Monday, September 19, 2005

I figured that it was high time that I filled you all in on some of the work that I´m doing here (life in Maputo isn´t all cervajas and chapas you know!!). This morning marked the beginning of a four day conferance that MMF-MEDA was organizing here in Maputo on "microfinance tools for confroting the HIV/AIDS crisis in mozambique." This workshop really could not have been more topical for my research project and I was very excited to meet some of the excutive members of the microfinance banks and members of the Mozambican government that would be attending the workshop. We have participants from all over Mozambique as well as Angola, Zambia and South Africa. Over the past two weeks, much of the work at the MMF office has been spent preparign for this conferance (including some late nights on Saturday and Sunday!!).

We´re holding the event at the Kaya Kwanga (which is sort of like the Mozambican Club Med). After a greeting from a representative of the Mozambican Central Bank and the Canadian High Commission, we got down to business. We started off by comparing two microfinance institutions (MFIs) that took differant approaches to the HIV/AIDS crisis...one that ignored the problem and saw it´s default rates and client drop out rates skyrocket, and the other that adjusted it´s programming to meet the financial demands of their HIV impacted client base. It was very interesting to see how the participants reacted to these scenarios while sharring ideas with each other over how MFIs can play a better role in confronting the AIDS pandemic in this country.

We then has a presentation by a Mozambican doctor on the facts and myths behind HIV/AIDS. The problem with a lot of rural communities in Africa is that they have a severe lack of reliable information on the disease and as a result a lot of urban myths are allowed to circulate. For example: AIDS is God´s punishment for sinners, one can cure themselves of AIDS by having sex with a virgin, or having sex with a condom actually increases one´s chance of getting the virus. There is so much stigma attached to HIV/AIDS in many places of Mozambique that many people refuse to talk about the virus and how it is passed on. This conferance is great because it is getting people within the microfiance sector to confront the facts head on and come up with financial solutions to confront the problem. Mozambique currently has a 16% infection rate that is rising steadily. In the central part of the country, a hot spot for infected miners, truck drivers and sex trade workers, the rate is much higher...one out of four people have HIV/AIDS. This is the reality that faces the country and it is quite an experience to be a part of a conferance where the participants are serious about finding practical answers to this tragic problem.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Your source of information and conversation about education in Georgia and the nation.
Yo, awesome blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a voip microphone site/blog. It pretty much covers voip microphone related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jared, I've finally gotten a chance to check out your site, and it sounds like you're having fun over there! What an awesome opportunity! I would have expected nothing less from you.

I've been pretty busy trying to get my thesis done (you know what that's like!)....now all that there is to look forward to is the defense :s

Keep up the good work,
Tara

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, it's interesting to hear about how the myths are actually creating more negative impact on aids/hiv spreading. It is really quite upsetting. And being here in winnipeg does add a sense of helplessness. How can people here in North America help?

kj

12:20 AM  
Blogger winewinewine said...

Hey Jared... sounds like you've got your work cut out for you, but I'm sure if tehre's anyone that can help make progress happen over there it is you.

By the way, I was watching the news tonight and actually saw real NHL hockey. I thought I was maybe drunk. Well, OK, I was, but I still saw it for sure on the news.

Take care,
Ben

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey man,

awesome site. and your work sounds really interesting...i'm so proud of you...hahaha. anyways man keep 'em coming. i'll send you an email to let you know how things are giong down in old E-town (not quite Mozambique).

your friend of a different blend,

ian

9:42 PM  

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