Our partnership with Obanga Ber Women’s Group began before they were a group. Then they were a group of 31 unconnected HIV+ women participating in a livelihoods and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) project in Boroboro, Northern Unganda with CAP/AIDS. The project changed the women’s lives and their families. The 31 positive women were empowered, not only on increasing their incomes, but on their knowledge of preventing HIV/AIDS and went on to mentor other mothers on HIV/AIDS prevention. On founding Obanga Ber Women’s Group, the women realized that what had just come to be in their own lives – security, hope, health, knowledge, incomes and their children in school and new friendships formed could also be shared with other community members at the fringes.
CAP/AIDS is working with Obanga Ber’s Woman’s Group to increase their capacity to respond to their community, and to assist in expanding their work around livelihoods.
The Obanga Ber Women’s Group uses drama, connects with youth groups and organizes community meetings to reach people, while also visiting the homes of HIV/AIDS positive individuals and vulnerable members of their communities. Connecting and networking with others has been an essential part of Obanga Ber’s success. For, example, connecting with a local clinic the group successfully advocated for their district to be included in health zoning, so everyone in their community would have access medical supports. Part of networking is building trust between people, sharing knowledge and working against discrimination which propels their work. Obanga Ber Women’s Group, for example, invites local business leaders in to train community members on running a business. Savings and loan programs are also being built towards the goal of increasing sustainable livelihoods for more community members.