In Zimbabwe, Beyond Stigma has been actively working to address HIV-related self-stigma and gender-based violence through partnerships with local organizations, including the Zimbabwe Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (ZNNP+), Trocaire, CONNECT Z.I.S.T, and more recently, The Centre for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Research Zimbabwe (CeSHHAR) and Zvandiri Africaid. Self-stigma can have severe physical and mental health consequences for those living with HIV or experiencing gender-based violence, including medication rejection, feelings of shame, self-blame, worthlessness, and isolation. Beyond Stigma's research and programs such as 'We are the Change' and Wakakosha aim to reduce the negative impacts of self-stigma in Zimbabwe and promote better mental health and wellbeing. Please explore below to learn more about our work in Zimbabwe.
The Wakakosha, or 'I'm Worth It" programme began in 2019 and is currently in progress. The goal of this program is to specifically address self-stigma amongst young people living with HIV, a vulnerable age group in the HIV crisis in Zimbabwe. One third of all new HIV infections in Zimbabwe are amongst young people aged 15-24, with young girls being disproportionately affected. Formative research conducted in the spring and summer of 2020 demonstrated the HIV self-stigma can cause negative self-judgements, relationship avoidance, school drop outs, isolation, and medication avoidance.
The research conducted helped shape and inform the Wakakosha program which began in January of 2021. This programme is based on inquiry-based stress reduction (IBSR), a technique of self-inquiry and includes 16-week workshop series, 3-day self-stigma course, training of trainers, and resource bank.
Read more here.
We are the Change
This programme took place between 2013-2015 and explored the core beliefs of self-stigma amongst people living with HIV in Zimbabwe. In order to develop an informed curriculum, formative research was conducted through qualitative interviews with people living with HIV. The core beliefs underlying HIV-related self-stigma were grouped into four categories: disclosure; sexuality and sexual pleasure; self-perception; and body, illness and death.
Using these findings, a 12 week self-stigma programme was implemented. These courses incorporated Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) in order to challenge negative thoughts about themselves and their HIV status. Those who attended the programme were then trained to continue the program. Read more details by clicking the button below:
Self-stigma, shame and gender-based violence
In 2017-2018, a new course on self-stigma, shame and gender-based violence was developed, delivered and locally adapted. During 2019, it is being rolled out in the two rural areas in Mutasa and Mutare, Zimbabwe.