Homa Bay orphans and widow support project, Kenya
Kenya is home to 650,000 HIV/AIDS orphans, 16,000 of which live in the Homa Bay District on the shores of Lake Victoria.
This remote area of Kenya has some of the worst health conditions in the country. Health care services are inadequate for the number of HIV/AIDS patients, as well as difficult to access. The lack of effective drugs and qualified health professionals is compounding the situation.
HIV prevalence is at its height in Homa Bay because of common traditional practices such as wife inheritance and polygamy, all of which encourage multiple partners and, therefore, the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Fishing is a major source of income in the region because of the proximity to Lake Victoria. Usually the men go out fishing and then sell their fish to the women who can sell them on again at the market. Due to extreme poverty, sex is a common part of this transaction and the spread of HIV/AIDS is escalating. As a result, Homa Bay has many AIDS orphans and widows.
Main objectives of the project
- Improve the health status of 200 orphans and 240 widows in Homa Bay
- Empower widows and orphans to stand up for their rights and to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS
- Strengthen HIV prevention activities in the district
- Offset the economic impact of HIV/AIDS on families by encouraging widows to engage in income generating activities
- AMREF supports orphans to attend school
- Increased education and awareness surrounding HIV/AIDS through peer education, curriculum teaching, posters, and videos
- Community-based voluntary counseling and testing services are set up in the region with community members trained to counsel on the importance of testing for HIV
- Increased number of clients are tested for HIV/AIDS
- Referrals to larger health facilities made for patients to receive treatment for HIV/AIDS and other opportunistic infections
- Free condoms are distributed and health education is given by respected community role models
- Widows groups are empowered and provided with loans to start small businesses
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