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Malawian Women Activists Demand Better ARVs

  • JASS

Mobilizing Women’s Collective Power

The dynamic Our Bodies, Our Lives: the fight for better ARVs (antiretrovirals) campaign is a woman-centered effort that is the culmination of over three years of grassroots women’s organizing. Women activists living with and affected by HIV and AIDS, hailing from a broad range of organizations and networks from across Malawi, built this campaign collectively from the ground up. From conducting activist research in thirteen districts spanning over 900 women and men to designing effective messages and composing a radio segment that is receiving nationwide exposure—women are making their demands a reality.

Organizations involved in this initiative: Manerela+, NAPHAM, COWHLA (Coalition of Women Living with or affected by HIV & AIDS), WOFAD (Women for Fair Development), TILIPO (Teachers Living Positively), ActionAid Malawi, Women Forum and JASS Southern Africa.

Check out the schedule of key events and highlights over the next week!


Opening press conference
October 19th, 9:00 – 10:00
Women activist leaders and key organizers will meet with approximately 30 journalists to brief them on the campaign and upcoming processes.

National dialogue
October 20th – 22nd
Hosted by women activist leaders, Manerela+ and JASS
Women activists will meet over two days to reflect and celebrate the official launch of their campaign to demand better ARVs from the government and mobilize resources for positive women across the country. Women will also meet with Ministry of Health officials and other key decision-makers.

Participants at Our Bodies, Our Lives - campaign in Malawi for ARVs

Presentation to the Ministry of Health (the vice president of Malawi) on women’s demands
October 22nd, 10.00 – 12.00
Joining in solidarity, women will present their demands to the Minister of Health

Lilongwe March to S.A.V.E Children and Their Mothers from HIV Infections, Stigma & Preventable Deaths
October 22nd, 14:00 – 17:00
Location: Lilongwe City Centre
Public march hosted by SAVE. Joining in solidarity with hundreds of other organizers and activists from across Malawi, women activists will take the campaign to the streets.

Interfaith service
October 21st, 2:00 – 4:00pm
Location: Kalikuti Hotel
Women pastors and preachers will lead an interfaith and interdenominational service with progressive religions leaders and women activists. These religious leaders, preachers and pastors endorse the messages of the campaign that call for (among other things) 1. A portion of church contributions to go towards the realization of quality ARVs and 2. Religious leaders to take an active role in supporting women living with HIV and reducing stigma.

Global Race to S.A.V.E. Lives from HIV and AIDS International Conference

Convened by the Malawi Interfaith AIDS Association (MIAA), the Global Race to S.A.V.E. Lives from HIV and AIDS International Conference will take place from October 23rd to 26th, and aims to share the latest research and best practices in order to inform HIV/AIDS policy, program design and implementation. The conference is also a vital opportunity to promote networking and collaboration among faith leaders, stakeholders, key organizations and decision-makers. The women-led campaign will be a powerful and visible force during the conference, including presenting two sessions and coordinating a women’s booth:

Session 1
Track A: HIV prevention: behavior change communications and bio-medical interventions, Women’s Empowerment to Save Lives in the Fight against HIV/AIDS
October 23rd 16:00 – 17:30
Session #: C0061

Session 2
Track C: Impact mitigation: social, economic and psycho-social, HIV/AIDS, Social Stigma and Discrimination: Women’s Bodies, Women’s Lives
October 25th 16:00 – 17:30
Session #: C0151

Women’s Booth
A safe space where women can meet, connect, share their experiences and a women-centered analysis. The booth will also be a vital learning and networking opportunity as well as an information-sharing zone to get involved with organizations doing the important work of fighting on the side of women infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

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