FACT hosts CDC/Zambian Delegation
Family AIDS Caring Trust Zimbabwe (FACT) hosted a five member delegation from Circle of Hope- Zambia and from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Atlanta for a one day exchange and capacity strengthening visit.
The technical support visit aimed at checking adoption, progress and implementation of community posts to be run under the new Faith and Community Initiative (FCI) to be implemented by FACT Zimbabwe supported by The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through CDC.
The aim of the PEPFAR Faith and Community Initiative is to address gaps toward achieving HIV epidemic control and ensuring justice for children, leveraging PEPFAR’s partnership with faith-based organizations and communities. Through this partnership, PEPFAR will support innovative approaches to reaching young men, adolescent girls and young women, and HIV positive children with HIV prevention and treatment services.
Therefore, FCI will compliment efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe and other development partners to accelerate efforts to realise epidemic control in the country guided by the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets towards ending AIDS by 2030 by providing HIV Testing Services, self-test kits, referrals and follow up services to Adolescent Boys and Young Men in local and faith communities.
During the visit the delegation got an opportunity to meet and share experiences with religious, traditional, business leaders and identified FCI champions at both Sakubva Flea and Green Markets. Key action points were shared which included the importance of collaboration between partners, provision of client centered service delivery and respect of client confidentiality.
“The introduction of the FCI will see increased uptake of HIV testing services by informal traders as services are brought to them through community posts. Distance and time for the traders to seek services has been a setback which the project will address,” said Brilliant Mpofu, Spokesperson Mutare Informal Traders Association.
“FCI will go a long way allowing us to make use of existing structures within our churches to encourage congregants to seek HIV Testing Services with respect to their privacy and confidentiality,” added Reverend Frank Mafukidze, Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.
The visiting delegation commended efforts by FACT in collaboration with partner organisations in mobilizing champions and identifying sites for the establishment of community posts.
“The visit has been fruitful, we managed to visit the local authorities, markets and saw the proposed sites for the establishment of the community posts,” said Gibster Makangila, Executive Director Circle of Hope Zambia.
The Circle of Hope Model from Zambia is focused on working with local and faith based communities to address HIV prevention, treatment care and support issues. To date COH has established more than 35 community posts in a bid to realise epidemic control in Zambia.
Community takes over fees payment for OVC
Crossdale Primary School was among the first schools to be supported by FACT through the Vana Bantwana OVC Programme which was introduced in 2013 in Nyanga. This OVC programme supported 6 primary schools and 2 Secondary schools, households taking care of OVC, local service providers and government departments to mitigate the IMPACT of HIV and AIDS on children in the district.
The Vana Bantwana support package to the school included:
The school, under the leadership of the Headmaster, Psychosocial support teachers and the SDC requested to be supported with a start-up grant for a School Income Generating project, which would generate an OVC fund that would cater for the school fees of orphaned and vulnerable children at the school. They proposed a piggery project and were supported in starting up this project by FACT through the programme Economic Strengthening Officer.
The piggery project started with just 2 sows in March 2014, during the second year of the VB programme. The SDC and community members were in charge of the project and took care of the feeding, buying stock feeds and marketing. The VB project ended in September 2014 without any children having been transitioned from school fees assistance but it was the genesis of greater things to come.
With the advent of the Children Tariro programme in October 2014 which is took over the activities of the VB programme, the school administration and its SDC were notified that the programme would be exiting the district in 2016 and they needed to put in place a viable exit strategy, especially for children who were on education assistance. This is when their eyes were opened and they realised they had to quickly do something about their OVC fund. By then, the piggery project had 6 pigs ready for sale. These were slaughtered and sold to community members, butcheries and other interested customers to raise money for the OVC fund. This is how 10 children were transitioned from school fees assistance out of the 33 who were being supported.
At time of writing, the school had 10 pigs on sale out of a batch of 20 which had been reared. The other 10 had already been bought or had been slaughtered and sold as meat.
This is a success story of how a school and a community has managed to take care of its own orphaned and vulnerable children and weaning itself from donor dependency syndrome.
Besides the success of the Income Generating Project, the school also boasts of a vibrant Child Led CPC which can correctly articulate its rights and responsibilities and understands its role in child protection issues at the school.
During a conversation with the FACT Executive Director, the members know the uses of the PSS box and how they are part of the team that opens it frequently and handles cases such as bullying at the school.
Success story of the Children Tariro Project in Nyanga District funded by PEPFAR & USAID.
A New Social Order is Beaconing for Mutsongi Women and Community
We were like people in an open prison but now the invisible chains that used to bind us are breaking up, we thank God for FACT and funders who brought us UMOJA /CCMP. It all started with UBC bringing the gospel of light to this remote community and then FACT with the UMOJA and CCMP training and there after it became clearer to most women and men in this community that something was amiss with the way we related as men and women in Mutsongi community.
For a long time we had taken it as a given that women are under men, men decide everything for them. Men sit on chairs and women on the floor, literally men decide for women on what should be done, when to do it, how, where, why among many other things. As women we could not decide on the number of children we wanted, our husbands could marry our girl children as and when they wish for whatever reason without anyone questioning them but with the coming of Umoja trainings things are fast changing in family relations for the betterment of our families and communities. Knowledge is power women now question a lot of things that used to portray women as passive participants in issues that affected them. I now make decisions on sexual reproductive rights especially that we are living in times of HIV and Aids. Issues of safe sex and HIV testing are now critical for me and many other women. A number of people especially women have sought HIV services after trainings or sessions in health matters. As women, we now challenge child marriages and bethrowals, and most of us now decide on family planning. This was by far not the case before UMOJA came to Mutsongi. We now question and challenge why women should be treated as having no feelings, desires, ability to think and plan. We are pushing for more social space as women. We now want to be considered as equal partners in development in our community. During meetings, including during services in church, we now sit on benches and not on the ground. In the church we conduct services including bible studies and occupy important leadership positions such as secretary. Its not easy to get these things accepted by men given our long history of male dominance but we are only happy that our church and community leaders and men in general participated in the UMOJA trainings and meetings as such there is a slow change in the way men view women in our area.
For all these changes we are thankful to FACT and Funders for bringing us UMOJA/CCMP. As women we are getting liberated and this is great concluded the CCMP coordinator for Mutsongi Mr Chaza.
Success story of the Gender and Church Partnership Project funded by Tearfund UK
From nothing to something
I am Lizzie (not real name) from Bezel Bridge and I am aged 22years. I really want to thank FACT and their funder for bringing light and hope to my life. Before I attended UMOJA trainings at United Methodist Church in Bezel bridge church I was like many youths of my age groping in the dark not knowing what to do for a living. My parents would take care of me for everything just like they used to do when I was still a school going child. Employment for me was a nonstarter because I had no course. I could not go to form six or for tertiary education because my parents could not afford tuition requirements anyway.
I thank God for the training in Umoja that I received in 2013. The training gave me a new understanding on how I could worship God in a holistic manner through sustainably exploiting resources that are close to me. The training emphasised how I was supposed to do my part while God does his. From that day on my eyes opened up to new possibilities and about two years down the line here I am - a proud owner of an Early Child Learning Centre that houses 45 children. I started with just a few children, but friends in the Lord and the entire community encouraged me through giving me more children to care for. The children I have, come from as far as Marange Business centre 10km away. This is because the standard and quality of service that I offer here is high and people support and like it. While my life has changed because I now earn a living providing for the needs of my immediate family and church I am also happy that the services I provide bring hope to many children and homes that we serve. The community has never known a crèche of the quality we provide and this is development in its true sense. My dignity and self-image is enhanced and the future brighter. Credit for all these achievements go to FACT and its Funders who brought the development concept of UMOJA/ CCMP. May the lord bless our Funders with more funds and ideas that will help change more lives more than what is happening to me.
Please follow the link and see how FACT is helping communities through engaging with other organisations on women empowerment: Case Study on Zimbabwe woman on the #Women2Kilimanjaro caravan