Two World Renew partners in Uganda, PAG Kabale and PAG Kaberamido, are currently implementing HIV Innovation projects. The projects, which began in July 2014, are year-long efforts. The PAG Kabale project focuses on increasing male involvement in HIV testing and disclosure, while the PAG KMDP project focuses on promoting faithfulness among fishermen in two boat landing sites, Akampala and Apai. The projects both focus on behavior change by addressing the barriers that keep men from adopting less risky behavior.
Under PAG Kaberamaido, the behavior being promoted amongst the fishermen is: The project goal is that fishermen, aged 18 to 40 years old, who live at the Akampala and Apai landing sites remain faithful to one sexual partner for at least 6 to 12 months to protect themselves and their sexual partners from HIV.
It was amazing to see fishermen mobilized at the Akampala landing site to help fellow fishermen adopt faithful as a behavior. As the fishermen gathered, the landing site filled with people who came to watch the boat race and also get an HIV test. Others were at the landing site to receive their HIV test results from previous health visits. This is the first time I have seen dozens of people running to line up for an HIV test. Times have changed! HIV- and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, though present in these communities, is not preventing people from knowing their HIV status. The boat racing and the community dialogue through World Renew’s efforts in Stepping Stones group training sessions have created an opportunity for community transformation. In less than 12 months, it is evident that people’s lives have been changed by the intervention.
Communication within families has improved and alcohol consumption at the landing site has been reduced. Even more impressive is the way that the fishermen have adopted safe sex practices. This is the first time that World Renew is implementing an HIV intervention among fishermen in east Africa. The results are promising! We plan to scale up this intervention to reach more fishermen in the remaining boat landing sites. The response in Akampala is a promising practice that others can learn from in curbing new HIV infections in fishing communities.
- that more fishermen will become health champions and become fishers of men in the landing sites and surrounding communities.
- that the zeal and momentum for HIV testing will spread to other communities so that people will know their health status and live healthy, productive lives.
- that through community dialogue sessions, gender issues will be addressed at the landing sites.
- that more people will turn to Christ as they interact with PAG Kaberamaido and experience abundant life.
World Renew East & Southern Africa and Kenya
Image above: Boat racing on February 4th, 2015 at the Akampala landing site. Fishermen from the two landing sites where the HIV innovation project is being implemented participated in the race.