In a country where nearly one in three adults ages 18-49 are living with HIV, including stakeholders from all levels of society in mitigating the impact of HIV is essential.
The Health Communication Capacity Collaborative’s (HC3) work in Swaziland began in 2014 with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and USAID, with the specific aim of reducing new infections and supporting those living with HIV. A key strategy for HC3 Swaziland has been to work closely with chiefs and their wives by training them on health communication strategies and ensuring they have the most up-to-date information to share with their communities, as well as continuing to meet with them and update them on HC3’s work.
The training sessions, led by HC3 interpersonal communication facilitators, are designed to help the leaders and their wives recognize the important role they play in helping to keep their communities healthy and supported through community-level HIV prevention and care activities. During the first three years, 80 chiefs and their spouses were trained on topics such as leading community engagement activities and creating safe spaces for adolescent girls and young women as part of PEPFAR’s DREAMS initiative.
The Government of Swaziland has acknowledged the importance of this work and HC3’s commitment to strengthening the capacity of local leaders. The Honorable Mduduzi Small Joe Dlamini of the Ministry of Tinkhundla Administration and Development stated that “HC3 has acknowledged leaders not only as vehicles but also as influential people capable of contributing to the reduction of HIV in their communities and as beneficiaries of HIV prevention information because without it, they are also at risk.”
In Swaziland, HC3 has had great success in working with and training local chiefs and their wives to help lead the response to HIV. Read more about HC3’s use of health communication to fight Swaziland’s HIV crisis in the multimedia story, Using Health Communication to Fight Swaziland’s HIV Crisis: Addressing the World’s Highest HIV Rate.
Join HC3 April 25-27, 2017 for a discussion on Springboard to talk about some of the work that HC3 has done with leaders. We welcome you to share your own experiences of working within traditional leadership structures.
You must be a registered Springboard member to participate. To register: