Despite the declining trends in HIV/AIDS infection and prevalence in Uganda, HIV/AIDS remains a major cause of death among adults in Uganda with a prevalence rate of 6.1%. The current focus for Uganda in the fight against HIV/AIDS is to balance preventrion strategies with treatment efforts for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs).
The STAR approach was developed after learnings from AAIU’s past work of piloting an innovation of integrating reflect and HIV/AIDS in Pallisa District in Uganda. STAR is a participatory methodology that emerged from the fusion of Stepping Stones and Reflect.
The project aims at contributing to the prevention and mitigation of HIV/AIDS among poor women and girls, boys and men. The project’s main aim is to develop an integrated and comprehensive approach to the community and individual empowerment in the face of HIV/AIDS, achievable through practical action and reflection, providing a reference point of good practice for practitioners in the country and elsewhere.
The main focus this year will be capacity building of STAR’s partners’ organizations to be able to implement HIV/AIDS programmes from a rights based approach. The need for STAR partners to deliver programmes that respond to the rights of PLWHAs and poor women and children is high. STAR is a new approach within and outside the organization and hence attracts attention and draws interest from stakeholders. It is therefore able to change the lives of people and communities living in the face of HIV/AIDS. Quarterly newsletters have been produced at partner level with input from district officials so as to disseminate information. In addition to this, sharing in different fora e.g. social forum has been promoted to the extent that there are exhibitions of circle developments during such forums.
There was a presentation at the Stepping Stones conference that was held recently. The guide has been used to develop case studies. All partners have guides and newspaper cuttings are used as one of the methods for documentation. Role plays and poems have been encouraged as a form of shared learning. One of the groups has a recorded play.
Facilitator visits are promoted and encouraged. There is support provided from the NC and DI staff to facilitators and partners on a regular basis. Furthermore, PM&E training was done for both partners and they have their baselines documented. The baseline and M&E framework have been developed. There are plans to produce a documentary on STAR circles in Uganda.