Source:  NewVision
A delegation from Swaziland is in the country to learn from Uganda's experience in integrating microfinance services into HIV interventions.
The team first met at the UNAIDS country office in Kampala yesterday. UNAIDS is the UN AIDS advocacy body.

The team comprises the deputy governor of Swaziland's Central Bank, Sibongile Mdluli, Sophia Monica Mukasa, Swaziland's UNAIDS country coordinator and Thuli Dlala, an MP.

Also in the delegation were activists Bamisile Hlatshwayo, Phinidle Mamba and youth leaders Makhosini Dlamini and Fukudze.

We have read a lot of success stories in East Africa, including Uganda, and we would like to learn from them, Sibongile said.

Sibongile, whose team also visited the Microfinance Support Centre, said women in her country were in the process of setting up a bank.

The bank is an initiative of the Swaziland Women Economic Empowerment Trust and is meant to reduce new HIV infections and promote economic independence.
The bank will provide low interest loans to women groups as part of efforts to improve the livelihood of poor communities.

Sibongile said her country was encouraging women to undertake self-help projects, following a decline in government revenue due to the global financial crisis.

UNAIDS country coordinator, Musa Bungudu, said Uganda had achieved commendable progress in fighting HIV.

He, however, condemned provisions in the anti-homosexuality Bill and the HIV Prevention Bill, which criminalise HIV transmission, saying they were a threat to human rights.

The delegates noted that African governments needed to find alternative funding mechanisms, since over 80% of current HIV interventions were funded by donors.

The delegation will meet MPs, women organisations and take a tour of several microfinance projects during their one-week tour.

The visit was initiated by the Champions for an HIV-Free Generation, an organisation of African leaders including former African presidents and other influential personalities.


Phindile, Sophia and other members of the Swazi team at UNAIDS offices in Kampala

Phindile, Sophia and other members of the Swazi
team at UNAIDS offices in Kampala

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