Wednesday, July 05, 2006

ASAP Innovation

Our own Willie Dhlandhlara, ASAP Country Director, has been invited to be a speaker at CARE International’s Regional Lessons Learnt Workshop on Rural Microfinance in Victoria Falls this week! Willie will present on enhancing the capacity of rural microfinance projects to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS and improve household capacity to care for orphans and the chronically ill. The invitation serves as a much-deserved honor for the whole staff, who have been working tirelessly to provide long-term solutions that will prepare communities to begin meeting their own needs.

ASAP’s successful Kufusa Mari rural savings club project was developed based on CARE’s Village Savings and Lending methodology, beginning a valuable partnership between the two organizations. Since its launch, Kufusa Mari has helped thousands to meet their own basic needs and take a first step out of poverty by teaching them how to work together to pool their resources. This method is revolutionary, because it puts the power back in the hands of the participants and provides a self-sustaining way for participants to meet their own needs instead of relying on outside donors.

ASAP’s staff members have taken the success of the rural savings clubs even further, by using the existing cluster groups for the dissemination of health information. The leaders of each cluster group are trained in HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention strategies. They then share what they have learned with the other participants in their cluster. From there, the knowledge spreads through the community.

Willie will be presenting on this new innovation at the conference this week, helping other organizations working in southern Africa to better educate their participants about HIV/AIDS.

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