Development Initiatives International (DII) through its project the Market Vendors AIDS Project (MAVAP), has been implementing workplace based programs among the informal sector communities since it was founded in 2004. The hallmark of the MAVAP implementation approach is through use of peer educators. Therefore DII adopted a deliberate approach to work with communities as partners as opposed to the conventional approach of perceiving communities as just beneficiaries.
Cognizant of the skills gaps faced by community leaders in their attempt to participate in planning, decision making and implementation processes of projects, the organization designed and implemented robust capacity building programs for community leaders.
The problem of HIV/AIDS in Uganda still possesses a big obstacle with regard to attaining better health for the population. It is now widely accepted that HIV/AIDS is not just a health issue. Its impact cuts across all sectors of life.
While many organizations have developed capacity in HIV/AIDS prevention and care and support for PLWAS, HIV/AIDS mitigation activities in the informal sector are still very limited. According to the Census report of 2002, the informal sector in Uganda constitutes approximately 85% of the entire workforce of Uganda. It is therefore imperative that HIV prevention and treatment efforts for the informal economy workers are strengthened in order to prevent new infections and mitigate the impact of HIV on this sector.
VCT is essential in the fight against HIV/ AIDS because knowing one’s HIV negative can serve as a strong motivating factor for such a person to remain negative, particularly for those who may otherwise assume it is too late to adopt safer sexual practices. For people who test positive, DII sensitize and motivates them into adopting healthy lifestyle that improves their health status.
This involves two counseling sessions: one prior to taking the test known as “Pre-test counseling” and one following the HIV test when the results are given, often referred to as “Post-test counseling”.
Development Initiatives International (DII) is implementing HIV/AIDS prevention programs in the informal sector specifically market communities. After conducting a situation analysis in St. Balikuddembe market, it was realized that malaria is a great challenge to women in the market. Women reported frequent episodes of malaria attack of about once in a month and further explained that one single malaria attack would mean being absent from work for at least four days – causing a great loss to their earning.