After almost three weeks of working with Tovwirane HIV and AIDS organisation in Mzuzu, an update on our work is definitely due!
The main focus of Tovwirane is to engage with the community in order to increase knowledge and understanding of the HIV pandemic, and ultimately reduce the number of new infections.
The Government of Malawi have recently committed to ending the HIV and AIDS pandemic in the country by 2030, and progress has been made, but with a prevalence rate of over 12% in Mzuzu, challenges remain. It is for this reason that the role of Tovwirane is both relevant and necessary.
Engaged students in a peer education session
Our main focus during the ICS placement is to reach out to youth and bicycle taxi operators within the city, and thanks to our busy Community Liaison Volunteers, we are well on our way to hitting our target of 1,500 people, with more sessions booked in. The peer education sessions that we hold allow for healthy discussions between the volunteers and participants, and provide a safe space for questions to be asked, facts to be learned and stigma to be broken down!
One main worry before we began the placement was how effective they would be, in a country with such a high rate of HIV, would we be 'teaching grannies to suck eggs'? Needless to say, after our first session, this was no longer a worry. To see a group of fully grown men listen and learn about simple actions that could ultimately save their lives, and thank us because they never got the chance to learn in school, was motivating to say the least.
A demonstration with the bicycle taxi men
At this point it seems a good time to introduce our team name, Team Kutukula, the Chitumbuka word meaning to empower/progress. Francis Bacon said 'knowledge is power', and by raising awareness and understanding of this pandemic, we aim to empower people to take control of their lives and reduce their chance of infection.
Until the next blog.
Written by ICS Team Kutukula