The purpose of the community HIV and AIDS programme is to contribute to the reduction of vulnerability to HIV and its impact, by preventing further HIV infections, by expanding treatment, care and support to orphans and vulnerable children, by reducing stigma and discrimination of the people affected by HIV, and by strengthening the capacity of the Zambian Red Cross in order to enable more effective planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting practices, and resource mobilisation and management systems. In Zambia the prevalence of HIV in adults was 17% in 2005. Zambia has the second highest number of orphans in Africa. HIV and AIDS account for half of the estimated 1.3 million orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in the country. Urban children (27%) are more likely to be orphaned or become vulnerable than rural children (16%). Approximately 19% of OVC are double orphans, since AIDS is likely to lead to the death of both parents. Double orphans are particularly vulnerable and are less likely to be in school compared to children with at least one living parent. The project is carried out in the Sesheke and Kazungula districts. Rapid and uncontrollable urbanisation has resulted in high population density in the cities. Here communities are very vulnerable to communicable diseases. The continued population growth has also lead to low access to sanitation facilities and to clean drinking water.
In order to prevent further HIV infections, targeted community based peer and information education puts the focus on male circumcision, parent to child transmission, voluntary counselling and testing, and mother and child health. Furthermore, medical (also treatment literacy), nutritional, and psychosocial support and counselling is provided to people living with HIV. Orphans and vulnerable children are provided holistic support. By sensitising communities and community leaders to sexual and gender violence, stigmatisation and discrimination will be reduced.
The project specifically targets orphans and vulnerable children, and youth, as well as their families, by peer education work and community mobilisation. Traditional healers, chiefs and communities at large will be sensitised on sexual reproductive health issues, partly through earlier training of traditional leaders. Through the International Federation Regional office in Southern Africa The Netherlands Red Cross will support the Zambian Red Cross that is implementing the project. The Regional office will also receive direct funding.