Impact of Cultural Beliefs and Practices on HIVAIDS Prevention in Africa

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					Impact of Cultural Beliefs and Practices on
    HIV/AIDS Prevention in Africa

Erline Belton, President/CEO   Rev. Evatt Mugarura
The Lyceum Group               Director, Africa Program
Boston, MA                     The Balm In Gilead
        Overview of Presentation
n   About The Balm In Gilead’s Africa HIV/AIDS
    Faith Initiative
n   Addressing HIV/AIDS within the context of
    specific cultures within and across countries
n   Faith leaders play a significant role in shaping
    the cultural beliefs and practices that influence
    HIV/AIDS behavior and attitudes
n   Some cultural beliefs and practices promote
    the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
Our Mission
    The Balm In Gilead is a not-for-
      profit, non-governmental
      organization with an
      international mission to stop the
      spread of HIV/AIDS throughout
      the African Diaspora by building
      the capacity of faith communities
      to provide AIDS education,
      services and support networks for
      all people living with and affected
      by HIV/AIDS.
Organizational Objectives
           Build the capacity of faith
            communities to:
               l   Provide compassionate
                   leadership in the
                   prevention of HIV;
               l   Disseminate HIV
               l   Deliver supportive
                   services to those
                   infected and affected.
    Throughout Black communities
 worldwide, churches and mosques are
considered by the people to be the most
 important institution in the community.
       The Balm In Gilead’s
 The Africa HIV/AIDS Faith Initiative
  Cote d’ Ivoire * Kenya * Nigeria * Tanzania


An initiative designed to build a sustainable
    health education and service delivery
         system in which African faith
  communities can operate independently.
    The Balm In Gilead’s
The Africa HIV/AIDS Faith Initiative

            Program Goal

      Increase the capacity of faith
communities to become an effective force
in the fight against the AIDS pandemic in
 Cote d’ Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania
              and Zimbabwe.
     The Balm In Gilead’s
Africa HIV/AIDS Faith Initiative

Establish an International Partnership
         Developing Synergy

            Zimbabwe         Cote d’Iviore

                  The BALM
        Kenya     IN GILEAD

The Role of Religious Leaders in
 Addressing HIV/AIDS in Africa
n   Religious leaders are the most influential and respected in
    throughout the community and they are unparalleled in
    their ability to reach Africans across gender, age and
    economic characteristics to address the AIDS crisis.

n   Religious leaders have a consistent voluntary audience
    every Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

n   Religious leaders are with the people in time of happiness
    and sorrow
Some Identified Cultural Beliefs,
values and Practices that must be
   Considered In Addressing
       HIV/AIDS in Africa
n   Marriage (Abstinence, child bearing,
n   Initiation into Adulthood (Circumcision,
    FGM, Sex Education)
n   Death (Life after Death)
n   Religion and Spirituality are central in an
    African’s Daily Life
n   Rituals are a part of every tasks, example:
    planting corn or yams requires a blessing
    from the elders or ancestors
Barriers Related to Working With
 Faith Communities Effectively
n   Lack of identified principles
n   No strategic systems approach
n   Lack of understanding of the settings
n   Unwillingness to improve and use existing
n   Overlooking people’s ideas
n   Lack of cultural relevancy
n   Operating form an EXPERT point of view
        Guidelines Related to
      Cultural/Religious Realities
n   Identify Principles
n   Take a Systematic Approach
n   Understand the setting or environment
n   Use, support and improve existing
n   Test personal assumptions and beliefs
n   Engage religious leaders in dialogue to get
    their support and leadership
n   Approach the work as a teacher and
n   Build on existing infrastructures
n   Meet people where they are (build on their
n   Address HIV/AIDS in a context of people’s
    daily lives
      Recommendations Cont.
n   Ensure that people you choose to hire are
    competent and culturally relevant to the
    population you serve.
n   Develop leadership skills and a strong
    sustainable system for communities to
    operate independently after your
Wisdom does not live
    in one house.
  *Ashanti Proverb*

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