Nyanza province in western Kenya suffers from one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the country. The region sees high levels of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and there is a chronic lack of support for the enormous numbers of children left orphaned or vulnerable by this disease.
Since 2003, Ace Africa Kenya has worked to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS these communities. Activities focus on training community groups in agriculture and diet, to improve the immediate health and wellbeing of vulnerable children and adults.
The organisation also establishes child rights support networks to build the community's ability to protect the health and rights of children, while child-run clubs in schools educate children about HIV and put them at the centre of finding solutions. Ace's interventions include the provision of psychosocial and direct support through counseling and HIV/AIDS testing, basic medication, nutritional supplements, school uniforms and bursaries.
To date, Ace has reached more than 300,000 children with its range of life-transforming services. Most importantly, it has helped communities build their capacity to support orphans and vulnerable children. Ace is recognised as the leading NGO of its kind in western Kenya and is the Kenya partner for Duke University's five-year international research project, Positive Outcomes for Orphans. The organisation has now extended its work into northern Tanzania.
The flexibility of the Impact Award funding allowed the organisation to undertake the sorts of activities not often funded by other donors. Ace used the funds to purchase sanitary pads for girls, nutritious flour and essential medical supplies. It also secured shelter for vulnerable people and paid for counseling and HIV/AIDS testing.
Ace used part of the award to run a series of campaigns on jigger treatment and prevention, hygiene, child rights and protection and malnutrition. Funding has also been used towards training of Area Advisory Committees (AACs) as vehicles of community empowerment.
With the consultancy funding, Ace staff received training in financial management and the development of income-generating social enterprises.
Photos: Kristian Buus