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African CUs to mark tomorrows World AIDS Day
MADISON, Wis. (11/30/07)--Credit unions are marking World AIDS Day tomorrow, with several African savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs or credit unions) working to show that leadership and education make a difference. Saturday will recognize 33.2 million people worldwide living with
In Capetown, South Africa, Sibanye Cape SACCO's HIV/AIDS project committee meets monthly to discuss sharing HIV/AIDS information with the community. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
HIV/AIDs with the theme "Stop Aids. Keep the Promise--Leadership," which challenges people to take the lead at every level to combat and overcome the disease, according to the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). Some credit unions are leading the fight against the disease in their communities. "As trusted, member-owned organizations in their communities, credit unions are effective vehicles for raising awareness, sharing information and mitigating the spread of HIV/AIDS through prevention," said WOCCU President/CEO Pete Crear. In Kenya, Mwalimu SACCU, which serves secondary school teachers and is one of the country's largest SACCOs, launched an HIV/AIDS peer educator program in 2006, with support from the WOCCU/U.S. Agency for International Development's Cooperative Development Program, in partnership with JHPIEGO, an international health organization affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University. Today, 27 members have become certified peer leaders. Each leader trains five peer educators, who then continue the "cascade of information."
In Kenya, a new peer educator receives her certificate for completing the Mwalimu SACCO's Stop AIDs peer educator training program.
In South Africa during February 2006, Shameem Gaffoor, a Strathmore-WOCCU African Management Institute (SWAMI) graduate and loan officer for Sibanye Cape SACCO, formed an HIV/AIDS committee comprised of one board member and three SACCO staffers. The committee established relationships with other nonprofits in Cape Town to gather information for the SACCO's members. To recognize World AIDS Day, Sibanye Cape SACCO will provide free access to a testing facility for members and distribute brochures about the difference between HIV and AIDS. World AIDS Day has been observed annually on Dec. 1 since 1988.
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