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We have seen a light': participatory activities to explore HIV/AIDS vulnerability (PLA 52)

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V. Corey Wright describes how a gender matrix activity was used with Maasai communities in Northern Tanzania to raise awareness of the vulnerability of women and girls to HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is disproportionately affecting women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS has referred to this trend as ‘the feminisation of the epidemic’. Corey gives details of how the matrix is developed with different community groups, including children, and gives tips on how to facilitate the process. As well as raising awareness and generating a comprehensive mutual understanding of women’s and girls’ status, the activities also encouraged participants to reflect on the cultural values, customs, and other factors that compromise women and girls’ human rights and contribute to their vulnerability. Participants, including the men, began to recognise their contribution to the problem and their responsibility to make individual change as well as promote social change. This is reflected in the implementation by communities of some of the strategies for change identified during the process.

Participatory Learning and Action 52 is a general issue. It includes a wide selection of articles, extracts and training tips from participatory practitioners around the world.

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board.

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Participatory Learning and Action 52: General issue
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G02147