Ethiopia ACT: Strengthening Communities One Person at a Time
Blood:Water has partnered with Ethiopia ACT in its mission to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS and to create strong, healthy families since 2013. In addition to providing public health services, and educational and psychological support for vulnerable children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ACT seeks to transform lives and communities by reconciling people to God through Jesus Christ, and to themselves, others, and creation.
In partnership with Ethiopia ACT, Blood:Water is committed to minimizing and controlling the impact and spread of HIV/AIDS and improving the overall health and quality of life for residents of the Suki community. This intervention focuses on the provision of water, sanitation, and hygiene; HIV care and prevention; family economic strengthening; and care for orphans and vulnerable children.
As a community-based organization, Ethiopia ACT can holistically provide these services because it integrates into the local community. The Ethiopian government helps identify the hardest-to-reach people, so that Ethiopia ACT can set about doing just that–reaching them.
Staff members truly come alongside those they serve and become family to people who have felt isolated and alone. They are dedicated and passionate about getting to know beneficiaries on a very personal level where they can serve each one physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Recognizing that some of the major obstacles to reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS at the community level include psychosocial implications, stigma, self-stigma, and social cohesion, Ethiopia ACT is persistent and strategic about the way care and follow-up with beneficiaries is provided.
In addition to conducting home visits and consultations in the community center, each beneficiary goes through an assessment period to determine the specific care they require. Progress and changes are documented at every interaction so that the project managers know how each person is doing, and if greater needs are arising.
To help strengthen families economically, Ethiopia ACT provides microfinance training, helps beneficiaries obtain business loans, offers weaving and coffee harvesting training, teaches gardening, and helps beneficiaries enroll in government training programs to broaden their skills.
In addition, Ethiopia ACT sets up and guides support groups. These groups provide opportunities for people to come together to support one another as they navigate the physical, economic, and emotional challenges associated with HIV.
This comprehensive approach to care allows healing to take place in individual lives that not only impacts families but entire communities as people heal, engage with others, and contribute to their society.