DEVLINK is involved in a number of activities that advocate for HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support for those affected including orphans and vulnerable children and women within our geographical coverage. Most of these activities and intervention are linked and overlap in their implementation. The following are the activities we undertake in our interventions in HIV/AIDS:
Care and Support of Women and Children Living With HIV/Aids (PLHIVs)
The following are our objectives:
- To promote active participation of women living with HIV/AIDS in intervention activities
- To address human rights needs of women living with HIV/AIDS
- To empower women economically to be able to reduce the socio-economic impacts of HIV/AIDS
- To address specific nutritional needs of PLHIVs
- To encourage agricultural activities for food security
Our Activities include:
- Human Rights Education/Legal Aid
- HIV/Aids, Gender, Culture and Stigma
- Economic Empowerement of Women Living with HIV/Aids
- Nutritional Support
- Agricultural Activities
Since the year 2005, DEVLINK has embarked on human rights advocacy for women living with HIV/AIDS in partnership with AMREF in Suba District. Widows are prone to rights infringement and this is compounded where their spouses die of AIDS related illnesses whereby the widow is blamed for his death. It is a fact in this community that women’s right to land and property is secured through marriage so that if marriage ends through death, all her rights to this property case unless she is ‘inherited’ by her brothers-in-law. The organization is educating and creating awareness to women on issues of ownership, access and control over rights. DEVLINK works closely with Federation of Women Lawyers of Kenya (FIDA) to assist in cases of rights infringement e.g. gender violence against women, denial of access to property and even inherit property.
It is a fact that cases of stigmatization has driven a lot of women living with HIV/AIDS go underground making it difficult to deal with the resultant problems of the syndrome such as access to health care, economic strain on families and even legal issues arising from the death of the spouse. PLWHAs ought to receive the same treatment as anyone else. The organization empowers and trains women living with HIV on their rights to enlighten them on human and constitutional rights that protect them. This has improved their self esteem and encourages positive living with the virus. A lot of them have managed to overcome the challenges of stigma in the community due to awareness creation. A number of them are living beyond stigma and are able to disclose their status and talk openly to the public. This has had a general positive impact on the management of the scourge for the PLWHAs.
While major efforts have been placed on management and care of HIV/AIDS patients, it is noted that needs of PLWHAs go beyond clinical care and treatment. Social support is paramount to address the impact of socio-economic impact on the community. Most women go through adverse economic pressure to cater for their families irrespective of their own health status. DEVLINK has intensified advocacy on self- reliance through a micro-credit scheme to promote income generating activities (IGAs) among PLHIVs. The organization has trained PLWHAs in micro-enterprise development as well as establishing a revolving fund scheme to meet their economic needs. As a result there has been an increase in the number of business activities in the community.
The organization has put more emphasis on nutrition as a strategy in reducing and alleviating the impact of HIV/AIDS. Our experience in the community reveals that poor nutrition in the rural areas accelerates the progression of HIV to AIDS. A lot of PLWHAs do not die because of the virus but rather due to poor nutrition and neglect. DEVLINK therefore developed a program integrating nutrition into HIV/AIDS management. HBC givers are trained on basic skills on health and nutrition for the sick including on how to prepare and handle food for the sick. Targeted food aid and home deliveries of nutritious food are provided in situations of food insecurity.
Food insecurity is perhaps the biggest challenge for those living with HIV/AIDS. DEVLINK introduced and trained women on modern agricultural practices and kitchen gardening including the provision of agronomically accepted seeds and water pumps. This has had a greater impact on food security in the community. The beneficiaries are trained by an agricultural officer who also monitors their farming activities back in the community. The introduction of water pumps ensures continuous food production throughout the year.