Lusaka. July 21, 2015.
MAZABUKA – On July 21, U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires David Young attended a dissemination and award meeting organized by Project Concern International through its “Church Partnerships for Positive Change” (CPPC) project. Since late 2010, PCI has worked with the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) in eight Districts and 26 congregations in Southern and Western Provinces. CPPC engages clergy and congregations in analyzing and addressing their HIV epidemic with the goal of achieving behavioral change and increased uptake of HIV services within their communities.
The project is supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through funding provided by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The program aims to increase HIV prevention activities with church congregations and overcome barriers to HIV prevention by use of agreements or “compacts” to improve the access and uptake of HIV services. It is aimed at engaging directly with target congregations and entering into a process whereby leaders and individuals alike are all involved in increasing activities that reduce the risk of HIV infection.
During the event, PCI recognized high-performing church communities and volunteers in Mazabuka and Monze Districts and incentive awards were distributed to churches that reached their HIV prevention, care, and treatment service uptake milestones. A dissemination of the results of an external evaluation were shared that consisted of findings from interviews, group discussions, and the sharing of personal stories from the church community compact experience. A similar meeting will be held in Mongu later in the week.
These community initiatives and partnerships demonstrate successful collaboration between the U.S. government and various stakeholders who leverage combined resources and assets to close critical gaps in HIV services to reach an HIV-free generation.