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Cablegate: Zimbabwe Hiv and Aids Education Messages At

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002000

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/S, AF/FO AND OES DAS CHOW
NSC FOR DWORKIN, JFRAZER
USAID/W FOR GH/AA, ANNE PETERSON
AFR/SA, MARJORIE COPSON, DCHA A/A WINTER
AFR/SD, HOPE SUKIN
GH/OHA, ROXANA ROGERS, CHARLENE BROWN
PRETORIA FOR CROWLEY
ROME PLEASE PASS TO FODAG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KHIV TSPL OSCI TBIO KSCA US ZI
SUBJECT: Zimbabwe HIV and AIDS Education Messages at
Food Distribution Points

1. Summary: Zimbabwe is facing both a food security
crisis and the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Rural food
distribution points provide an opportunity to save
lives in terms of combatting hunger and fighting
HIV/AIDS. USAID has just launched a new program
working with local communities to capitalize on the
current food distribution efforts by simultaneously
providing HIV and AIDS information, education and
communication messages.

2. The Launch: On September 23 the Ambassador, Joseph G.
Sullivan, USAID Director, Paul Weisenfeld, and CDC
Director, Shannon Hadder, launched a unique HIV and
AIDS education program in the rural District of
Gwanda North. This program responds to the two
humanitarian crises confronting Zimbabwe: the
devastating HIV and AIDS epidemic, and food
insecurity that is affecting 5.5 million Zimbabweans.
The program launch received favourable publicity in
the local press, including the state-owned media.

3. Program Rationale: Roughly 70% of Zimbabwe's 11.6
million (8.1 million) people live in rural areas. Of
them, between 5-10% watch TV regularly and 20-35%
listen to the radio regularly. Reaching people who
live in rural areas, however, with information on
HIV/AIDS or with behavior-change messages is
difficult to do in a cost-effective manner (e.g.,
through the use of mass media). Therefore, other
channels of communication are essential.

4. Food distribution points (FDPs) are places where
large numbers of rural people congregate to receive
food aid. There are an estimated 1,700 FDPs across
57 districts in Zimbabwe. Food is distributed by the
World Food Programme (WFP) and NGOs about once a
month through these FDPs. Each FDP caters to roughly
1,000-4,000 registered families. Approximately 80%
of the people waiting to receive food on behalf of
their families are women who often wait for hours
before food distribution begins, thereby providing an
excellent opportunity to conduct HIV prevention
education.

5. Program Activities: Various interventions are being
used to inform, educate and counsel the rural
audience. Interpersonal communication and
"edutainment" activities involve group sessions,
local drama group performances, contests,
competitions and quizzes offering prizes, T-shirts
and caps; and handing out leaflets and brochures to
disseminate HIV/AIDS prevention messages. Outdoor
media includes messages painted on walls and animal-
drawn carts; posters, banners, buntings and food
bags; and mobile vans and bikes for communicating
branded as well as generic HIV/AIDS prevention
messages. In addition, plans are underway to
provide HIV/AIDS-related services, such as mobile
family planning, and voluntary counseling and HIV
testing (VCT). Finally, condoms are being supplied
to shops around the FDPs, but not at the FDPs.

6. Program's Messages: The program presents "balanced
messaging" as a strategy, given the profile of the
target audience. The program is comprised of a mix
of generic and brand messaging. Generic messages are
based on the "ABC's" theme: Abstinence; Be faithful;
and Correct and Consistent condom use. Whereas,
branded messages advertise the social marketing
products. In addition, leaflets and brochures on VCT
and general sexual health, as well as other printed
materials in English and the vernacular, are being
distributed.

7. Program's Sustainability: Because food distribution
is unlikely to continue indefinitely, this new
program is designed to be acceptable to and
implemented by the local people in order to remain
ongoing and sustainable. The educational sessions at
FDPs are done entirely by trained village
representatives selected from each village. Trained
supervisors are selected to oversee the activities of
the village representatives. Training focuses on
both messages and communication techniques designed
to make the sessions interesting yet informative.

8. Next Steps: This pilot program will be supported in
three districts until the end of the year with
ongoing monitoring as well as a knowledge, attitudes
and perceptions study. A final evaluation will be
undertaken before the end of 2003. A "lessons
learned" workshop will be implemented to disseminate
results with stakeholders. If this pilot program has
the intended impact, the program will be expanded
nationwide, subject to the availability of USAID and
other donor funds. SULLIVAN

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