“Strengthening Feminist Movements Program”
Supported by: Women Fund Asia
Implemented by: Ashar Alo Society
Project Duration: 15 March 2023 – 14 March 2024
Ashar Alo Society (AAS) is a not-for-profit organization, working in Bangladesh for near about 2 decades towards improving the life of the marginalized people, particularly of People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV). AAS works in effective partnership with national and international donors and community-based organizations, as well as with national governments. AAS portfolio has included HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care, health and nutrition; women’s empowerment; civil society strengthening; advocacy and networking. AAS also acquired a leadership position in HIV prevention and care in Bangladesh by forging partnerships with similar organizations.
With support of Women’s Fund Asia (WFA), AAS is working for the “Strengthening Feminist Movements Program” project. Ashar Alo Society (AAS) is an organization that advocates for Women PLHIV working for those women who are infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS, for improving the quality of life, ensuring rights and services, encouraging greater & meaningful involvement, empowering and capacity enhancement of women PLHIV group and contributing to HIV prevention in Bangladesh. This intervention is expected to ensure a quality of life and stigma & discrimination free society for the infected and affected Women PLHIV in Bangladesh. During this project there will be scope of sharing information on HIV/AIDS, human rights and gender based violence among vulnerable women at risk or women living with HIV/AIDS. As a part of this intervention AAS will complete three program activities, which follows:
- Advocacy and Sharing Meeting with Stakeholders
- Media Campaign
- Orientation of PLHIV Women
- Grant Progress:
the grant is on track and progress is being made according to the project plan.
- Expected results/outcome:
- With the help of Advocacy and Sharing Meeting with Stakeholders participants and stakeholders will have a clear understanding on information about HIV/AIDS, human rights and gender based violence.
- Media Campaign will be beneficial to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS related stigma, GBV that women PLHIV faces and spread positive news which will make the general population more aware about HIV/AIDS and be kind towards PLHIV population.
- Orientation of PLHIV Women will encourage women PLHIV to come forward and join the advocacy and awareness activities of AAS to prevent HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh.
- Activity Wise Reports:
4.1. Advocacy and Sharing Meeting with Stakeholders: One advocacy and sharing meeting with the government, women-focused organizations, human rights organizations, and other relevant stakeholders was planned by AAS. In the meeting, AAS have brought up
Picture: Advocacy and Sharing Meeting with Stakeholders with IDH ART Center, 12 June, 2023
the stigmatization, prejudice, and difficulties that women with HIV/AIDS experience on a daily basis. With the meeting, I will attempt to connect the PLHIV vulnerable women with the numerous government safety net programs and to secure financial or other benefits (legal).
4.2. Media Campaign: AAS have collaborated with the media to educate the public and specially the vulnerable women and girls about the problems faced by women living with HIV/AIDS (discrimination, stigmatization, hardships), as well as to promote HIV/AIDS awareness, Stop gender-based-violence and SRHR.
4.3. Orientation of PLHIV Women: AAS have organized 2 orientation session and meeting with 35 PLHIV women and vulnerable women, to educate and empower them on HIV/AIDS, gender-based-violence and SRHR through providing counselling and sharing.
Picture: Orientation of PLHIV Women, AAS Meeting Room, 09 October 2023
- Still Health Care providers & relevant stakeholders in different areas of Bangladesh are not sensitized on HIV and AIDS issue therefore they show denial attitudes towards the PLWHA.
- Very limited scope of credit facilities for PLHIVs by GO, NGO improving their livelihood options.
- Limited treatment & care for PLHIV women in Bangladesh, e.g. necessary combination of ARV Therapy, Pathological testing out of Dhaka, PMTCT, Inpatient Treatment and Home based care etc. is not available.
- Difficult to manage Opportunistic Infections of PLHIV without nutrition and other medication support.
- No income or Low economic status is root cause of PLHIV treatment & health care issue.
- Women PLHIV participation is still poor due to fear of disclosing their HIV status.
- It is difficult to manage the program in limited budget allocation.
- Lessons learnt:
- Coming under the umbrella of AAS, PLHIV women able to increase their confidence. They believe that it is possible to live long with HIV+ status.
- Need a professional counselor at AAS office with peer counselor who will be helped the peer counselor and solve the critical issue.
- Need training to the AAS staff on Management, Monitoring & Evaluation, Counseling, and other relevant training.
- AAS staff need exposure visit in internal and external related organization which will helped them to increase knowledge and will be helped to develop their organization.
- ART adherence training is important not only for ART receiver but also for them who are not on ART. So they realize the importance of ART and overcome the fear of ART.
- Care giver training is essential to get maximum output of ART adherence.
- Women who are receiving ART they need nutritional food but they cannot take it regularly because of financial problems.
- Home visit counseling is very effective because the PLHIV women are always frustrated about their physical condition and also their family. So in spite of being counseled sometimes they ignore themselves. By home visit care giver counseling can provide. The PLHIV Women are scattered around the country so that it is difficult to address them in proper way.
- Arranging more sensitization program for health care providers will also increase the access of PLHIV in public and private health care centers.
- Continuous networking with other institutions and service providers can help for the treatment care and wellbeing support of PLHIV women in Bangladesh;
- Due to poor nutritional status of PLHIV women it is necessary to provide nutrition support for pregnant PLHIV women and children