Action Hope Malawi was born as a community initiative in Zomba district in Malawi – a district that has a HIV prevalence of 17%. That is almost twice the national HIV prevalence. Since it was founded Action Hope Malawi has increased the geographical reach of its activities to neighboring Blantyre and Machinga districts.
Action Hope Malawi was founded as a community based organisation in Zomba district by local community members – some of whom were living with HIV – in response to the massive health education problems in the district. It has since expanded and now also works in Blantyre and Machinga districts. Action Hope Malawi works with approximately 200 sex workers or vulnerable people in each of the three locations.
Action Hope Malawi has a sex worker on the board, and the staff has strong relations to more than 200 sex workers in each of the communities that it works in. Action Hope Malawi pays regular visits to the women providing on-site testing and one-on-one counselling.
There is a high degree of trust between the sex workers and the staff. Whereas Action Hope Malawi has had a strong focus on sex workers from the onset, it has widened the scope to include more key populations.
Over the years and through the collaboration with the Danish AIDS Foundation, Action Hope Malawi has achieved important political results. It has brought attention, and action, to issues such as public clinics selling HIV medicine on the black market, lack of testing, counselling and treatment in affected communities, and Action Hope Malawi played a very active role in repealing the Rogue and Vagabond Law in 2017 – a law that criminalized sex workers.
Action Hope Malawi has also been engaged in HIV prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM) for years and collaborates with The Danish AIDS Foundation’s other Malawian partner, Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), which trains staff on the particular and unique issues that MSM are facing.
Partnerships and collaboration
Partnerships and collaboration are both key to how The Danish AIDS Foundation works, but also how we envision a conducive framework for positive development should look like, and we are strong supporters, and enablers, of local collaboration, exchange of ideas and mutual capacity development between our partners as well as civil society and power holders at large.
As an organization with strong ties to the sex workers community, Action Hope Malawi is a member of several networks focusing on sex workers and HIV – these include Malawi National Sex Workers Alliance, Global Network of Sex Work Projects, Malawi Network of AIDS Service Organisation, National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS, and Malawi Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS.