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PRACTICAL INCLUSIVITY

The PEPFAR Launch was graced by, Ms Mary Borgman representative, the PEPFAR Coordinator Uganda, Ms Marcella Karekye Director GCIC, and Ms Laura Kanushu Mp member of parliament representing PWDS among other stakeholders.

When dealing with practical inclusivity, it is often common to find execution quite different as you reach out to different types of people. Let us take you for a ride. Information about HIV & AIDS has been available to the Ugandan people for over four decades. In the way the information was and is predominantly distributed, it is and was targeting people that were within a certain affluence. HIV & Aids was a disease that was once a pandemic which spoke to its ability and potential to infect anyone in the world at the same time and yet information dissemination was hardly inclusive. These actions spoke so loudly without words the importance every group ignored or paid attention to really carried. People living with disabilities mostly fell under this group where information dissemination about HIV & Aids wasn’t primarily conversations they were involved in. It was common to find many projects regarding HIV & Aids without a sign language person or Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Materials in braille which automatically determined the kind of audience to which such projects were paying attention.

Recognition of critical partners supporting Tunaweza Foundation at the PEPFAR Launch with the PEPFAR Coordinator Ms Mary Bogman handing over a certificate to Ms Marcella

With some of the facts above and lived experiences, the Tunaweza foundation launched the PEPFAR Project in July 2022 in Kawempe to enhance the PWD HIV Response perspectives. The PEPFAR project came into play so it can solely focus on commonly marginalized and forgotten people living with disabilities even in life-threatening situations like the HIV & Aids scourge. The project’s outputs revolve around designing and promoting appropriate PWD-style IEC pathways for HIV/AIDs prevention. It also focuses on supporting referrals of PWDs to facilities to access HIV testing and treatment services to achieve the 95-95-95 HIV/AIDS goal. The project provides counselling services to PWDs affected or infected with HIV/AIDS. This project is an example of how differently inclusivity plays out when dealing with different types of people.

Supporting people living with disabilities with assistive aids in Kawempe at the PEPFAR Launch

While the world has become more inclusive with TV stations taking up sign language persons and braille being more available, some facts are yet to change. People living with disabilities have been missing out on some vital information that would have helped shape their lives. While we can’t make up for lost time, as Tunaweza Foundation we plan to enhance the quality of life for people living with disabilities as well as HIV & Aids. Sometimes practical inclusivity is far away from involving everyone at once, sometimes it’s about breaking away from a particular group of people so information can be finely focused and tailored to them.

AINEMBABAZI SHARON JEAN

Content Writer

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