DCA) hivIn 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.

THE HOUSEHOLD WATER AND SANITATION IMPROVEMENT PROJECT FUNDED BY ICELANDIC CHURCHAID (ICA) sl_13During the year 2011, RACOBAO continued receiving funding from the Icelandic Church aid to implement the Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) project targeting households headed by children and those with sickly PHAs. As a result, RACOBAO Constructed 5 brick houses, 5 pit latrines, 5 kitchens, and 5 water collection tanks. RACOBAO also purchased and distributed 4 sets of Non food items and Domestic utensils to the benefitting households after which hygiene sensitization meetings targeting household members were conducted. In order to foster transparency and accountability as well as community ownership of the project, community local leaders and volunteer AIDS counselors participated in identifying and selecting the benefiting households.

For the second year, RACOBAO constructed 5 brick houses benefiting 37 family members with an aim of improving the living standards of the vulnerable orphans and widows. Previously, RACOBAO constructed mud and wattle houses. The brick houses are now occupied by the orphans and widows who have continued to report a tremendous improvement in their living standards. The improved household hygiene and sanitation is very evident leading to a reduction in the incidence of hygiene related infections like diarrhea that was attributed to poor waste disposal facilities since the household members were utilizing the nearby bushes. There is also a registered reduction in the occurrence of water borne diseases that previously resulted from using contaminated water from unsafe water points that are also shared with animals. Easy access to clean water has enabled orphans especially the girl child to have enough time to attend school and reduce the risks met while travelling long distances in search for water.

THE LIVESTOCK PROJECT FUNDED BY THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA (ELCA) liveIn 2011, RACOBAO received funding from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to implement various activities aimed at addressing the effects of HIV and AIDS on households in Lyantonde and Rakai districts. With the grant, RACOBAO purchased and distributed 200 local goats for child headed households and PHAs. 78 households (35 CHH, 43 PLHIV) benefited. Emphasis was given to female headed households. Benefitting families have been able to meet some of their basic household requirements from the increased income as they raised the goats and sold off their some of the off springs. This has contributed to improved livelihoods and food security at household level. To consolidate better livelihoods and food security measures among households of CHH and PLHIV, RACOBAO trained 90 (54 females) benefitting CHH and PHAs in improved agricultural practices putting emphasis on goat management practices such as pest control, feeding, hygiene and sanitation. Aspects of establishment and management of income generation activities were also handled during the sessions. The livestock project will also contribute to increased enrollment, attendance, and performance among school going age group within the families because the income from sales will in addition be utilized to purchase the required scholastic materials. Finally, benefitting households will have improved health standards since they will have capacity to meet costs related to medical requirements.

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