PEPFAR small grant funded project was implemented by the West Africa AIDS Foundation between September 2015 and June 2016.
Following the stakeholders consultative meeting was the identification and designing of approaches tailored to connect activities to set goals. For proper harmonization and partnership fostering, some KP focused CSOs and individuals from marginalized communities were engaged to help in the design of strategies taking into consideration those that would ensure far-reaching impact. Organizations such as CEPEHRG and Maritime Precious Life Foundation played key roles in developing the strategies.
Key to the success of the project was the involvement of Peer Educators and so they were recruited. Having in mind the sensitivity of data to be collected, WAAF decided to recruit members from the affected population to act as peers and mentors to their colleagues.
The idea was to promote integration and create an atmosphere that allows for easy access to stigma free HIV information. The training program was then organized to increase the knowledge of the selected PEs so they can impact meaningfully to their peers. A total of 20 peer educators were trained.
Peer educators after undergoing capacity building training were then tasked to engage in advocacy, communication and social mobilization activities. They engaged in one-on-one and small group activities with the objective of influencing behavior change among their peers particularly on reporting cases of rights abuse to CHRAJ using the online system.
Creation of demand for services was definitely reached with this project as well as many understanding the need to go in for further health checks and also where to go. Unfortunately though various strategies were used, the project was not successful in getting the desired number of people to report issues of rights violations onto the Discrimination Reporting System.
Overall, the project was successful in various ways. The project was able to complement the efforts of many other projects targeting Key Populations to ensure their wellbeing. Through this project, WAAF was able to leverage funds through a project funded by the Dutch Embassy that is making it possible to expand community outreach screening exercises for Key Population members.
Additionally, WAAF has come to know some very key reasons why people, especially the target population – PLHIVs, MSMs and FSWs, despite various trainings by WAAF and CHRAJ as well as awareness creation by CHRAJ on the existence of the online DRS are not making use of this platform.
These findings will surely help in strategizing way forward on how to effectively and efficiently make use of the DRS for the purposes it was intended for. The project has also created stronger linkages between various actors working in the field of Key Population health and this will only ensure enhanced results by many as we all move on with our various projects.
The successful implementation of this project has been because of WAAFs commitment and drive to see neglected communities being empowered to live healthy lives. Our efforts have always prioritized on helping to close the gaps that exist in access to quality health care.
To contribute to this global call, WAAF continues to be committed into fostering collaboration with community members and agencies whose operations contribute to creating enabling environment for improved health outcomes for key affected populations.
Our programs and engagement have always prioritized on getting people informed about repercussions of stigma and how it can be prevented. Beyond fighting stigma, WAAF has also been teaming up with several human rights agencies to advocate and seek for the protection of rights of Key affected populations.
WAAF believes that getting to an AIDS free generation will only be possible when there is broader engagement and collaboration to maximize resources and ensure efficiencies in the fight against HIV.