- (Re) building Livelihoods of Communities Confronting HIV and AIDS in Ethiopia
- Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review
- Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa
- Volume 32, Number 1, January 2016
- pp. 63-91
- View Citation
- Additional Information
People affected by HIV and AIDS face risks which secure livelihood can enable them to avoid. At-risk groups and the type of risks differ between locations and over time. Opportunities to (re)build livelihoods are also diverse and context-specific. Supportive policies and programmes must therefore be responsive to these differences and to people’s and communities’ innovative capacities. This study assesses how five Ethiopian NGOs: one AIDS service organisation, one PLHIV network, one microfinance institution (MFI), one development NGO, and one faith-based NGO engaged in strengthening livelihoods in communities confronting HIV and AIDS identified at-risk groups, priorities for livelihood support, and responded to needs. Interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with purposefully selected beneficiaries, non-beneficiaries, and key informants. Findings show that the organisations support livelihoods in very different ways and have adopted different approaches in the way they organise, provide and attempt to ensure the sustainability of the support. However, support is often based on limited experience since there are no guidelines and proper monitoring and evaluation and feedback mechanisms are absent. All of the organisations did not conduct meaningful needs assessments, leading to the proliferation of stereotyped responses targeting stereotyped populations while other groups at significant risk of HIV are ignored. The organisations have also largely failed to keep AIDS in perspective since groups facing other challenges are rarely supported. Local innovations and suggestions from beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries are given little attention. This failure to draw on local innovation means that less effective activities are supported and productive relationships between organisations and communities are undermined. Nevertheless, there is an immense opportunity for evaluation and learning from these diverse practices.