96157 HOPE for AIDS Master Project – Malawi

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Project Vision: The overall HOPE for AIDS project in Malawi seeks to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of AIDS sufferers and their families, and to enable and educate the church and community in responding to the AIDS pandemic.

This ‘master project’ provides for the central shared resources across all the individual projects and the seed funding necessary for the rapid response to initiate and develop new projects.

what difference have we made in Malawi?

HOPE for AIDS has been ministering in Malawi for around 13 years now and over that time we have seen huge changes in the HIV/AIDS context with the church ‘waking up’ to their responsibility to engage with the issues and reach out to those being affected by the epidemic, the government making testing & treatment much more widely available, and a gradual decrease in infection rates from 16% to around 10%. As we reach the end dates for our current projects we are in the midst of an evaluation to try and assess the impact we have had, and what lessons should we learn, as well as trying to identify the future needs.  (Pictured are a group of volunteers at HBC Sankhulani discussing & answering together the evaluation questionnaire). For me, the best part of doing evaluations is hearing some really encouraging stories which give such a strong sense of ‘yes we are making a positive impact’ – here is a small taster of some feedback from Sani HBC & Phingo OVC projects:

 ‘we feel pride in our program because in the community we (volunteers) get called ‘docotala’ (doctor) because they see we have some helpful knowledge and show love & care for the sick.’

‘the bible studies helped us change our motives so now we do this ministry for the Lord instead of just wanting to receive benefits for ourselves’

‘we (beneficiaries) value that the volunteers really did respect our confidentiality’ (this is a significant issue in Malawi & so is a powerful witness)

‘there is a big reduction in discrimination in the homes, we have seen a big change so orphans are getting the same care from guardians & going to school instead of being treated like servants’

‘2 young men are now attending the bible college having been assisted through school and becoming active members of the church, 2 others have found good jobs & now are able to pay the school fees for their siblings & are even going into schools to encourage other orphans’

It is hard to measure spiritual growth, increase in hope or sexual behaviour change but from stories like these we have confidence that we are making a real difference in the lives of both the church volunteers as we build their capacity to come alongside the sick & orphaned, the beneficiaries themselves as they receive practical, emotional & spiritual support, and the youth & families who having been challenged with relevant bible teaching have chosen to commit themselves to lives of abstinence & marital faithfulness. Please pray for wisdom for us as we try to discern the best way ahead for HOPE for AIDS in Malawi – whilst the context is changing, there are still 1 in 10 people infected and there is still much to be done especially in the area of sexual behaviour change and addressing some of the underlying issues that drive the spread of HIV such as gender issues & cultural practices.

Prayer requests 

For wisdom in analyzing feedback from the evaluations & God to guide the future of AIDS ministries in Malawi, especially on how to mainstream the HBC & OVC elements of the program & design of effective behaviour change interventions/teachings

For God’s provision - especially for food to reach those in greatest need in drought affected areas

Activities

All activities on each of the Malawi HOPE for AIDS projects have continued to run smoothly over the last 6 months. During this period there has been minimal expenditure under the master project itself beyond paying the normal office utilities and stationary costs. However, the following general program level activities may be noted:

SIM International HOPE for AIDS Future Working Group: Jacky Hammond has continued to be part of the working group looking at the future of HIV ministries within SIM. A draft Future Ministry Document has now been produced & circulated for peer comment and a final meeting scheduled for November.

Project Evaluations: The current Malawi HOPE for AIDS projects have an end date at the end of 2016 and consequently require that project evaluations be undertaken. Dale Williams (STA from SIM Australia) has been assisting with this process primarily for the SIMaid tax-deductable HBC and OVC projects and we are aiming to have completed the evaluations by the end of the year. Suitable evaluations of the prevention & other HOPE for AIDS projects will be carried out after HBC & OVC are completed.

SIM Malawi Personnel

Jacky & Mike Hammond – continue in their role as HOPE for AIDS co-ordinators.  In October they joined the SIM International Leadership Mentoring program which runs over a period of 2 years. Whilst this adds another 4 hour/week commitment to work on leadership growth, it is hoped that there will be resultant benefits to the project as their leadership skills improve.

Andrea Richter–(nurse with HBC) Andrea continues her support the HBC program at Naotcha one day/week (sometimes more) through attending the monthly meeting and maintaining oversight of the soap business. During their 2 month HA in mid-2016, STA Eva Neukom was able to take over oversight of the soap business and ensure that it continued smoothly.

Angela Clapham – (regional co-ordinator) Due to on-going health challenges it has been agreed that Angela will come to Malawi in October to pack up and return permanently to Australia in January 2017.

Hunger Season: In April 2016 the President of Malawi declared a State of Disaster as a result of drought which had led to virtual no harvest in much of southern Malawi. Thankfully we have observed that the government ‘work for food’ schemes alongside other NGO inventions have been initiated at a number of villages where we are ministering and so most of our beneficiaries are managing to survive despite the very high price of maize.

For the next 6 months

In addition to the normal activities of maintaining a functioning office we plan to:

Conclude project evaluations.

Project background

SIM’s global programme called ‘HOPE for AIDS’ has been established in many of the countries where SIM is working and HIV/AIDS is prevalent, and has four elements based around the word HOPE.

In Malawi, where the AIDS rates are amongst the highest in the world, a committee was formed in 2002 with representatives from SIM and their partner Church in Malawi, Africa Evangelical Church (AEC), in order to prepare a country-specific strategy for each of these four elements and develop project proposals. Since the AEC is predominantly a rural-based church, these AIDS interventions are designed to reach deep into the rural areas of Malawi.

 


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