Funded by The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund (Tearfund) UK, this program is now in its third year of implementation. The programme started in 2012 and ending in 2016. The programme’s main goal is to improve the quality of life of women in Zimbabwe and it is entitled, “Addressing gender based HIV drivers that are promoted and sustained by community systemic structures through the church”. Its major objectives are as follows:
- Raise awareness as well as develop capacity to assess and respond to systemic gender based HIV drivers through targeting denominational heads, church leadership structures, local church leaders and general church members.
- Mentor and support local churches to develop skills to assess, engage and respond to gender based HIV drivers.
- Develop and strengthen capacity of women and other excluded and marginalised people to take responsibility of their lives through life skills, livelihood and entrepreneurship development.
This programme transforms people’s lives through church involvement using a concept called Church and Community Mobilisation Process (CCMP) or Umoja approach. CCMP is a non-specific development approach in which churches and communities are facilitated to address their problems using the Biblical approach. Umoja is a Swahili word meaning oneness and it entails awakening local churches and communities that with their God given available resources they are able to transform their lives and live a holistic life. The Umoja/CCMP approach uses the Bible study approach in empowering people to take charge of their destination by questioning their current situation, examining the root causes of poverty and resources locally available, then implementing relevant activities to achieve their desired future.
To date, 76 most disadvantaged women in 3 groups were supported with livelihoods inputs through which they generated income to buy food, clothes, paying school fees for their children and boosting their financial capital base for other projects such as Income Saving and Lending Scheme. On the other hand, 307 Champions of Change were envisioned about CCMP/Umoja concepts, gender issues, HIV, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) as well as marriage enrichment. The CCMP/Umoja package have been cascaded to 10 816 congregants. Furthermore, 1 469 youths have been reached out during public discussion meetings and outreach programmes focusing on Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH), life skills, success motivation, gender issues, project planning and management.
The successful penetration of the Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe and Africa (UDACIZA) led churches, which boasts of more than 450 Apostolic and Zionist sects in Zimbabwe, was an intriguing experience as most organisations face challenges to penetrate into these hard to reach churches. The significant engagement and contribution of the Secretary General of UDACIZA was of paramount importance in ushering this project among apostolic sects. The Appreciative Inquiry Methodology used among these sects acted as a springboard for the successful entrance. The methodology is premised on the conception that before looking at the ugly side of a cultural or religious phenomenon, appreciate its benefits and then gradually move to the vices. In a nutshell it is a positive-focused approach, which looks at what is going right in order to solve problems. A religious or cultural practice like virginity testing has its own merits, which is the promotion of moral uprightness and to start by appreciating this act to the apostolic sects is a vantage point. The Mafararikwa area in Mutare Rural district, which is the epi-centre of apostolicism, was not easy as religious rigidity is hard to crack among them. Though workshops were held, arguments against such programmes which were, according to them, believed to corrupt their members, were recurrent. FACT managed to get through these hard to reach apostolic sects as a result of this programme.
Most trained churches portrayed great understanding of the meaning of Umoja. Through CCMP, the United Baptist Church in Mutsongi managed to mobilise its resources and initiated the construction of toilets which were non-existent before the advent of Umoja. The church had also influenced the community to construct houses using baked bricks rather than pole and dagga. The United Baptist Church in Nharira (Mutare rural district) molded 20 000 bricks for their church construction as a result of local resource mobilisation and Bible studies. One of the African Independent Churches in Zimunya (Zviratidzo Zvevapostori) also molded 10 000 bricks for their church construction. The United Apostolic Faith Church in Dora which had its church stand for almost 10 years is now at foundation level due to being envisioned on CCMP. The CCMP approach has improved congregants’ levels of giving, oneness and tithing and has created a sense of ownership for church projects.
Forbes Road Wellness Clinic
With support from Global Fund through the North Star Alliance, FACT continued to work with key populations at its Forbes Road Wellness Cross Border Project which targets sex workers and long distance truck drivers. The project is situated at the Forbes Border Post, entry to Mozambique. In 2016, the project continued to offer services to Long Distance Truck Drivers (LDTDs), sex workers (SWs) and the general community members within 5km radius of the clinic. Services offered include Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) care and treatment, Malaria treatment and control through prophylaxis provision, Blood Pressure Checks, CD4 count testing, TB screening, HIV Testing and Counseling and Behavior Change Communication (BCC) materials and sessions. The project aims to improve the coherence and the effectiveness of the regional response to HIV and AIDS with regard to mobile and most at risk populations in order to reduce HIV infections in the SADC region. Critical achievements the organization is celebrating under this project are;
a) Forbes clinic was nominated for best practices in the SADC region in 2016.
b) The centre launched the Southern African Prevention and Treatment Intervention Study (SAPTIS) in June 2016 and has provided critical data for understanding behaviour patterns of the mobile populations.
c) Allocation of a site by Mutare city council for constructing a clinic.
A total of 1925 clients received HIV Testing Services at the Forbes Road Wellness Clinic (RWC). The target populations who received services were community members residing near the clinic, long distance truck drivers (LDTD) from different SADC countries and sex workers (SW). The last two categories are considered to be at high risk of contracting HIV.
Data captured through the Client Intake Form which FACT uses for every visit which individual client makes to the RWC showed that sex workers are more vulnerable to HIV because they have multiple casual partners with whom they normally have unprotected sex as this is what the clients prefer. They cite that satisfied clients pay them more money which they need for sustenance. For community members, there was a mixture of non-use of prevention, as well as unfaithfulness to regular partners. The majority of drivers on the other hand revealed that they are faithful to one partner and use condoms for protection, most times.
Forbes clinic was nominated for best practices in the SADC region in 2016 mainly because in its effort to increase the number of Long Distance Truck Drivers accessing prevention, HTS and treatment services, it came up with what the clinic called the “Pizza delivery approach”.
This is a holistic package of bringing the earlier mentioned services to the clients at their doorstep(the transit truck park commonly known as the Dry port) instead of waiting for them to come to the clinic. During the outreaches routine blood pressure checks, CD4 count testing, and T-shirts distribution were used as the entry point to reach clients. This approach ensures uptake of services by truckers who normally chose to stay in the Dry port rather than visit the clinic.
Forbes RWC decided to use this approach after trial outreaches where they saw high numbers of drivers queuing up for services each time these were offered from the transit port.
The Behaviour Change Program (BC) – HIV Prevention
The Behaviour Change (BC) program focuses on transformation of individual and group behaviour as a means to reduce new HIV incidences. The overall goal of the program is to create demand and uptake for health related service and contribute to improved sexual and reproductive health outcomes through reducing incidences of maternal morbidity and mortality, cervical cancer, HIV and GBV for women and girls as well as the community at large.
Under the program, people and communities are sensitized to promote responsible practices, communication and behaviour change in sexual relationships. In 2016, the BC program continued to be implemented in all the seven districts covering 260 wards of Manicaland Province. FACT constantly enjoyed the voluntary services of its 234 Behaviour Change Facilitators (BCFs) and 30 Sista2sista mentors. The BC program is dually funded by Global Fund under the New Funding Model and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) under the Integrated Support Program. Both programs offered Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), HIV and Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevention used the home visit approach to reach families, couples and individuals to deliver messages aimed at creating demand and making referrals for uptake of health related services. The Sista2Sista Girls’ Clubs is a component of the Integrated Support Program that targets girls and young women. The club mentors provide information on SRHR, HIV and GBV prevention and social support network for vulnerable girls through scheduled meetings on various themes which enhance their self-efficacy and life skills.
The objectives of the BC program include:
• To generate demand for people to access HIV and AIDS and SRHR services and products.
• To improve availability of services and products for HIV and AIDS and sexual reproductive health.
• To integrate SRHR and GBV services into existing HIV prevention services and reproductive health care delivery.
• To strengthen community’s access to, uptake and utilization of Family Planning, HIV, Cervical Cancer and GBV services
• To increase community awareness of gender responsive laws, services and women’s rights
• To create awareness and strengthen the capacity of girls and young women to seek SRHR, HIV and GBV prevention services.
In the New Funding Model districts, FACT reached to 207 773 people with various services against a target of 137 088 whereas in the Integrated Support Program districts, a total of 132 026 people were reached against a target of 134 784. Services offered include information on maternal morbidity and mortality, cervical cancer screening, HIV and GBV prevention and sexual reproductive health.