Our partners in HIV work
SAfAIDS, South Africa
Lois Chingandu is the Executive Director for SAfAIDS in Southern Africa. Lois has over 15 years experience in designing, managing HIV and health programs in Africa. She has an in-depth understanding of HIV and AIDS, prevention, treatment, care, gender, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) issues that come from hands on experience of working with marginalized communities in Southern Africa.
In the last 4 years with SAfAIDS, Lois has used this experience to develop and publish a variety of HIV and AIDS materials, books and toolkits that are used for mobilizing and training service providers and communities on different HIV and AIDS issues. In the process, she has played a critical role in advocating for policy changes for the betterment of women and children at regional and international fora.
SAfAIDS' goal is to disseminate information in order to promote, inform and support appropriate responses to HIV and AIDS in the fields of prevention, care, long-term planning and coping with the impact of the epidemic in the region. SAfAIDS encourages responses to HIV and AIDS from socioeconomic, political and cultural perspectives since HIV is not solely a health problem. SAfAIDS has also prioritized the issues of gender, human rights and development in finding appropriate ways to mitigate the impact of the epidemic. Read more about SAfAIDS.
Seke Rural Home Based Care, Zimbabwe
Veronica Negwerembe is Director and a founder of Seke Rural Home-Based Care, providing home-based care for clients with HIV and AIDS in rural Zimbabwe since 2001. Seke Rural Health incorporates a sustainable livelihoods approach to their work. They also actively participate in communication, advocacy and policy development for improvements in home-based HIV and AIDS access, treatment and care.
Seke successfully implemented a series of ground-breaking 'Community Culture Dialogues exploring challenges to gender and HIV and AIDS and fighting unprogressive cultural practices that fuel the spread of the disease.
Seke has also recently mobilized a community-based paralegal project in partnership with the Zimbabwe Women Lawyer's Association. In an attempt to protect women and children from disinheritance following the death of a spouse from HIV and AIDS, Seke has trained local women as paralegals. They work within the community to disseminate information on women's property and land rights and further develop cases when these rights have been taken away.
Voices of Positive Women
Meskerem W. Tebeje is the community partnerships co-ordinator at Voices of Positive Women (VOPW).
Kara Gillies is the Executive Director of Voices of Positive Women and has over eighteen years' experience working with marginalized communities, including HIV positive women, and has a strong commitment to social justice issues.
VOPW is a leading AIDS Service organization that serves HIV positive women across Ontario. As a Voices staff member, Meskerem is responsible for maintaining existing partnerships and forging new ones with AIDS Service Organizations as well as women's and community organizations in Ontario. She also coordinates ongoing prevention workshops and trainings for vulnerable women including women from the priority areas and from endemic countries. She chairs the communications advisory committee at Voices and is responsible for its communications strategies including the VOPW website and the quarterly FYI newsletter.
VOPW aims to:
- Empower women living with HIV/AIDS through confidential support, outreach, information and education;
- Represent the issues of women living with HIV and AIDS in order to improve HIV+ women's quality of life;
- Educate the public by promoting accurate, affirming images of women living with HIV and AIDS.
Healing Our Nations
Monique Fong is the Executive Director of Healing Our Nations, an organization dedicated to educating First Nations communities across Nova Scotia about HIV and AIDS. However, eliminating the spread of AIDS in First Nation communities is not the only focus of Healing Our Nations. They see this disease as a symptom of a greater problem. As a result, their goal is to help First Nation people rediscover their pride, traditions, and spirituality in an attempt to improve child development and eliminate family violence.
Recently, Healing Our Nations conducted focus groups with First Nations women in Atlantic Canada to better identify and then respond to their needs regarding HIV and AIDS. The stigma surrounding HIV makes it very difficult for women to come forward to ask for information or assistance. Low self-esteem and a sense of powerlessness make protection and treatment a challenge. Residential school trauma has prevented family education about healthy sexuality and can link sexuality with guilt and shame.
To begin to break these devastating patterns, Healing Our Nations has developed and piloted a workshop series for First Nation women with a focus on self-esteem, healthy boundaries and healthy relationships.
Read more about www.hon93.ca
Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE)
Darien Taylor is the Director of Program Delivery at the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange, a national organization providing information on a wide range of topics related to HIV disease. For 20 years, Darien has been living with HIV. During this time, she has worked with community organizations, as well as with the provincial and federal governments on HIV/AIDS issues. Darien is the co-founder of Voices of Positive Women, a provincial organization run by and for women living with HIV and the co-editor of Positive Women: Voices of Women with AIDS, an international anthology of works by women living with HIV published by Sumach Press.
Read more about www.catie.ca