Housing People of Zimbabwe HIV and Aids Intervention

Housing People of Zimbabwe HIV and Aids Intervention
Housing People of Zimbabwe is a not for profit organisation, which was formed
and registered in 1992. The organisation was formed in order to answer the
needs of low-income home seekers, who were failing to access decent and
affordable shelter for themselves because of a prohibitive legislative, political,
social and economic environment. The organisation realised that as long as
low income home seekers were working as individuals it would be difficult for
them to access products that would enable them to access land, finance and
housing. The situation for this group was further worsened by the fact that
government had no products in place to cater for the needs of the majority of
its population who were poor, and left housing development to private
developers who offered expensive options, which were way out of the reach of
Housing People of Zimbabwe in collaboration with low income home seekers
put in place community based initiatives, that would promote shelter provision
at low cost. Rapid success was noted in the formative years of the
organisation till 1998 as evidenced by the construction of over 2 000 Housing
units, by cooperatives working with Housing People of Zimbabwe.
After 1998, the environment because less conducive, with hyper inflation,
political unrest, loss of employment, price increases of basic foodstuffs,
increase in prices of building materials, social challenges such as the impact of
HIV and AIDS on low income groups, and this saw less and less houses being
What are the key issues relating to the HIV and
AIDS program?
The Housing People of Zimbabwe/ housing cooperatives HIV and AIDS
intervention program aims at prioritising the issue of the disease, whilst at the
same time meeting low income groups basic human needs, gender equality
and human rights issues by exploring how housing co-operatives in Zimbabwe
could address not just their human settlements concerns but also the HIV and
AIDS dimension. The priority is to developing a multi-faceted and holistic
programme on HIV and AIDS, and linking it to the overall organisational
strategic objectives which relate to:- advocacy, shelter, HIV and AIDS, gender,
human rights and child protection within Zimbabwe generally and specifically in
relation to housing cooperatives.
Key objectives
To Facilitate action around HIV and AIDS, in order to assist the infected
cooperative members.
To provide awareness on the rights of women and children in cooperatives to
access housing.
To provide psycho social support for People Living with HIV and AIDS at
cooperative level.
Destigmatization of the HIV and AIDS issues through education, awareness
raising, talking about HIV and AIDS, and creating a facilitative environment by
which People Living with AIDS could access shelter through housing
cooperative means.
Strategic Framework for a national
response to HIV and AIDS
The Zimbabwe national strategic framework does not address HIV and AIDS
as a development issue, but would rather focus on the health dimension of the
The Human Development report of 2003, has clearly noted that the national
strategy has failed to take a holistic and multi sectoral approach, and has left
out other sectors such as housing. A multi sectoral approach is needed in
addressing, HIV and AIDS issues, especially as they relate to issues to do with
human settlements.
In terms of budgetary allocations, housing is not ranked as a priority in
Zimbabwe, and there is no social housing to talk of. The government has failed
to provide decent shelter for the victims of its operation clean up which
destroyed homes and livelihoods for at least 700 000 people (UN Report July
2005). The effects of HIV and AIDS further increases vulnerability of
cooperative members and affected communities still living in the open in makeshift shelters, 9 months after the clean up campaign.
These groups are struggling daily to survive and live with dignity.
Social and economic security
The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Survey (2004) revealed that 72% of
the urban population were living below the poverty line and the number of food
insecure people in the urban areas as of 2005 was at 2.4 million with the
highest numbers recorded in informal settlements and peri-urban areas.
At least 2 million people, in the low income to non earning groups are in need
of shelter in Zimbabwe.
The country has HIV infection of 24.6, ranked among the highest in the world.
Critical Issues include
How to provide home based care without a home
Access to Proper sanitation and water facilities.
How do you take medical regimens when there is no decent place to live. (The
ability to take medical regimens is made easier when there is a decent place to
Orphans and rising number of street children who will have been made
homeless by the death of one or both parents
HIV and Aids trends in housing coops
An impact assessment was conducted on 10 housing cooperatives in 2002,
and it revealed that housing cooperatives were failing to cope with the impact
of AIDS.
They did not realise the link between shelter provision, and AIDS issues.
There were no support structures to help orphans, women, and People infected
by AIDS.
There were no coping mechanisms at cooperative level to assist the infected
and affected members.
The program was designed to ensure that cooperatives needed to have
activities cantered around HIV and AIDS.
HIV/Aids Trends in housing coops
HIV and AIDS infection- Gender
The majority of membership in
housing cooperatives in male whilst
females make up 30% of the total
Women as a whole in Zimbabwe,
are disenfranchised, have no
access to economic resources and
still depend primarily on a
patriarchal system as a a means of
Social relations are defined on who
has and who has not, and hence
the majority of women still depend
on men for survival.
The patriarchal system is premised
on cultural systems and beliefs,
norms and values that prefer men
to have dominance in socio
economic issues, whilst women are
in the position of dependency.
Provision of Decent and affordable shelter
Provision of low income housing has been
rendered unworkable due to high inflation,
increase in building materials and the
inability of low income housing groups to
survive the current challenges that they are
The economic status of the housing
cooperative membership makes them
highly susceptible to the ever changing and
deteriorating macroeconomic environment.
“Operation Restore Order/ Drive out the
rubbish”, which was initiated by the
government in 2005, has increased the
number of vulnerable households and
exposure to social, economic and political
machinations. The humanitarian crisis
unleashed by the “Operation” exacerbates
an already precarious situation
Key strategies
Advocacy as a strategy:
Housing People of Zimbabwe
believes in the rights of all
vulnerable groups to access decent
and affordable shelter. The Plight of
people living with HIV and AIDS
visa viz access to shelter has been
severely compromised because of
government policies which are not
pro poor. Housing People of
Zimbabwe will continue to lobby
government, parliament, and local
authority bodies for improved
access and concessions that relate
to low income housing issues.
The advocacy work is also cantered
around, creation of a conducive
legislative framework, which allows
low income housing groups, and
vulnerable communities to access
decent and affordable shelter.
Currently lobbying initiatives have
been focusing on incremental
development, which would allow
poor communities to develop their
own shelter at their own pace.
It this vein, the project educates
communities on their rights, working
in partnership with different
organisations including AIDS
Service Organisations.
Networking/ synergies
Networking with different local
organisations and stakeholders.
The networks include organisations
of people living with HIV and AIDS,
local DAACS, AIDS Service
Organisation’s, etc.
As part of strengthening
organisational capacity on HIV and
AIDS issues, HPZ is participating in
Zimbabwe AIDS Network forums.
Recently their was an annual
general meeting, and aids service
organisations and organisations
involved in AIDS work participated
in the forum. HPZ is also utilising
organisations working with Phi's,
and other referral systems to
support people living with AIDS.
Cooperative members participate at
HIV and Aids awareness workshop
Information and Education and Psycho
social support
Provision of information relating to
referral systems, so that People
Living with HIV could be able to
have information about were to get
help, treatment, and relevant
To provide pyscho social support for
People Living with HIV and AIDS at
cooperative level, welfare desks
were formed at each cooperative
level, and this has been the point of
contact for Housing People of
Housing People works with the
different desks, providing them with
skill and capacity, and the skill will
be passed on to the cooperative
The desks are also a point of
contact for provision of information,
and the desk members use this
education to build the capacity of
the rest of the membership.
The desk coordinates activities at
cooperative level.
Enhancing food security
Provision of nutritional information
and support for herbal and nutrition
gardens. This concept is premised
on the fact that People Living with
AIDS, need nutritional meals, and
sometimes they fail to access these
meals due to spiralling costs. As a
result Housing People of Zimbabwe
believes in promotion of city farming
as an alternative of enhancing food
security for People Living with
City farming enhances food security for cooperative
Livelihood and capacity building programs (Shelter related)
One of Housing People’s strategic
objectives looks at provision of
livelihood capacity, in order to
enhance sustainable informal
activities to a majority of low income
group membership that is struggling
to make ends meet because of
challenging economic environment
Focus is on Business and
entrepreneurial development skills,
to enhance the informal and small
businesses of most cooperative
Self help training: the training
focuses on provision of skills to
cooperative members in order to
allow them to conduct construction
activities on their own housing units.
This allows them to cut costs.
Communities employ the skills in the construction of
their units
Capacity building- HIV and AIDS
Capacity Building workshops
The main focus for the capacity
building workshops in 2005 has
been:Support for community awareness
raising and mobilisation for People
Living with HIV and AIDS
Support for meaningful involvement
of People Living with HIV and AIDS
in housing, and for them to access
information on treatment and care
Provision of psycho social training
to HIV and AIDS desks,
Community involvement and
practical approaches for reduction
of poverty and improved health
Greater Involvement of people Living with HIV and AIDS.
(GIPA Strategy)
HPZ believes that the housing
cooperative is an effective platform
for support of People Living with
HIV and AIDS. Since the inception
of the HIV and AIDS program great
strides have been made in
providing a forum by which AIDS
issues are discussed at housing
cooperative level.
There have been a great number of
people coming out in the open and
declaring their status, especially in
Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Masvingo
and Mutare. Because of issues of
privacy in disclosure, we promote
that People Living with HIV and
AIDS be open to declare their
status to their leadership (at primary
society level), but do not have to
expose themselves to the greater
audience due to issues of stigma
and discrimination.
People Living with HIV and AIDS
are receiving a lot of support from
other cooperative members,
including social support.
To a large extent there has been a
breaking down of barriers, myths
and misconceptions about the
modes of transmission of HIV and
People Living with HIV and AIDS,
are also involved in issues of
planning, decision making, and
various activities. The organisation
promotes the issue of involving
communities at all levels, including
evaluation, and People Living with
HIV and AIDS are no exception
Promotion of use of herbal remedies
There has been a greater emphasis on
alternative remedies, and promotion of
the use of herbal remedies. Training has
been conducted for all the areas.
Nutrition workshops and herbal
information has been provided to a large
scale. Direct subsidies for nutrition
and herbal remedies activities.
Currently, cooperatives in Chitungwiza
and Mutare support group are now
engaging in perma-culture activities
(farming small herb gardens).
Herbs are well known for their nutritional
value and in boosting the immune
The low income groups are unable to
afford decent and nutritious meals,
especially to meet the needs of People
with AIDS.
Herbs therefore, help in meeting some
of the nutritional requirements that
People with AIDS need for their bodies
Failure to access resources for HIV and AIDS programs
Housing People of Zimbabwe has not been able to mobilise resources for an
increased HIV and AIDS program, because of failure by partners to understand
and see the linkages between HIV and AIDS issues and housing.
Need for capacity at organisational level
The HIV and AIDS program is a recent initiative, and hence staff need more
skills and capacity
Engagement / Involvement of Youth as a strategy
An HIV and AIDS program has been
designed to make sure that the youth
participate at the levels in:
Peer Education and counselling
Youth volunteer programs:- these are in
relation to how the youth can assist
People Living with AIDS, on a volunteer
capacity, and make a mark in the
community they live in.
The youth volunteer programs also are
targeted at involving the youth in
construction projects, and fundraising
Life skills and capacity building oriented
toward self help and livelihood skills.
This is in consideration of the fact that
most youth in Zimbabwe are
unemployed, and might resort to crime,
if there are no intervention programs
that would enable them to participate in
livelihood activities.
 Housing Construction processes are very long and difficult.
This then makes it difficult for housing groups, to construct houses for themselves.
In the meantime, members continue to live in overcrowded conditions,
without proper sanitation and water facilities. This compromises health outcomes
for People Living with HIV and AIDS, who end up succumbing to opportunistic
infections, and compromised immune systems. Because of shortage of housing for
People Living with HIV and AIDS, most housing groups have been forced to rely
on rental housing/ lodging which is very expensive, and currently has limited
housing stock available due to the demolitions that took place in 2005.
 Without a roof over their heads, it is a challenge for People Living with HIV and
AIDS to:
 Take medical regimens without a decent place to live.
 How is it possible to provide care and support when there is no home?
 Failure to access treatment for People Living with HIV and AIDS.
Although great strides have been made in the provision of Anti Retroviral
Treatment at national level, more still needs to be done, in order for more
people to access treatment. Housing cooperative members who were affected
by operation clean up, are failing to access treatment because of the following
There is no public health to talk of, as most government hospitals are run down
due to mismanagement and limited resources. The situation has reached a
point were hospitals are running out drugs and are failing to provide decent
health care facilities.
Failure by people on drugs to access treatment regimens due to government
failure to allocate and access foreign currency to access treatment.
Coop members that were relocated in the governments clean up campaign,
now have to travel great distances in order to access medical supplies
including ART
Housing is a neccessity for everyone, and a right of every citizen including
People Living with HIV and AIDS.
Inadequate housing continues to be a major problem, for large numbers of
people living with HIV and AIDS, many of whom are living in costly and
unsanitary rooms, at times with a large number of people.
For a person living with AIDS, homelessness, or even the threat can lead to
unnessesary illness or even death.
For many people Living with HIV and AIDS, permanent housing is the
difference in having access to medication, to stability, to dignity and re-entry
into the informal and formal markets.
Housing equals health care and health for people living with HIV and AIDS.