Gulu Women's Economic Development and Globalization (GWED-G), a grassroots women's rights organization in Northern Uganda, supports HIV prevention, maternal/sexual health resources and education, and economic empowerment initiatives for women in N. Uganda. Columbia Globemed's long-term partner organization, GWED-G has reduced mother-to-child HIV transmission rates, expanded knowledge of STIs, contraception, and healthy relationships, and financially empowered women across the region.
Girls and women in Northern Uganda face the challenges of a widespread HIV epidemic, extreme poverty, and a shortage of health workers to support their needs. Stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS, a lack of education about the disease, and traditional gender norms persist as major barriers to the health and well-being of not only women, but also entire communities in Gulu. A absence of quality healthcare and health workers contributes to unawareness about HIV.
GWED-G will 1) increase HIV awareness and sensitization through large-scale education campaigns, voluntary counseling and testing, and male youth involvement 2) conduct training and capacity building of HIV health workers and provide them incentives for their voluntary work, 3) promote maternal and newborn health prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) education and nutritional supplements in the form of livelihood interventions, and 4) support health facilities with safe birth kits.
Increasing HIV sensitization, especially among young males, will reduce the risk of HIV transmission, eliminate stigmatization of HIV positive people, improve men's attitudes and behavior, and mobilize men to advocate for gender equity. Higher quality community health workers will also increase awareness through individual counseling. Giving mothers the tools to have healthy babies and keep them healthy with proper nutrition will enable future generations to be born in good health with no HIV.