Charity Women Association
Charity Women Association (CHAWOA) is community based organization formed and run by women living with HIV/AIDS, irrespective of race, culture, religion or social status. The organization was started in 2003 by 10 women affected by HIV/AIDS and living in soroti municipality. At that time, it served as a meeting group for experience sharing and consolation. Neither did the members know that the 10 member group would one day become an organization reaching thousands of women and children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The group (now CHAWOA) gained status as a local NGO status in 2013. CHAWOA has now changed from membership organization to services organization. CHAWOA has created forum for the empowerment of women to;
• Challenge stigma, discrimination and isolation
• Advocate for their rights and that of their children
• Support one another psychologically and materially
• Share experiences and encourage one another
• Develop coping strategies
The high concentration in camps led to the breakdown of communities which increased prevalence of HIV/AIDS as people had limited access to social services, poor housing, domestic violence (DV), rape, child labour and abuse, commercial sex and outbreak of communicable diseases etc. With all the underlying factors in the district’s HIV/AIDS weakened community livelihood caused far-reaching impact on the districts development efforts hence putting a strain on meagre resources that would be used for development needs both to the family and the district. CHAWOA then was formed to be part of the interventions to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS among women and children in TESO region and Uganda as a whole.
Objectives of the Organisation
- To reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in Teso sub-region in Eastern Uganda through education and awareness raising
- To contribute towards the women socio-economic empowerment through training, support of income generating activities and lobbying and advocating on their behalf.
- To improve the quality of life and to empower PLWHAs through skills development and sustainable livelihoods in the communities where CHAWOA works.
- To encourage education welfare especially among women through sensitization programs. Establishment of a girl child Nursery school, Girl child primary school, Girl child secondary school and Girl child vocational training Center.
•A society with sustainable health and wealth for people affected by HIV/AIDS and equal access to better and affordable services.
•Promoting longer healthier lives and economic freedom
•Support those affected by HIV/AIDS live in peace whilst sustaining their lives, supporting Health improvement and education, through confidence building programs & provision of resource management skills to enable improvement in household incomes for people living with HIV and Orphans and Vulnerable Children and their carers.
•Our aim is to support the prevention of HIV/AIDS, empowering those living with HIV to cope and self-manage.
* Accountability and Transparency * Compassion and Empathy * Confidentially * Dedicated service and being a safe space
Our Guiding Principles
§Our actions shall be guided by our core values
§We shall continue to offer service above self
§Esteem financial discipline
§We shall put in place checks and balances for quality control
§Respect for autonomy and dignity
What we do
·OVC education and well-being
·HIV/AIDS prevention and support
·Economic empowerment and livelihoods
·Advocacy on rights
Support Group Meetings
SGMs bring together clients within Soroti for peer support services with the objective of empowering them with knowledge and life skills to strengthen their ability to participate in developmental roles both socially and economically. Skills development sessions ranging from FAL classes( to make understand basic numeracy to manage their business), art and craft (beads making), Music Dance Drama, couple counselling, peer counselling using expert client, testimony telling, nutritional classes form the major components of SGM. Within this activity package, confidence building, improved relationships among couples, realisation of rights, reduced stigma and discrimination are enhanced.
CHAWOA VSLAs is to reduce poverty among marginalized members of the community especially women. These are autonomous groups that entice individual savings and promote saving culture in communities; increasing business capacity among members to enhance standard of living in families, increasing ownership, use and control of assets and property. We therefore, empower communities as economic agents and better their ability to access markets on competitive and equitable terms.
The mobile clinic specifically ensures that the health of the beneficiaries is improved by bringing health services closer to the people. Timely management of disease helps to reduce incidences of opportunistic infections, delay progress of disease, as well as monitoring adherence to treatment. This is to enable them live healthier, happier and therefore more fulfilled lives with dignity.The services offered include; Health Education, Counselling, Condom distribution, Voluntary counselling and testing, Management and treatment of opportunistic infections and assessment of clients who need to be enrolled on HBC program. Those who test HIV positive during VCT are linked referred to partner organisations like Uganda cares, The Aids Support Organisation, Aids information Centre, for their CD4 count and subsequent enrolment on HAART.
Home based care
Delivering support to the bed ridden HIV/AIDS clients at their homes; through counseling, provision 0f nutritional supplements, mosquito nets and home improvement with the objective of building their confidence and improving family relationships.
CHAWOA Community champions on Home Based Care train relatives and friends in home-based care for those in the late stages of AIDS to administer the type of care such patients require. Champions on Home Based Care representatives follow-up with counseling and needs to those who HIV screenings return positive. They provide counseling assistance to those with AIDS in their homes. Kitchen gardens and rearing of local poultry which has improved on their nutritional choices and this promoted longer healthier lives among women, children and men living with HIV/AIDS.
Support to children
School going children are supported with scholastic materials, counseling, carrier guidance, signing of school completion forms, training of child school committees.
Training PLHIV on Positive self-management
Positive Self-Management is important for persons living with HIV if they have to overcome the effects of chronic illness. Under the Positive Self-Management Programme CHAWOA develops the clients’ confidence and motivates them to use cognitive skills, information and professional services to take effective control of their physical, mental health and general well-being and enhance regular treatment and HIV-specific education.
The program gives beneficiaries cognitive skills for active participation and coordinates all the activities needed to manage their health
Sessions are facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with HIV. The Positive Self-Management Program does not conflict with existing programs or treatment. Subjects covered include:
1) How to best integrate medication regimens into daily life so they can be taken consistently
2) Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fear, fatigue, pain and isolation
3) Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance
4) Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
6) Evaluating symptoms
In the bid to improve on clients ability to overcome negative effects of HIV/AIDS, CHAWOA is currently running a seven weeks 2 ½ hour per week community training sessions.
It is the process in which the program is taught that makes it effective. Classes are highly participative, where mutual support and success build the participants' confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.
Couple outreaches are intended for building healthy relationships between key holders in a household i.e. wife and husband. Couples are engaged in sessions of practical show of love and commitment during the learning moment/meetings. Healthy relationship increases productivity as it promotes confidence, economic levels and critical observation of one another’s rights.
Community outreach service (Ekiiko)
Ekiiko is an open discussion forum where community members freely exchange ideas over pertinent issues affecting their lives and finding practical remedies, provide peer-led support and empowered to make informed decisions.