Nepal – building capacity for HIV and AIDS response

Peer Educator

MAI is partnering with the United Mission to Nepal to continue a project dealing with HIV in two districts of the country from January 2018.  The three-year project will improve the Quality of Life of People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV) and their immediate families in Sunsari and Rupandehi district.  So that the care can continue sustainably beyond the three years, the project will increase the local capacity of the community to address HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and care in the target locations in future.

The Problem – one person’s story and the big picture

Devi and her husband were diagnosed with HIV in 2015. Devi’s husband died six months later. Devi was already extremely poor as she and her husband had been too unwell to work for some time. Her husband dying made things worse for her. At just 28 she alone had to raise their two children. She did not know how she was going to cope. She became even sicker and mentally stressed, losing all hope of living.


39,397 people were living with HIV in Nepal at the end of 2015. Devi’s experience is typical of the problem in these districts of Nepal. Lack of awareness of HIV needs to be addressed. There’s an urgent need for others to support people who have lost hope, are poor and broken in spirit. Presenting late because of poor awareness and fear of discrimination can mean premature death or at least becoming so ill as to be unable to earn a living in the context of few social benefits.

Nepal has what is called a concentrated HIV and AIDS epidemic, meaning that – although not well established in the general population – HIV has spread rapidly in defined social groups and geographic areas.  One of the most at risk populations are male labour migrants and their spouses. Also, young people are considered to be increasingly vulnerable to HIV.

The two districts in the project are in the southern Terai region of Nepal. The region’s east-west highway is used by migrant workers reaching India, meaning that the number of truckers, sex workers and those injecting drugs is high. It is estimated that there are 1,800 people living with HIV in Sunsari District and 2,500 in Rupandehi.

The Nepal Adolescent and Youth Survey 2012 gives further evidence of the lack of awareness. It records that only 26% of adolescent girls and 34% of adolescent boys have a comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Also HIV treatment is still unacceptably low in Nepal. Despite some progress, the Nepalese Government’s target to reach 90% treatment coverage is far from being accomplished. In 2015 only 30% of people living with HIV were enrolled in treatment.

The Project – the proposal and its proven impact

The three year project in Sunsari and Rupandehi Districts has four aims:

  1. Providing increased awareness and knowledge of HIV and AIDS among adolescents, young adults and migrant workers. This will be achieved by training 40 Peer Educators, a proven approach. Over the period of the project 17,500 people will know about HIV transmission and the preventative measures that they can take.
  2. Increasing treatment, care and support though a mobile Testing and Counselling Camp. The Peer Educators will refer persons at risk to the camp and permanent centres for testing and treatment. It is anticipated that 1,000 people of reproductive age (15-49) will know their status and receive support.
  3. Providing vocational and entrepreneurship training to the support groups of people living with HIV and providing small grants to start up enterprises aimed at self sufficiency.
  4. Enhancing local capacity by training at least 15 faith based communities in how to give care and support to people living with HIV.

Through an earlier phase of this project, Devi’s situation has changed. She is a healthy and confident woman and owns a small shop with monthly income of around £40 – sufficient for her needs. It all happened when she was referred to a UMN partner. She was registered for their community and home-based care service (CHBC) and received counselling. Her CD4 cell count was very low. Anti Retroviral Therapy was started immediately. She continues to receive regular healthcare support. As she started recovering, she began to feel positive about herself and wanted to earn her own living. The NGO supported her with £130 from its income generation fund. Devi also borrowed £65 from a savings group. In this way, she was able to open a shop. With the income from her shop, she is now hoping to educate her children. She has started living her life in a positive way. She says her worries have reduced from the time she discovered she was HIV positive and she is more hopeful about her life.

The Cost

MAI needs to raise £51,000 in each of the first two years and £40,000 in year 3 to enable the project to change the situation in these two districts of Nepal.

If you would like to see more people like Devi improve their quality of life, please consider making a monthly investment of £25 a month – just 82p a day.

If you would prefer to make a single gift, please consider:

  • £20 covers the cost of teaching HIV prevention to 20 young people
  • £50 ensures 35 people aged 15-49 will be tested for HIV and counselled
  • £100 funds staff for a month to train people in health awareness
  • £150 would provide seed funding for a small business
  • £1600 will mean 30 HIV clients will receive vocational training

We will keep you updated on the progress of your important work with us, praying as well as giving.

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