HIV Prevention Through Poverty Alleviation
The HIV incidence in NTT province is sharply increasing in the past 5 years. The higest incidence is the house-wife category, for about 30% of the cases. Belu district is one of the highest HIV incidence district.
Through the root cause analysis, we found that the house-wive was infected by her husbands who work as illegal migrant workers abroad.
Since more than ten years ago, the young adult from the villages in NTT (including from Belu district) working abroad, mostly as illegal workers, who have no access to proper health care services, either for curative treatment or for disease prevention.
The flow of young adult seeking money from abroad is due the poverty, there is no job in their villages, and sometime also no food, etc.
The income generating program run by Perdhaki and FSGM Sisters, which is funded by Central Fransiscannes Germanny, is the effort for poverty alleviation in Belu district.
The program is aimed to increase the income of people through 3 main activities : pig livestock, sorgum farming and weaving home industry.
In the begining, Sister Margaretha FSGM (Perdhaki’s HIV program officer) met with the Bischop of Attambua, describing the planning to empower village women through income generating program. The Bischop fully support the program and asking the priests to support the implementation of the program.
The program was starting in Kuneru village, Belu district (where the FSGM sister community stay), by initiating women organizations and empowering them through trainings and guidances. The training and guidance was conducted by FSGM sister in local parish and assisted by Perdhaki and experts from outside Belu/NTT.
The group consisting of about 20 women, who organize themself, by electing the board member, regular meeting and organizing training.
The specific activities are as follows :
- Pig livestock program.
- Sorgum farming activities.
- Weaving home industry activities.
Please see attachments for detailed narrative activities and picture of activities.
Four women groups had been set up and organized by themself : two groups conducting pig live stock program, one group conducting sorgum farming program and one group conducting weaving home industry.
Through these programs, they have earned some money for their children’s education and got some food for their daily life.
The pig live stock group’s member have been extended, so more house holds got benefit from this program.
Through these programs, the young adults in this district are not instanly following the “brokers” who seek them for illegal migrant workers. They have good alternative for earning money, other than becoming illegal migrant workers.
By the decreasing illegal migrant workers, it is hoping that the HIV transmission in this district will be also decreasing.
However, this program is conducting only in 3 parishes of Belu district. There are more than 50 parishes in this district and there are more than 20 districs in NTT province. So, the result in decreasing HIV incidence in the whole Belu district (and in the whole NTT province) is not yet significant.
This program is a first step of a great effort, that should be extended and duplicating to other parishes, to achieve significant result.