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'I'm Worth It"
​Building and Enhancing Self Worth Amongst Adolescent Girls and Boys and Young Adults Living with HIV

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When I am not positive (towards myself) I just feel I am not worth it. I don't deserve to be on this planet at all. Because sometimes my family the way they treat me, it makes me feel like I am a burden to them - Wakakosha participant

Wakakosha Mission

Self-stigma is extremely detrimental to the mental and physical health of people living with HIV. Self-Stigma is understood as the negative judgments one has towards themselves resulting in feelings of shame, worthlessness, and self-blame. ZvandiriCeSHHAR, and Beyond Stigma have partnered to create the Wakakosha programme to reduce self-stigma amongst young people living with HIV in Harare, Zimbabwe. This 16-week programme is the first of its kind, incorporating Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction by The Work of Byron Katie, psychology, art, music, meditation, and group activities. Wakakosha aims to empower the young members of Zvandiri to love and accept who they are, including their HIV status, in order to improve their health and wellbeing.

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Three Stages of Wakakosha

Wakakosha, or 'I'm Worth It" program. This program is intended to target young people living with HIV in Zimbabwe and address their unique beliefs and experience of HIV self-stigma. This program has three phases: research, a 16-week workshop series, and a self-stigma tool box.

To develop this program, a workshop was held with members of Zvandiri to collaborate on the right type of intervention. Following the workshop, a formative research study was completed to understand the unique beliefs and experiences of HIV self-stigma amongst young people living with HIV. Beyond Stigma and Zvandiri held 16 in-depth semi-structured interviews with young adults ages 18-24 years. This research has been submitted for publication.

'Self-Stigma to Self-Worth' 16-Week Workshop Series:
The research findings were used to create an innovative curriculum for a 16-week workshop series addressing self-stigma. The workshops were delivered to 30 young people and ran from August to December 2021. Each workshop had a unique theme and specific objectives that were rooted in the findings of the previous research. Some topics include HIV disclosure, body image, relationships, shame, and guilt. The camp took a mixed method approach to explore these topics and reduce self-stigma using inquiry based stress reduction, group activities, music, art, and creative expression. The workshops were delivered by locally trained coaches, themselves living with HIV, and international facilitators. Weekly evaluations of the participants' experience were gathered and they provided invaluable information on what they liked about the workshops, what they did not like, what they learned from each session, and how they think we can improve from session to session. The participants' responses were carefully analysed for weekly improvement, and they are also being used as a resource in developing the self-stigma toolbox. 
The Wakakosha team is also working on follow-up monthly sessions to check in with some of the participants on their process of inquiry.

Self-Stigma Tool Box:
After the workshop series, the self-stigma tool box will help ensure the sustainability and continuation of this programme. The toolbox will include a revised camp curriculum, an online resource hub, a short three day self-stigma training, and a course to train the trainers (ToT). The ToT will train members of Zvandiri to support their peers and lead programmes with this curriculum and act as mentors to others living with HIV. These resources and programmes in the self-stigma toolbox will be deployed following the first Self-Stigma to Self-Worth Camp.

'Self-Stigma to Self-Worth' 16-Week Workshop Series

Session 1: Self-stigma, emotions and the power of thinking

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Session 3: ARVs & My HIV Story

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Session 5: My Body & HIV

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Session 2: Inquiry and Judgements about HIV

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Session 4: How HIV Limits Me

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Session 6: My Body & Sex

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Quotes from Participants

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Meet the Wakakosha team

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Wakakosha Infographic

Facilitating Organizations:

In collaboration with:

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