As in other African Countries, TB and HIVAIDS are emerging as a major health and development concern in Lesotho. The government is the key provider of health services in the country, however there is a need for comprehensive approach when dealing with the epidemic of HIVAIDS which include among other such as engagement of all stakeholders like NGOs and individuals like the key-population in HIV interventions. TB, HIV/AIDS, Sexual transmitted diseases are diseases that require promoting integrated health services delivery. Our HIV and TB programmes focus on awareness raising, education, sexual reproductive health rights, advocacy, and care. Health and Social Development Commission identifies and assess children who are suspected of being in need of care, some children are referred to specialized service providers and some individual programmes are devised to suit their needs. Our aim is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for disabled people and People living with HIV and AIDS, and those who are affected. We are providing psychosocial support and counselling to people affected and infected by HIV and disabled people. Disabled people are provided with help and guidance on social problems which may interfere with their rehabilitation and eventually reintegration. Efforts are also made to build the person’s self-confidence and motivation. Disabled persons are provided with medical, psycho-social and vocational sustainable for different kinds of training and work. We also assist disabled people and the key population to live fully integrated lives in society.
Training of persons with disabilities, Key-Population and their organizations in competence areas is critical in addressing and mitigating stigma, discrimination and violence, thus effective in engaging and shaping local development agenda and holding community and district authorities responsive and accountable. Our actions are about developing capacity of the persons with disabilities, key-populations and their organizations to facilitate community policy forums in order to engage effectively in promoting public participation. Our aim is to raise awareness regarding disabled children’s right to education and training teachers to work with children with disabilities.
Human rights abuses and violations significantly undermine the right to health of persons with disability and key populations and increases their vulnerability and risk of exposure to HIV, including by limiting access to sexual and reproductive health care such as HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. This commission plays key role in addressing the problems above through comprehensive sexuality education, Sensitization, mobilizing and advocating for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of the key-populations in Lesotho. We work with people affected and infected by HIV to bring about ownership of the results. Central to our programs is Rights-based approach towards HIV as the tool of advocacy for social change and transformation, specifically for changing the lives of the poor and oppressed people by working with various systems available in a democratic dispensation. It has been demonstrated that the advocacy process demands people’s organization and their commitments towards the policy change. By imparting the skills to persons with disabilities, key-populations and their organizations, we are changing the power structure at the grass roots level that would result in facilitating the destruction of fear, vulnerability, dependency and submission. The advocacy process is intended to restore confidence and the ability to demand and negotiate the poor and oppressed people’s space. Although Lesotho is physically small country, government structures are perceived to be far away from citizens. Our actions are therefore towards empowering Persons with disabilities, key-populations and their organizations with information, knowledge and confidence to demand for services and hold local leaders and other service providers accountable. We are providing a holistic civic education to ensure that citizens are aware of their roles, responsibilities and their rights, and they are motivated to participate in local and national development activities.
It is important that the public understand the government’s policy towards the services they are providing to them so that they are able to hold it accountable. We provide technical support to non-state actors on policy research and analysis. Research and Policy analysis is a scientific process that helps in analyzing and generating evidence particularly in a development programs. The tools for research and policy analysis are critical for policy engagement because policy can be assessed in terms of intentions, objectives or impact. Engaging in policy process offers an opportunity for ensuring that non state actors support interventions that help to prevent and mitigate the impacts of HIV/AIDS. We also assist disabled persons of working age and the key population to acquire work skills, attitudes and habits that will enable them to produce and respond to service needs and market trends in their respective areas. Capacity building programmes towards areas necessary is engaged such as project management, entrepreneurship, marketing, financial management, leadership and monitoring and evaluation etc.
Our Programs and Projects
Key Populations Investment Fund (KPIF) DHAOL is implementing the EpiC/KPIF project at Leribe, Berea and Maseru districts focusing on activities aimed at reducing Stigma and Discrimination among Key-populations, Sensitization of policymakers and law enforcement agencies on KP health and human rights issues and gaps as well as Implementation of Legal and Rights Literacy Campaigns (“know your rights”) for MSMs, TGs and FSWs. This program is targeting the female sex workers (FSW), men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender persons (TGs).
The EpiC/KPIF-supported program in Lesotho aims to strengthen the ongoing KP HIV prevention and care interventions through increasing the
technical leadership and strengthening systems for planning, program delivery, and monitoring, evaluation of the local civil society organizations, particularly
those KP-led and KP-competent; promoting an enabling environment for HIV prevention and treatment service delivery to KPs; and, improving the delivery and expansion
of KP-competent services. The project aims to achieve the following results area:
1) Result Area 1: Stigma and Discrimination Reduction.
2) Result Area 2: Sensitization of policymakers and law enforcement agencies on KP health and human rights issues and gaps.
3) Implementation of Legal and Rights Literacy Campaigns (“know your rights”). The KPIF program for Lesotho has been implemented by Pact Lesotho, under the technical guidance of FHI 360. The project is implemented through the Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) Project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The aim of this project is to contribute to the reduction of HIV risk and transmission and to improve care and treatment outcomes among key populations (KP).
While the environment for provision of HIV prevention, treatment, and care services for KPs has been improving in Lesotho because of advocacy efforts at multiple levels, including those led by the local community-based organizations (CSOs), this group continues to face legal, economic, and social barriers which inhibit their access to stigma-free HIV services. Of specific note, the laws in Lesotho remain contradictory in relation to protecting the rights of KPs. For example, the Criminal Procedures Act, which criminalizes sodomy between men (though not between men and women), is contradicted by the more recent Sexual Offences Act of 2003, that endorses sexual activity between consenting adults.
Additionally, access to legal services for KPs remains insufficient. To date, the country has not yet instituted a National Human Rights Commission. There is also limited availability of funding to support HIV programming for KPs as few CSOs are adequately funded to fill these gaps or coordinate adequately with others delivering prevention and treatment services, while their capacity also needs building. Even though data is limited, there is also evidence that KPs are primary targets for violence including sexual and gender-based violence while others continue to face the negative attitudes of providers while seeking health care services, including HIV services.
DHAOL is currently implementing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funded project through US Embassy Maseru. The project is aimed at strengthening community response to orphan care and we are working through three pillars as follows;
1. Assessing the situation of AIDS orphans and children in need of care
2.Increasing awareness of the problems affecting AIDS orphans and children in need of special protection
3. Strengthening communities through communal projects and activities
DHAOL implemented Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Initiation Project targeting at high risk populations with a particular focus on Adolescent’s Girls and Young Women (AGYW) and female sex workers. This project was aimed at mobilizing and capacitating the target group mentioned above about PrEP and it was funded by USAID through JHPIEGO. We had 22 Peer Educators working in this Project on the daily basis at Berea District. We are collaborating with Ministry of Education and schools because most of our target groups are found in Secondary and High schools within the project area. We were mobilizing and doing referrals for HIV testing and PrEP initiations. ...
We offer Individual, Couples, family and group counseling programs and services in a safe and supportive environment where people can openly discuss their concerns with professional Counsellors. Our Services include family resource coaching, adoption and foster care support, networking groups, and referral linkages to ministry of Social Development, health facilities and other relevant institutions. We use Asset Based Need model in programing on our initiatives.
DHAOL is currently running the “Youth Leadership Center” at Berea. The Center is working to foster Healthy leadership development of the Youth in Lesotho. With our help, Youth gain the skills necessary to develop a positive sense of self and find a community to which they can connect and affirm their place in society. We are collaborating with Ministry of Gender, Youth Sports and Recreation through Berea Youth Resource Center where we are doing this programing. In our Center we offer Peer leadership trainings, College/University and career reediness support, One-on-one career support, Social activities and events, Performing arts programing and many more. We do outreaches to offer career guidance to in school and out of school Youth.