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.
Aug 23, 2015

Meet one of our Heroes - A Successful Entrepreneur

Today I would like you to meet Agness and share her story. Agness is one of the ladies in our micro loans program who received business training and a small loan to start a grocery business a few years back. She worked hard and her business did well. Agness repaid her loan in full, expanded her business and continues to work hard and expand her business every day. She now boasts of a refrigerator and a freezer to store soft drinks, and meat for her customers and her store carries several high value items like light fixtures and hair styling accessories. Agness is our hero and a role model to hundreds of women in her community. 

Last month, Agness's story was chosen to be published by the UN Women's website. She is our hero and a role model for hundreds of women in our community in Zambia. I am sure you will love this story.

Agness runs her business in Matero - one of the poorest and largest compounds in Lusaka, Zambia. Matero is characterized with a high incidence of HIV, malaria and TB and unemployment rates upwards of 60%. Most residents in this community are poor and live on less than $2 per day. They are able to purchase grocery items in very small quantities and cannot travel far to shop as they have no means of transportation. Businesses like Agness's are a valuable resource for members of her community.

There are several women like Agness in our micro loans program who are working hard at their businesses despite their difficult circumstances. Earnings from their businesses enable them to take better care of their families and their businesses provide a valuable service to residents of their community. In addition, they have become role models, teachers, and mentors for other women (and men) in the community.

Please donate generously so we can continue to empower women by providing them an opportunity to learn a marketable skill, run a business, and keep their children in school. Your donations will help us provide business training, small loans, business mentoring and monitoring to women impacted by HIV, and AIDS in Zambia.

Thanks for empowering women in Zambia.  

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Aug 22, 2015

Malaria Prevention Day 2015

Power of Love’s malaria prevention program or Project Mosquito Nets, provides long lasting insecticide treated nets and education on prevention of malaria to children and families vulnerable to malaria in Zambia. The goal of this program is to keep vulnerable children and families free of malaria.

Is Malaria Still a Problem? Globally, malaria is a problem as there were an estimated 200 million cases of malaria and 600,000 deaths in 2013. Ninety percent of malaria deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa and it is the leading cause of death for children under five. Over 400,000 children die needlessly every year from malaria which is easily preventable and treatable. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to malaria.  In addition, malaria is the single biggest drag on Africa’s economy with estimated losses of $12 billion a year (a GDP growth of about 1.3% per year) due to increased healthcare costs, lost ability to work and effects on tourism. If we can eradicate malaria we can save thousands of lives and provide a boost to the African economies.

How do we eradicate malaria? According to the World Health Organization, sleeping under a mosquito bed net is one of the most cost effective and easiest ways to prevent malaria. Malaria has been eradicated in the US and it is possible to eradicate it worldwide.

Power of Love’s malaria prevention program is supported by several generous donors. The Power of Love team along with the families in Zambia, would like to say a big “Thank You” for supporting “Project Mosquito Nets”. Over the last ten years we have been able to provide over 20,000 nets and education on malaria prevention to families in Kenya and Zambia. At our most recent malaria prevention day in June 2015, we were able to provide 2000 long lasting insecticide treated nets to women and children vulnerable to malaria in Zambia.

A brief report of the distribution day activities is given below. 

Power of Love’s annual malaria prevention day was held on June 19, 2015. The activities commenced with a prayer led by the Pastor, and the Power of Love team on the ground in Lusaka, Zambia. The prayer was followed by a lovely dance performance by the local school children.

The event was attended by local leaders, health care professionals, Power of Love team on the field, members of the Power of Love Board, and representatives from Churches, community organizations and health clinics, and community members. The event was held at the community center in Matero and was attended by about 700 people.

Power of Love Foundation's Project Nurse commenced the health/malaria education part of the day’s activities by giving a short talk on hygiene and health. This was followed by education on malaria prevention and the proper use of nets by health care professional from local clinics. Highlights of the malaria prevention education, (led by a Nurse from Matero Clinic) included:

  • proper use of mosquito nets, drainage maintenance, filling and removal of breeding sites, re-treating of mosquito nets,
  • maintenance of nets (cleaning and storage) to prevent damage,
  • negative impact of malaria in pregnancy e.g. maternal death, abortion, still birth and low birth weight,
  • information about malaria for HIV+ children,
  • identification of signs and symptoms of malaria, and
  • proper storage of nets when not in use.

The Nurse explained that the best way to prevent malaria was to sleep under a net every night during malaria season. In addition, she underscored the importance of re-treating nets every six months, which could be done during the Child Health Weeks held in June and December each year. She informed the gathering that government clinics provide re-treatment kits free of cost. The Nurse also emphasized the need for keeping nets clean and stored properly.

After the education on malaria prevention and demonstration on the proper use and maintenance of nets, long lasting insecticide treated netswere provided to 2000 families in the Matero compound in Lusaka, Zambia. This compound is one of the largest and most impoverished compounds in Lusaka with a population of 250,000-300,000. Many parts of Matero are water logged and have sewer ponds, leading to a high prevalence of malaria. A high incidence of HIV and TB in the community, increases the vulnerability of the population to malaria due to high co-infection rates between these diseases. In addition, HIV+ pregnant women are especially vulnerable as malaria can be fatal for them.

Profile of Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries were children and families in Power of Love’s paediatric HIV care program, women vulnerable to malaria in Power of Love’s microloans program and children who attend the Safe Park program and members of the community who are vulnerable to malaria. In order to identify and distribute nets to the intended beneficiaries we worked with several community organizations such as Churches, and government health clinics, and other community organizations.

Most of the beneficiaries were HIV positive children, children under the age of five, pregnant moms, women who are breast feeding and adults who are infected with TB and/or HIV. These sections of the population are most vulnerable to malaria as their immune system is compromised, and because co-infection rates between malaria, HIV and TB are very high. A total of 2000 long lasting insecticide treated nets were provided to various community organizations (Churches, local Police department, schools), and families vulnerable to malaria.  

Impact of the Distribution: Provision of bed nets and education on malaria prevention and proper use and maintenance of nets goes a long way in reducing the incidence of malaria in the community. As a result of our malaria prevention program, we are seeing very few cases of malaria among our beneficiary families. In addition, we are seeing an increase in school attendance due to improved health of the children. In the community as a whole, we are seeing fewer cases of malaria, increased knowledge about proper use and storage of nets, fewer visits to the hospital/clinics, improved school attendance, and a higher quality of life and general well-being.

Follow-Up Study: We will conduct a post distrbution study in September 2015, 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, used and stored properly, re-treated every six months, and health of the beneficiary families. For results of past follow-up studies click here.

Need for Nets: Follow-up interviews with nets recipients indicates that the 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 most residents in our community live on less than a dollar a day and cannot afford to purchase a net.

According to the World Health Organization, 90 percent of families with a bed net use it. However, in 2013 only 50% of families in sub-Saharan African slept beneath a mosquito bed net.  This highlights a need to provide nets to an additional 50% of the families in Sub-Saharan Africa. The need is for about 230 million bed nets on average from 2015-2017. A decrease in LLIN (long lasting insecticide treated nets) coverage can lead to a major insurgence of the disease and can reverse the gains achieved over the last several years.  

Next Distribution of Nets: We are planning on the next distribution of nets before the next malaria season in Zambia.

Request for Funds: At this time we are raising funds to provide 2000 long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLIN’s) in fall of 2015 and an additional 2000 nets in spring 2016. Please donate generously as your donation will go a long way in preventing malaria and keeping children healthy and in school.

Thanks for your caring and dedication to prevent malaria in Zambia. 

Links:

Jun 19, 2015

This Father's Day Help a Zambian Family Start a Business

Happy Dad's day! Help us celebrate by supporting a Zambian family impacted by HIV start a business. Your support will provide micro loans, business training and business mentoring to new women entrepreneurs so that they can take better care of their families and keep their children in school. Since our conversation last month, we are happy to report that all 50 women who received new loans are business training are busy running their new businesses and taking care of their families. At this time, we have 275 women running successful to moderately successful businesses in our community in Lusaka, Zambia. Kudos to you - we could not have done this without you.  

The vision behind our micro loans program is that businesses started with the help of loans continue to operate and expand long after the loan has been repaid. We are in contact with several women who graduated from this program a few years back as they come back to visit and guide women currently on the program. Here is a heartwarming and inspiring story of one such entrepreneur.

About Jane (name changed): Jane is one of the oldest beneficiaries in our micro loans program. She was provided with business training and a loan about 7 years back. Her business continues to operate in the community and has grown considerably from a small vegetable stand to a shop with a variety of higher value items like detergent, cooking oil, eggs, mealie meal (a Zambian staple), soap, and other grocery items. 

Jane is living her dream of owning and running her shop and her children have finished school. She continues to work hard to make her business grow by adding new items. In addition, she comes back often to visit (even though she graduated in 2011) and continues to mentor current and new loan beneficiaries. She encourages and motivates the women to work hard, make loan repayments on time, save a small amount each week, and expand their businesses. Jane is an inspiration to the women as she has demonstrated that hard work and dedication can lead to success and self-reliance.

Jane’s Story in her own words: I am 62 years old, married with four children of my own and five dependents. I have known Power of Love’s program for the last seven years as I received my first loan in 2008. After completing business training I started selling different types of vegetables. I loved running my business and worked hard as my dream was to build a shop at home. I wanted to pay for school expenses so that my children can attend and complete school.

Before I joined the program life was difficult. We were not able to eat more than one meal per day as there are 11 people in my household, and on many days we did not know where our next meal would come from.

I received my first loan in 2008 and four more loans over the next three years. I worked hard to repay the loans and learned to save a small amount each week. With each subsequent loan I expanded my business by adding different kinds of vegetables, fruits, rice, mealie meal (a Zambian staple), soap, other grocery items, toys, hair care products etc. I graduated from this program three years back but like to go back as the loan officer, has become my friend. Esther helped me during the first few months of starting my business as I had never sold anything before joining this program.

I like to talk to the women who receive loans and tell them my story so that they know that it is possible to eat three meals a day, keep children healthy and in school due to a better diet and health. I ask the new loan beneficiaries to work hard to make the repayments so they can get a second and third loan and eventually run their businesses on their own without the help of the program. Also, I like talking to other women in the community and teach them what I know.

I am running my shop without a loan now. I have my own shop and have realized my dream. I even have a refrigerator in my shop for soft drinks.  I am very happy I got to know about this program as life has been easier since I started my own business. My children are healthy and all four have finished school. The younger children (her dependents) are in school.

Women like Jane inspire us every day and continue to inspire new loan beneficiaries. In addition to running and growing their businesses they have become role models and mentor the new women who join the program.

Your generosity has helped several hundred women start and run successful businesses so that they can take better care of their families. We hope we can count on your continued support.

Thanks for your caring and compassion.

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