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Aidscaptions. 1994 May;1(2):16-8.

Empowering communities to fight AIDS through participatory evaluation.



A field test combined participatory evaluation methods with more traditional techniques to assess the progress of The AIDS Service Organization (TASO) Community Initiatives program in Uganda to encourage greater community involvement in improving the program. Approximately 1.5 million people in Uganda are infected with the HIV virus. Estimated HIV prevalence ranges from 25 to 30% in the capital city of Kampala and is as high as 50% in some trading centers along the main highway, but as low as 1% in some rural areas. To empower people within their own communities to prevent the further spread of HIV and better support people with AIDS, TASO launched The Community Initiatives program in 1990. Under this program, TASO trainers help community leaders form a village AIDS committee and identify community needs and objectives. Local leaders then select community AIDS workers, who receive training from TASO in AIDS prevention, education, counseling, and care. These community volunteers conduct formal and informal educational sessions with groups and individuals, visit homes to provide counseling and assistance with care, distribute condoms, and refer people for HIV testing and medical treatment. During 1993 an evaluation plan in 2 of the 17 TCI-supported communities was field tested. The primary data collection methods were a knowledge, attitudes, and practices survey, followed by focus group discussions, and individual interviews with key informants. Several participatory methods also involved community members in data collection, analysis, and interpretation. More than 300 people gathered in the trading center of Biharwe to comment on the evaluation results from a community-based AIDS program. Through this process of encouraging audience participation and eliciting feedback, the evaluation sessions armed the work of the community implementors, disseminated more knowledge about changing sexual norms, and fostered greater community support for the program.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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