One Year On … Supporting Municipal Leaders in Addressing HIV/AIDS
“I believe that the issue of stigma and discrimination in Tanzania can be prevented by working closely with, and understanding the needs of key populations. Supporting them to access HIV and AIDS services and involving local and religious leaders and community members can go a long way in the fight against the pandemic”. United Nations Volunteer (UNV) Rehema Sanga, Dar es Salaam.
UNDP Tanzania has been instrumental in supporting local authorities to address the pandemic of HIV and AIDS. Through the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), UNDP provides financial and technical assistance as part of its programme of support under the United Nations Development Assistance Plan (UNDAP). One such intervention has been the deployment of qualified national UNVs to enhance institutional capacities on planning processes, implementation and monitoring of organizational activities, as well as mobilization of local resources for sustainable interventions. A group of 28 National UNVs deployed around the country formed part of this capacity enhancement to work with local authorities at the municipal level.
Two UN Volunteers were assigned to support the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV and AIDS (AMICAALL) Tanzania Chapter after having undertaken an intensive induction on community capacity enhancement through community conversations.
One year down the road, the two UNVs have supported capacity building activities on HIV prevention where a total number of;
- 98 (76 males and 22 females) council leaders were trained on interventions related to HIV prevention including behaviour change communication. They currently guide the lower level (community) HIV and AIDS response and actively involved in the budget preparation sessions for HIV in their councils.
- 43 (23 males and 20 females) representatives of Judiciary and Ministry of Home Affairs were trained on HIV, gender and key populations (KPs) issues. They are now responsible for capacity building of gender desk officers in police posts.
- 30 (14 males and 16 females) peer educators were trained on issues related to stigma and discrimination towards key populations. They now actively guide and support interventions on access to care, treatment and support services.
The UNVs have also supported AMICALL through the dissemination of the National Stigma and Discrimination Strategy (2012) by facilitating community dialogues to address social cultural issues related to HIV and AIDS prevention and challenges of reaching zero stigma and discrimination. As a result of this work, council leaders came up with strategies to enhance support services to key populations and also supported updated council plans which address reducing stigma and discrimination.
“I find that the added value of being a volunteer is in working directly with the communities which creates closeness and understanding with these communities that helps us to involve them in activities that concern them, in making them aware of the basic services available and of how to access these services. I am delighted to be working closely with the communities. I feel a sense of responsibility but also of personal satisfaction”. United Nations Volunteer (UNV) Florah Samwel, Dar es Salaam.