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Society For Women and AIDS in Kenya
SWAK's Mission is to concentrate and focus on Women in relation to HIV infection, their needs and problems and vulnerability. To achieve this, SWAK will seek to sensitize,especially the rural women in relation to AIDS epidemic and related problems. This will help mobilise grass root communities to fight and manage HIV/AIDS.
Society of Women and Aids in Kenya (SWAK) is a non profit, non governmental organisation registered in August, 1996. SWAK'S first major undertaking was a leadership mobilization workshop that was held on December 9th to 11th 1998 at the Kenya College of Communication Technology in Nairobi Kenya. During the workshop participants developed action plans and strategies that will help strengthen existing structures especially women organisations and initiatives formulated to fight HIV/AIDS. One key recommendation was the establishing of coordinating offices at the national and regional levels. These offices will provide essential infrastructure for networking, training, and advocacy activities for women in Kenya.
African women are increasingly failing to cope with the heavy burden placed on them by HIV/AIDS and Kenyan women are no exception. In Kenya, women are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection because of the key social role they fulfil as family caretakers and providers of food. 77% of all female HIV infections in the world occur in Sub-Sahara Africa. In Kenya today, the number of women affected with HIV equals the number of men. official estimate of affected women now stand at 750,000.The age of these infections is concerning. Within the 15-24 year age group, female have twice as many HIV infections as males. The peak ages for AIDS on women cases among women are 25-29 as opposed to 30-34 for males. A greater care burden falls on women than men .In addition, research shows, that AIDS progresses faster in HIV infected women than HIV-positive men. Post-natal transmission is increasing, and many children are orphaned at a very young age. The impact of the pandemic on women and girls, in Kenya requires interventions tailored to their needs.
Mobilisation of grass-roots communities to fight and manage HIV/AIDS through sensitization, advocacy and lobbying. This is achieved by holding training workshops in all the eight provinces of Kenya. The workshops target sexually active adolescents and women who are at a higher risk of contracting HIV. Other workshops will be aimed at developing programmes that emphasise on the agency to equip women with the knowledge and empower them to fight the spread of HIV and end destructive cultural practises.
Accurate and effective publications and information in print and electronic media will be developed. This involves lobbying and advocacy work among policy makers to effect change on policy and legal reforms directly relating towards the spread of HIV versus women and children.
SWAK intends to work closely with communities, other non-governmental organisations, parliament and the Government to help curb the spread of HIV/AIDS and improve community care.
Two coordinators share management, outreach and monitoring responsibilities. In addition, a personal assistant helps run the central secretariat. The Secretariat Team is supported by HIV/AIDS experts, health workers and women leaders .Formulation and implementation of programmes are in line with government policies as stipulated in Sessional Paper No.4 on HIV/AIDS.