HIV/AIDS AND WOMEN ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
PD and Ghana Federation of the Urban Poor (GHAFUP) are taking positive steps to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic among slum dwellers in Ghana. They are providing support to Persons Living With HIV and AIDS through their community-led response to HIV/AIDS.
The two organizations are also embarking on community campaign and economic empowerment programmes aimed at minimizing women’s dependency on men’s for their livelihoods. This they believe will reduce women’s vulnerability and risk of sexual abuse by men which could lead to contraction of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS.
A start- up capital to the tune of GH¢4,000.00 was therefore made available for twenty (20) Persons Living With HIV and AIDS (PLWHAs) in Tulaku Ashaiman and Old Fadama within the Accra Metropolis to increase their incomes and reduce their vulnerabilities. In addition, treatment and nutritional support were also provided to PLWHAs and their dependants to reduce their burdens.
The HIV/AIDS and Economic Empowerment Program also provides the platform for PD and GHAFUP to build the capacity of HIV/AIDS community activists to provide HIV/AIDS education within slum communities in Ghana. As at December 2010, over 60 community activists were trained on how to conduct door-to-door campaigns and outreach which are regular features of the program. To help reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections over 10,000 condoms were distributed free of charge to community members within the two project areas.
PD and GHAFUP continue to provide HIV/AIDS exchange visits to interact and share ideas around ways for combating the HIV/AIDS scourge and how to live with people suffering from HIV/AIDS in their respective communities.
The program which has been running since 2007 is funded by the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and focuses on two slum /informal settlements namely Tulaku in Ashaiman and Old Fadama in Accra. PD and GHAFUP are currently exploring funding options to extend this intervention to other slum communities in the country.
WATER AND SANITATION
The Water and Sanitation Project of PD is striving with GHAFUP members to deliver potable water to rural communities along the Volta River. Their timely intervention has led to the construction of two mechanized boreholes with five public standpipes now distributing clean, safe and reliable water to over 4200 people within the various parts of the Abotoase community in the Jasikan District of the Volta Region.
The construction of the borehole and its distribution system had not only contributed to the elimination of waterborne diseases, but had also lifted the burden of trekking to fetch water which usually falls on women and girls with negative impact on girls’ education (giving them less time to spend on their studies).
It is also the expectation of the PD and GHAFUP that the availability of safe drinking water will encourage many qualified professionals such as teachers, health workers and other civil servants to accept postings into the area.
Tapa Abotoase is one of the numerous fishing communities along the Volta River with high level of water borne diseases such as bilharzias, cholera, diarrhea etc. Residents in the Tapa Abotoase community for example mainly rely on the polluted water from the Volta River for all household needs including bathing, washing and drinking. Availability of these water borne diseases had compelled many public service workers to decline postings into the community.
In addition, a 7-member Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) Committee was formed and provided with technical training for the management and operation of the new water supply system. The needed tools, equipment and operations manuals were provided to the WATSAN Committee to aid their work.