ZNNP+ capacity building networks reap rewards

BENEFICIARIES of a capacity building programme for people living with HIV and Aids have lauded the Zimbabwe Network for People living with HIV and Aids (ZNNP+) for empowering them through networks for people living with HIV/Aids in Mt Darwin.

It all started as a capacity building programme — Income Saving and Lending (ISAL) — for people living with HIV/Aids in 2015 but now the effort has changed the lifestyle of the members of the groups and the community at large.
ZNNP+ Mashonaland Central provincial coordinator Simba Guzha said they wanted to fight stigma and discrimination on people living with HIV/Aids which affected many in rural communities.

“Through our capacity building programme, we brought together people living with HIV/Aids in various wards in Mt Darwin District and trained them on ISAL and how to start up viable Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) projects like tuckshops, chicken, rabbits and goat-rearing.

“Besides SMEs, the platform also help in facilitating communities in learning about how HIV and Aids is spread, how to deal with stigma and discrimination and mostly promotion positive living for people living with HIV/Aids.”
Loicy Mutyambizi, the chairperson of Hazvidi Hope — ten-member group — in Mt Darwin Ridgeview Ward 26 expressed her gratitude to ZNNP+ with the assistance they have offered her group from its inception.

“After training, we were convinced that we could start our own small businesses. We started mukando (a fund were every group member would contribute an equal share) for $5 and lend the money to group members who would pay back the money with interest.

After raising a considerable amount, we started a broiler-rearing project which was so successful.

“We sold the broilers, shared the profit and ploughed back the capital. The money has been handy as members of the group can buy nutritious food, clothes, household utensils and pay tuition fees for their children.”

“With the community realising the success of our project, many people started chicken-rearing projects and as a result, the market was flooded and it was no longer viable.

“So we stopped rearing chickens and started on rabbits and ducks. At the moment, we have 96 ducks and 48 rabbits.

“We sell ducks for $10 each and rabbits for $8. The market is however, not very good here. We are appealing if we could get a market to sell our produce probably in Harare where prices are said to be reasonable.

Another group member, Mai Rashamoto, said she is happy to be where she is because of this group.

“I am an unemployed widow and have three children who all are going to school I can now pay school fees, buy other necessities and food for my children and have extra money for bus fare to fetch my drugs”

Munda Group in Mutwa Ward 20, who ventured in the tuckshop business, said they were happy with the progress they have achieved so far. The group chairperson Monica Mutepfaire said after selling their stock they realised profit which they used to buy two goats for each member of the group.

“Our lives have changed for the better. We are now proud owners of goats. Some now have up to five goats from the two that we bought for each member.

“Our customers take goods on credit and pay later, some pay with chickens and we have over 100 road runners now.
“We also lend our money to other group members who are into tobacco farming who at times need money to buy chemicals and fertilisers and they can pay back as soon as they sell their produce”

ZNNP+ community advocacy officer Mt Darwin District Padington Nyamugara said they are impressed with the initiative as it promotes positive living among people living with HIV and Aids.

“The coming together of people living with HIV and Aids for such projects is good because it gives them substantial income and at the same time promotes positive living as they can give each other some counselling and save as a platform to share information on healthy living.

“As you can see issues of stigma are a thing of the past as they can openly share information on their status.

Guzha added that they are impressed with the results of their ISAL project in their quest to provide equitable access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment to people who are infected and/or affected by HIV and Aids.

The programme has played a key role in increasing participation and linking people with HIV and Aids to relevant services such as voluntary counselling and testing, preventing mother-to-child transmission.

He, however, expressed concern on the unavailability of viral load testing machines in the district as people have to travel to Bindura or Harare for the service which is costly and results in shunning of the service thereby compromising the efficacy of such interventions. —Jawet Chiguvare

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