Notes to broadcasters
To help cope with the impact of HIV/AIDS in their communities, Africans have established a wide range of social support activities. These activities serve to share the burden of increasing workloads. Sometimes they are initiated by the community itself, or they may be started and supported by outside agencies, such as government, NGOs or religious institutions. This wide range of strategies includes:
- Loans and savings clubs
- Shared child care
- Labour-saving clubs
- Funeral funds/Burial societies
- Social support groups
- Community grain banks
Coping strategies that are developed locally are often the most practical and least expensive to implement. Broadcasters have an opportunity to promote and support local coping strategies by featuring them in radio programs.
The following script features two hosts discussing a variety of approaches to the labour shortages that have resulted from HIV and AIDS. Please see the end of the script for descriptions of some of the coping strategies mentioned in the script.
– END –
Examples of informal grassroots community organizations
Burial societies provide mutual assistance to members in rural areas in the event of death and illness. They offer a measure of financial security when a family member dies; they also provide some of the other social needs of their members. Burial society members might also devote part of their time to helping bereaved families by cultivating their fields. Burial societies work in different ways; sometimes there is spontaneous giving at the time of the death, or people make contributions over a period of time and at the time of the funeral the funds are made available.
There are many variations of a savings club. Generally members hold a meeting to decide what they want to save for during a period of time, for example a year. They decide on their requirements for seed, fertilizer and insecticides. These supplies are then ordered in bulk to benefit from quantity discounts.
A ROSCA is a group of people who agree to make contributions to a fund which is given to each contributor in turn; each member makes the same contribution. After everyone has had their turn in receiving the contributions, the group may disband or start another cycle.
A grain bank is a community-based institution run by a village or a group of villages. It is managed by a committee elected by the community. A grain bank can work in several different ways. It generally provides grain to people at prices they can afford when food supplies are low.
In the grain saving scheme the grain is produced for free by community labour. Contributions of seed and fertilizer are an integral part of the scheme, helping to ensure that the harvests are meaningful and can stretch a long way to assist needy households.
– END –
- Contributed by Jennifer Pittet, Thornbury, Canada.
- Reviewed by Gladys Mutangadura, Economic Affairs Officer, UNECA – Southern Africa Office, Zambia.
- Mutangadura, Gladys, et al. A review of household and community responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. UNAIDS, 1999.
- Schapink, Dick, et al. Rural workers’ contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS: A framework for district and community action. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, 2001.
- Fall, Abdou. Cereal banks – at your service? The story of Toundeu-Patar: A village somewhere in the Sahel. Published by Oxfam on behalf of the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), 1991.