The Zimbabwe AIDS Prevention and Support Organization (ZAPSO), an HIV and AIDS service organization, which began operating in Zimbabwe as Family Health International (FHI) in 1997, celebrates its 25 years of activity.
The organization, which has been registered as a local private voluntary organization, has over the years acquired a wealth of knowledge and experience in various aspects of integrated HIV programming, sexual and reproductive health rights as well as as gender-based violence (GBV) supported by effective, experienced, committed and highly motivated staff.
ZAPSO Executive Director Thomas Kazonda said they were happy to celebrate the 25-year milestone associated with their contributions to the HIV response.
“This month, we join the world in commemorating Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but even more striking is the fact that we are also celebrating 25 years of ZAPSO’s existence as a cancer service organization. AIDS,” Kazonda said.
“We are proud to have achieved several milestones in the work of mainstreaming HIV, sexual and reproductive health rights and GBV prevention.
“ZAPSO has facilitated the implementation of these programs in different communities and workplaces.
“We would like to thank all of our stakeholders, including funding partners, for their continued support.”
ZAPSO Programs Coordinator Fortunate Dhliwayo said the organization’s achievements over the years were largely due to their approach to programming as well as strategic partnerships with key stakeholders and interlocutors.
“ZAPSO uses multi-sectoral, participatory and rights-based approaches, through partnerships with government, development partners, civil society organizations and the private sector,” Dhliwayo said.
“We support the National HIV and AIDS Strategy and are pleased to have made commendable progress.
“We continue to reinvent ourselves in line with industry trends and dynamics and we hope to continue to play our part in this.”
Over the years, ZAPSO has rolled out various programs among the Workplace Wellness Program (WPWP).
“Through the WPWP program, ZAPSO helps businesses and organizations develop and implement specific and relevant functional HIV and wellness policies and programs on a cost-recovery basis,” said Dhliwayo. .
ZAPSO’s HIV and wellness activities include management awareness, workplace policy and program development, sexual and reproductive health (for children of workers and employers, workers , employers and their spouses), integrated HIV, sexual and reproductive health rights and sexual gender-based violence. awareness sessions as well as condom programs, among others.
The organization also advocates for voluntary male circumcision awareness training for peer educators in the workplace, provides HIV testing services, treatment, care and support services, training on treatment and nutrition, palliative care, research and information management (including impact assessments, knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and practices (KAPB), surveys, zero prevalence surveys, development as well as the distribution of information and education communication materials, among other key activities.
“Furthermore, ZAPSO facilitates the implementation of workplace wellness programs targeting small and medium enterprises and community programs in the informal economy – generating demand for integrated HIV prevention, health sexual and reproductive health and GBV,” Kazonda said.
“We also facilitated the implementation of demand generation for an integrated HIV, sexual and reproductive health and GBV prevention service in eight districts of Mashonaland Central province from 2007 to 2021.”
According to Dhliwayo, other key ZASPO interventions include home visits with the support of behavior change facilitators targeting boys and girls (10-24 years old), men and women (25+ years old) at using a home visitation manual.
To ensure peer-to-peer support, ZAPSO launched Sista2Sista, a mentoring initiative targeting vulnerable girls and young women aged 10-24.
“The model aimed to increase knowledge and use of integrated HIV prevention, SRHR and SGBV services,” Dhliwayo said.
“Self-efficacy is one of the central themes covered by the Sista2Sista manual, thus enabling them to make responsible and informed decisions regarding reproductive health.”
As the organization celebrates 25 years of results-based programming, plans are underway to introduce new projects that would help strengthen the organization’s footprint, while driving meaningful change and generating the right impact in HIV response efforts.