Power of Love Foundation

Our Mission is: To turn back the tide of the global AIDS epidemic through innovative community responses that increase the effectiveness of prevention and care efforts. Our Vision is: A world where the AIDS epidemic is in continuous retreat, and people living with HIV/AIDS have access to loving care and treatment in an environment free of stigma and discrimination.
Jul 16, 2014

A Brief Report on Business Training and Micro Loans Provided to New Women Entrepreneurs in Zambia

Introduction

In June 2014, 22 new women were identified to be provided with business training and loans to start small businesses. The loan disbursement activities, were held on June 12, 2014. The women who received loans were happy and said that they were looking forward to starting a business with the loan capital and would work hard to make their businesses successful.  For most women this was their first business venture.  

Profile of the New Beneficiaries

The women in this group range in ages from 33 to 65 years of age. Most women are taking care of several family members with a typical household size of eight, out of which five are children.  They have chosen to start a diverse set of businesses ranging from groceries (fruits, dry fish, tea, soft drinks, vegetables, Beans, Kapenta, fresh fish, mealie meal- a Zambian staple), restaurant, hair salon, used clothing, shoes, and clothing items.

Business Training

The women completed a four day business training course prior to receiving the loan capital. In addition, the women formed groups (4-5 women in each group) to support each other in running their businesses. A list of the topics covered during business training is as follows:

  • Market investigation: The trainees are asked to brainstorm and come up with ideas on the kind of business they would like to start/expand, who their customers will be, location of their business, and the process of selling their goods or services.
  • Buying: Issues such as quality, pricing, sourcing of materials, quantity and frequency of purchases of raw materials/inventory are discussed.
  • Costing and pricing: In addition to cost of materials, competition, and pricing of final product, trainees are asked to think about filling a need in the marketplace and developing unique products by use their individual talents and competencies.
  • Selling: The concept of selling above cost and profit is introduced. In addition, ideas on how to attract and retain customers are discussed.
  • MoneyManagement: In this module, we discuss the importance of bookkeeping and accounting. We encourage the women to keep a Money Management sheet/book for their business finances. We guide them on how to separate funds for capital, loan repayment, hire purchase expenses (if any), savings, and family expenses. This helps them estimate if their capita is growing/decreasing/at the same level as the loan capital amount.    
  • Creating a simple business plan: By the end of the fourth day of training the women are able to provide information on location of their business, where they will purchase raw materials/inventory, how they are going to set up their store, proposed mark-up, list of equipment (if needed), estimated fixed and variable costs, funds required to start/expand business, if funds need to be borrowed/or from own funds, profile of customers, and how to attract/retain customers, and their goals for the next 1-2 years. In addition, if they think they are ready to start a business and begin selling, they are qualified for the loan and graduated from business training.  

Disbursement of loans

The women were provided with a loan capital in the amount of $120-140 and are expected to complete loan repayments in 25 weekly instalments. They meet with the loan officer every week to make repayments, ask questions, learn from their peers about running a business, and discuss issues important to them (like taking care of an HIV+ child,  importance of keeping children in school, HIV prevention, importance of getting tested for HIV etc.). At the end of every two months they attend a business mentoring session in which they have the opportunity to meet a business person like themselves (who is running a successful business), and this person is available to answer questions. 

During the course of the loan, our loan officers visit the businesses on a regular basis to monitor and advice the women on how to improve sales, store layout, provide better customer service, keep records of costs, accounting help, and pricing.  

Once the women have finished repaying the first loan they will be participate in refresher training and will be provided with a second loan in the same amount.  At the end of the third loan cycle, the women are weaned off the program as they are expected to have accumulated enough capital to run their business on their own.

Conclusion

The new women who received loans are happy as they hope to take better care of their families, and keep/send their children to school. They are confident about their business and plan to continue working hard to expand their business and earnings potential over the next few months.  

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Jul 16, 2014

An Update from the Field: Meet Two Children who can be Role Models

With your generous support, we have been able to continue to improve the lives of several hundred children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS and malaria in Zambia. At this time, every one of the 200 HIV+ children receives food, medicines and a package of life-saving health care services. The package of health care services includes weekly health check-ups from community health workers, regular visits from the Project Nurse, psycho-social counseling, education in HIV prevention, and adherence monitoring and training for older children. In addition, caregivers (most are single moms and many are grandmothers caring for several orphaned grandchildren) are provided training in caring for an HIV positive child. 

We would like you to meet two children, Mary and Jack who have been in our pediatric HIV/AIDS care program for the last 7-8 years. Both these children understand the importance of staying in school, go in for clinic visits on their own, adhere to their medication regimen, and are growing up to be responsible adults. Mary and Jack have a positive outlook and we hope that they can be role/models for the younger children once they turn 18 years old and graduate from our program.     

Mary (not her real name) was born in 1995, and lives with her grandmother, mother and five other people in the household. Before she was enrolled on our pediatric HIV/AIDS care program, she complained of headache, productive cough, and ear problems, and was not able to increase her weight. Since her health was poor, her grandmother took her in for VCT (voluntary counseling and testing) in 2005. Mary tested positive for HIV and started ARV’s in 2006. After a few months of medication, her health started improving and she started gaining weight.  Her grandmother is grateful as she attributes her grand daughter's health to the food, medicines and continuous health care services provided by our pediatric HIV/AIDS care program.  

Mary is aware of her HIV positive status and lives with a positive outlook on life. She goes for clinic visits and medical check-ups on her own and adheres to her medication regimen. She is studying in Grade 11 and her school performance is good. She is confident of finishing high school in 2015, and is working hard towards becoming a contributing member of her community. 

Jack (not his real name) was born in 1995 and lives with his grandmother and eight other family members. He lost both his parents to HIV related illnesses in 2005 and 2006. Since he was one year old, his health was poor as he had fever, malaria, diarrhea, and anemia and was in and out of hospital. In 2005, Jack's grandmother got him tested for HIV and he tested positive. At this time his health was very poor with a CD4 count of just 250. He started ARV’s in 2006. The ARV medication led to an improvement in his health but had frequent opportunistic infections. He was enrolled in our pediatric HIV/AIDS care program in 2007 and since then his health is much better (measured in terms of higher weight and CD4 count).

Jack is aware of his HIV positive status and his life is close to normal. He picks up his medication from the Government clinic on his own. At this time, he is behind in school for his age but is doing well in school and at home.

Need for Funds: We are raising funds to continue to care for and support these children in 2014. Please donate generously so that we can continue to achieve our goal of 100% HIV free births, and all 200 children can continue to stay healthy and in school. As always, 100% of your donations go towards programs and no part is used for overheads.

Thanks for your caring and support. 

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Jul 16, 2014

A Report on the Distribution of Long lasting Insecticide Treated Nets in Zambia

Introduction: Power of Love Foundation’s, Project Mosquito Nets program provides long lasting insecticide treated bed nets to women and children vulnerable to malaria in Zambia. We would like to say a big “Thank You” to you for supporting this program. With your support, we were able to provide 1000 insecticide treated nets to women and children vulnerable to malaria in Zambia in June 2014 and will be providing an additional 1000 nets and education on malaria in August 2014.

Profile of Beneficiaries: Nets were provided to 1000 families in the Matero compound in Lusaka, Zambia. This compound is one of the largest and poorest in Lusaka with a population of around 80,000-90,000. Many parts of Matero are water logged and have sewer ponds, leading to a high prevalence of malaria and hence the need for malaria prevention via nets.  

In order to identify and distribute nets to the intended beneficiaries we worked with several community organizations such as Churches, government health clinics, and other representative organizations. Beneficiaries were HIV positive children, children under the age of five, pregnant women, women who are breast feeding, and adults who are infected with TB/HIV. These sections of the population are most vulnerable to malaria as the immune system of people living with HIV is compromised, and because co-infection rates between malaria, HIV and TB are very high. 

Distribution Activities: A few children played traditional Zambian games while waiting for the distribution activities to begin. The distribution activities commenced with singing and dancing by the women and children present. This was followed by dances by school children from the community. Several local and Church leaders participated in the distribution activities. The event was attended by Mrs. Malumo sister in-charge of Matero main Clinic, Rev. Phaika from Presbyterian Church Matero Congregation, Mr. Simusosha from Ward Development committee (he is the chair person in charge of CBOs in Matero), Mrs. Nkazwe from the Lusaka City Council, and Power of Love representatives.

Power of Love Foundation's, Project Nurse provided education on malaria prevention. He emphasized the importance of sleeping under a net every night as this is the most effective way to prevent malaria, and explained how to use and maintain (cleaning and storage) a net to prevent damage. In addition, he explained drainage and maintenance activities around the home, and filling and removal of breeding sites. Finally, he explained the importance of retreating nets every six months. This could be done during the Child Health Weeks held in June and December each year. The Nurse also underscored the need for keeping nets clean and stored properly.  

This was followed by a demonstration on the proper use and maintenance of nets by a Nurse from one of the government clinics. She encouraged the participants to retreat the nets every few months and especially since the government clinics provide retreatment kits free of cost. Finally, the Nurse underscored the need for keeping nets clean and how to store them to prevent damage when not in use. 

Impact of the Distribution: Provision of bed nets and education on malaria prevention goes a long way in eradicating malaria from the community. As a result of past distributions, we are seeing very few cases of malaria among children in our paediatric HIV/AIDS care program and a reduction in the incidence of malaria in our community. We will continue to conduct a post-distribution study to assess the impact of nets on the incidence of malaria and on the health of the beneficiary families. This study will assess: if the nets are being used every night, if the nets are being used and stored properly, if the nets are retreated every six months, and the health of the beneficiary families.

We expect to see a marked reduction in the incidence of malaria and an increase in school attendance due to improved health of the children.

Need for Nets: Follow-up interviews with nets recipients indicates that nets distributed over the last 2-3 years, are in good condition and are being used as directed. However, we need several thousand more nets as a majority of households cannot afford to purchase a net and are without bed nets in our community and in Zambia.

Next Distribution of Nets: We will be providing an additional 1000 nets and education on malaria prevention in August 2014.  

Request for Funds: At this time we are raising funds to provide 1000 long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLIN’s) in the Spring of 2015 and an additional 1000 nets in Fall 2015. Please donate generously as your donation will go a long way in preventing malaria and keeping the children healthy and in school.    

Thanks for your dedication to prevent malaria in Africa

  

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