Malawi

In the safe spaces that JASS Southern Africa creates, Malawian women have found growing confidence to tell their own stories, even when these concern taboos. While a great many women are involved in transactional or survival sex, the power of stigma prevents them from being open about it. Gradually, however, this too is changing. Sarah (not her real name) bravely shares her story with us in her own words.
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Founded by People living with HIV (PLHIV) in 1997, MANET+ is a coordinating and facilitating body that promotes effective networking amongst associations and support groups of people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS and organisations working on HIV/AIDS.
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The National Association for People Living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi (NAPHAM) was established in 1993 by a small group of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) who observed that their needs were not being met. A membership organisation active in all 28 districts of Malawi, NAPHAM fights against stigma and discrimination, advocates for supportive environments for PLHIV, and facilitates localised support groups for those who are infected and directly affected by HIV and AIDS.
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Women for Fair Development (WOFAD) is a community based organisation that works to improve the living standards of women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS by economically empowering women, reducing stigma and discrimination among women and in their communities, conducting women’s rights sensitization activities and encouraging people to go for voluntary HIV counseling and testing.
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ActionAid implements grassroots integrated long-term development work in 14 districts of Malawi. ActionAid’s work at the community level forms the basis for engaging on national and international issues that cause and perpetuate poverty. Through policy and advocacy work, ActionAid aims to empower poor and excluded people to demand and achieve their basic rights.
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The Coalition of Women living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi (COWLHA) is a grassroots organization based in Lilongwe and active in every district of Malawi. Working with a wide range of partners, COWLHA’s members bring the issues of women living with HIV to the national stage, while providing them with support. Over 50,000 members-strong after two years of operation, COWLHA provides a space for women to meet with leaders, receive microfinance support, and advocate for their needs
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MANERELA+ is a voluntary membership network of religious leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS in Malawi. Its overall purpose is to reduce stigma, silence, denial, discrimination, inaction and miss-action (SSDDIM) with the faith community through the involvement of Religious Leaders living with or personally affected by HIV/AIDS as agents of change at both congregational and national level. JASS works with MANERELA+ to support women’s organising in Malawi, bringing its large constituency and linkages from the community level to policymaking bodies to bear.
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Malawi Women’s Forum is a broad-based, more than 1200-strong grassroots women’s network that promotes rural women’s economic and political empowerment, access to development resources for livelihoods, literacy, and women’s rights throughout Malawi. JASS partners with several branches of Women’s Forum (Lilongwe Urban, Northern Region) to mobilise women activists.
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Writer, feminist researcher, and market organiser, Dudziro Nhengu (Zimbabwe), interviewed Malawian activist, Tiwonge Gondwe in Istanbul, Turkey (April, 2012).
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