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Kenyan CUs escalate HIVAIDS efforts
MADISON, Wis. (12/1/09)-- Kenyan savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), or credit unions, will boost their efforts this week to fight HIV/AIDS as a part of World AIDS Day, which is being celebrated today.
Click to view larger image The World Council of Credit Unions raised funds to build a new kitchen at Busia Compassionate Care Centre, Kenya. The orphanage houses roughly 50 children--several of whom are infected with HIV/AIDS. The funds were raised as a part of WOCCU’s efforts to spread awareness about the viruses in lieu of World AIDS Day. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
This year’s theme is “HIV: Reality.” SACCOs play an active role in combating the viruses and helping the families of those who die from HIV/AIDS, according to the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). Of those living with HIV/AIDS in 2008, 22 million lived in sub-Saharan African countries, including Kenya. About 2.7 million people--1.9 million of whom lived in sub-Saharan Africa--were newly infected last year, up from 2.5 million infected in 2007. “As trusted member-owned and operated financial cooperatives, SACCOs play a vital role in many aspects of the communities they serve,” said Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO. “SACCOs provide education and social support in an attempt to help mitigate the impact of this deadly disease.” In the community of Kericho, Ndege Chai SACCO will participate in a government-organized World AIDS Day event to more actively address HIV/AIDS’ impact in the community. The SACCO has established a scholarship fund for secondary school-age AIDS orphans and has mobilized orphan groups to help improve their economic status. The event will focus on creating public awareness of HIV/AIDS through talks, music, bodybuilding, beauty and soccer contests. Both the SACCO and WOCCU office have contributed funds to help underwrite the cost of the event. In Wagi, CENT SACCO is participating in an event organized by the Transformative Agents of Change Initiatives, which promotes HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and increases awareness among youth through sporting events and community theater. The event will include presentations by healthcare providers, sporting activities and contests. The local WOCCU office donated 20 sports balls to the effort. In Kisumu, WOCCU program staff raised $537 and the program matched the donation for a total of $1,073 to build new kitchens for two orphanages. Busia Compassionate Care Centre lost its kitchen during a recent rain storm. The orphanage houses 49 children ranging in age from two months to 17 years, of which 13 are HIV-positive and currently on antiretroviral treatment. Migosi Orphanage Home has 30 children ranging in age from one to 20 years, of which five are HIV-positive and currently receiving treatment. “Kenya's SACCOs play an important role in helping educate members and care for orphans of AIDS victims,” Crear said. “In Kenya and in other African nations, part of the mission of serving members is also doing what you can to help save lives.”
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