For those of you who follow Empower Tanzania’s Improving Women’s Health Program (IWHP), prepare to have your mind blown by some amazing statistics from this last unit on HIV/AIDS!

The Improving Women’s Health Program took on HIV/AIDS prevention this year as one of its educational topics because women have a higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania. Younger ages for marriage in women as opposed to men contribute to this difference as does gender inequality, which makes negotiating safe sex difficult for women.

The first thing we noticed was the sheer number of people our 33 Community Health Educators (CHEs) were able to reach. Working only part time for a small stipend, these dedicated women:

>Gave a total of 932 presentations (over 28/CHE)

>Educated a total of 33,237 (60% female, 40% male)

>Presented to small neighborhood groups, at schools, in hospitals, churches, and ward government offices

>Performed follow-up surveys on 23,912 attendees and found that 99% of attendees retained the information after going home and almost 90% of attendees were using the information to change their behavior

With a total of over 269,000 people in the Same District, our 33 Community Health Educators managed to reach over 8% of them with lifesaving HIV/AIDS prevention education, and the people responded by actually putting the new information into practice. I’m not sure we could ask for a better outcome from our efforts.

Much of the credit goes to our Program Manager, Ms. Efrancia Nzota. Ms. Nzota has been with us for 2 years, and has proven herself time and time again to be a tireless advocate for women’s health and a strong leader who is much admired by the Community Health Educators. We are very proud to have her on our Empower Tanzania staff, and are currently welcoming her to Iowa until the 19th of August, and then to Virginia for a few days from Aug 20-23. Her visit is an excellent opportunity for friends of Empower Tanzania to meet one of our Tanzania staff and get a first-hand look at the impact our programs are having in rural villages of northeastern Tanzania.

Ms. Nzota says that some challenges still remain. Religious beliefs in some groups make them resistant to condom use but we have experienced surprising flexibility despite this. Also, HIV/AIDS is now treatable, but this presents problems in those living with this as a chronic illness because the physical impact can make earning a living difficult in this labor intensive society. However, Ms. Nzota is excited about the results of the program, and looks forward to the future possibilities.

Opportunities to meet Ms. Nzota: Friday, Aug 15 @ 6:30 PM - Newton Fundraiser with Jodi Morgan-Peters Saturday, Aug 16 from 2:00-8:00 PM - Urbandale Open House and Fundraiser with Phil Latessa Sunday, Aug 17 from noon to 3:00 PM - Living History Farms visit, families invited Monday, Aug 18 - Farm visits in Clinton, Iowa all day Contact Sheri Krumm @ 515-231-5541 or if you are interested in joining any of these activities.