Malawi

“How are women expected to negotiate safer sex if they are refused the power to negotiate the very act of sex?” asks JASS Regional Coordinator, Shereen Essof as JASS Southern Africa's partner, MANERELA+, presented a key paper that underlines the correlation between the legal impunity of marital rape and the high prevalence of HIV in Malawi at the
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JASS’ Malawi Movement Building Initiative – Amayi Tadzuka! Women Awake! –launched in February 2009 with three workshops in Lilongwe, Mzuzu, and Blantyre. Then, at the end of 2009, a national workshop consolidated the transformative process with district-level leaders from February, together with their national-level coordinators.
JASS’ Malawi Movement Building Initiative – Amayi Tadzuka! Women Awake! –launched in February 2009 with three workshops in Lilongwe, Mzuzu, and Blantyre. Then, at the end of 2009, a national workshop consolidated the transformative process with district-level leaders from February, together with their national-level coordinators.
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Women living with HIV who are leaders in the AIDS movement in their communities in Malawi came together for the start of a four-day workshop organized by JASS. They started by creating startling and beautiful body maps. They did it without any artists to help. In groups of five, the women started by outlining their bodies on large sheets of paper. Each woman was drawn by the other women in the group. People stayed in their small groups to do this, sharing magic markers and other art materials. Through a series of imaginative exercises they added parts to the outline of their bodies.
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JASS Southern Africa is building the leadership and organizing capacity of Malawian women to pressure local and national government to make development resources accessible and to deliver on laws that supportwomen and HIV‐positive people. By organizing the power of their numbers, women can make their voices heard in order to confront stigma, increase access to healthcare, and improve basic livelihoods.
The JASS team held movement building workshops in three regions of Malawi. Each workshop convened 20 grassroots activists living with and working on HIV/AIDS to share experiences, support each other, discuss and dramatize power dynamics and strengthen their organizing strategies. "...Almost every woman who attends the workshops talks about the disruption of her life by HIV and AIDS but they also share stories of rebellion (crossing the line) and coming to terms with defying the cultural norms..." reflects Hope Chigudu (JASS team).
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The International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, August 3-8, 2008 provided an important opportunity for JASS activists to understand, face-to-face, the politics and actors dominating global decision-making on HIV/AIDS and to make their voices heard at this important international gathering. The JASS delegation was comprised of seven Southern African activists, five Mesoamerican activists – including two journalists from JASS’ strategic partner, Feminist International Radio Endeavor (FIRE) based in Costa Rica – and three members of the JASS crossregional team.
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