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Project Support Association of Southern Africa

Initiating HIV AIDS Community Programmes From 1996 to 2004

Dr Kelvin Billinghurst

SARPN acknowledges permission from Dr Kelvin Billinghurst of the Project Support Association of Southern Africa to post this report on the SARPN website. Comments on this report can be sent to the author at kelvinbillinghurst@worldonline.co.za
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Executive Summary

HIV AIDS has been steadily increasing in Southern Africa since the early 1990ís. Mpumalanga Province in South Africa, with its heavy industry, tourism, common boarders and poorer communities has been particularly hit with HIV prevalenceís in the total population recorded at 21.7%. In partnership with the private sector, government health services and local communities a peer education prevention project targeting disadvantaged women in the Kriel community was established late 1996. Early monitoring data indicated a high exposure by the community to the project with increasing numbers of condoms being distributed. Later information demonstrated the positive outcomes and positive behavioural change.

The success of the peer education model used was then duplicated through out the province to other communities of Mpumalanga with 23 projects using 533 community volunteers at the beginning of 1998. A Non Profit Organization was established to manage the increasing number of projects and facilitate communities with new prevention initiatives. Later named the Project Support Association of Southern Africa (PSASA) it worked in close association with the Project Support Group (PSG) and went on to support Home Based Care activities.

Increasing numbers of community prevention and mitigation activities resulted in a number of challenges. Despite this, PSASA continued to expand the number and types of activities. By the end of 2004, PSASA was supporting 84 prevention activities (community, youth, student and workplace peer education activities) using 1730 volunteers and 108 mitigation activities targeting the sick dying and orphans and vulnerable children (using over 1200 volunteers). A key to the success of rapidly scaling up HIV programme activities is attributed to the energy and motivated staff using an effective model with support by numerous different partners. PSASA has gone on to develop its programmes in Mozambique, Swaziland and KZN.

This extensive community programmes resulted in the PSASA staff being awarded the African Heritage Foundation Trust award in December 2003. Future expansion is planned especially in the context of the National ARV roll out and to continue expanding OVC programmes.



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