Peer empowerment and mutual support
We are invited into communities to facilitate HIV support group meetings. This is part of our “Listening To Those Who Live It” project and we do always begin by listening—by learning about the daily challenges of support group members, and by exploring together how we can make a positive difference to their health and their lives.
We work with
- women-only groups
- men-only groups
- mixed gender groups
- HIV-positive pregnant women
- new mothers’ groups
- positive children and youth
Our peer empowerment strategy is to first identify health problems that the group is facing and then work together to solve them if we can. We analyze local health and social services, and bring their staff into our training. We teach about nutrition, water, self-defense, rights, food cultivation and sourcing, treatment choice, treatment adherence and side effects, and healthy sexuality. We discuss family budgeting and teach how to make simple ointments and teas. We talk about child abuse and sexual life.
We identify local experts and trustworthy care providers who can be of service to the groups. We engage local leaders and encourage new leaders. We discuss values. We teach meditation and other mindfulness approaches that help us find peace, forgive others, feel stronger, take responsibility, feel hopeful, and be better people, treating others well as we treat ourselves well.