Local voices: A community perspective on HIV and hunger in Zambia

Report
from Action Contre la Faim France
Published on 31 Jan 2008
Introduction

This report documents the findings of Local Voices, a six month qualitative research project that provided HIV orphans, vulnerable children and their carers with the opportunity to discuss and document the difficulties they face providing food, water and healthcare for their families. Through meetings, detailed interviews and discussions the project initiated and developed an ongoing dialogue with 20 families in four areas of the Kitwe district in the Copperbelt province of Zambia: Chimwemwe, Kwacha, Chipata and Zamtan.

The discourse that developed over the course of the project has given Action Against Hunger (ACF-UK) and CINDI insight in two key areas. Firstly, the research has added a household perspective to existing ideas and analysis of food security in an HIV/AIDS context. Secondly, the project highlights the knowledge and learning that can be gained when people living with a positive HIV diagnosis are seen as 'experts' and their experiences are used to help identify and address the problems they face.

Through the voices of the project's participants, the testimonies and images that are the core of this document explore the social and economic impact HIV/AIDS has on families affected by the disease. ACF-UK and CINDI pioneered this work because we believe HIV/AIDS can no longer be seen as just a medical issue. Within this report we demonstrate that HIV/AIDS has a direct impact on the economic and social well-being of both households and communities; and as such it must be tackled using an integrated approach where food, livelihoods and social protection are highlighted as solutions alongside access to medical care.

This report opens with statistics that outline current rates of HIV/AIDS and poverty in Zambia, focusing specifically on the Copperbelt province and the Kitwe district. The testimonies that form the centrepiece of this report are introduced by a summary of the key social and economic issues that HIV orphans, vulnerable children and their carers face, together with a synopsis of government and community based organisation (CBO) responses. These topics have been selected as they cover the core issues that were raised during the Local Voices project. The document ends with a brief conclusion and the report recommendations.