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Village Reflection and Dialogue on Gender and HIV/AIDS

Who is at risk for HIV/AIDS in rural villages in Uganda today?

Some locally based research in Kibaale district indicates possible trends. Although reliable information is limited, HIV/AIDS counsellors are finding increasing rates of HIV infection in the highest ³at risk² group of young women aged 14 to 24 years of age.

Gender Perspective on the spread of HIV in Uganda

Why are young women more at risk of getting HIV/AIDS? Dr. Sylvia Tamale, senior lecturer, Makerere University Faculty of Law (The Monitor 2 December 2003) explained why millions of Ugandan women have died and are still dying from HIV/AIDS: ³Because culture and religion teach us that women should always submit to their male partners¹ sexual demandsŠBecause women lack the bargaining power to negotiate for safe sexŠBecause society condones/excuses male promiscuity while imposing strict moral codes on women. These are issues of gender relationsŠ they must be addressed in all anti-AIDS efforts. It is thisŠ that will deal a direct blow to the pandemic.² Recognizing that gender is key to addressing HIV/AIDS, the Ugandan Government chose Women and HIV/AIDS: Challenges and the Way Forward as the national theme for International Women¹s Day, 8 March 2004.


Asif Khan, AusAID's officer in Nairobi handing a cheque for US$48,626 to the Chief Executive of URDT, Mwalimu Musheshe at URDT'scampus in Kagadi on 26 April 2004.

Village Reflection and Dialogue on Gender and HIV/AIDS

URDT has noted that frank and free discussion of the issues related to HIV/AIDS and risky sexual behaviour is blocked by deeply held views that men have about women and sex and that women have about men and sex. Dialogue and shared learning stop when men are blaming women and women blaming men about such issues as who is or is not using condoms and whose behaviour is causing the spread of HIV.

URDT believes that village community groups, local leaders and concerned individuals can work together towards creating a space for reflection and dialogue about male-female power relations, sexuality and the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Concerned community members themselves with the support of a URDT resource team can define the way forward to develop a new approach based on mutual support and understanding. to change attitudes and behaviour about HIV/AIDS.


Asif discussing the project with officials from the local government administration and representatives of local NGOs.

URDT¹s proposed plan to work with communities is based on the visionary approach and a combination of participatory methods, including drama, to address issues of gender and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Challenges and lessons learned will be shared through weekly programmes on KKCR community radio and the publication of a Facilitators Guide to Gender and HIV/AIDS in Runyoro and English, which will be distributed to villages throughout Kibaale District.

URDT is pleased to announce that it has recently been awarded funds by the Australian Government to carry out this plan for village based dialogue and reflection on gender and HIV/AIDS. Community groups, individuals and officials that are interested in joining with URDT in this effort to decrease the spread of HIV, should contact Ibrahim Kyeyune Muyanja at URDT, Kagadi, mobile 077 863657, email:

We are all living with HIV/AIDS in our families and communities. Stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS involves everyone. Your input and ideas are welcome. Please join us.

Thank you.

URDT would like to express its appreciation to the Australian High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya for its kind assistance in providing the funds for the above project through AusAID's Small Activities Scheme.

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