The birth of Friends Women’s Association
In 2002, after attending a seminar on trauma and HIV/AIDS in Bujumbura, Burundi, a group of women came together to form the Friends Women’s Association, FWA. The purpose was to address the unique needs of women in the conflict and post-conflict environment. These women wanted to work together to improve each other’s lives and, in particular, address the problems of poverty, HIV/AIDS, sexual violence, and post-conflict trauma in their communities.
FWA is working towards the following goals:
Fwa staff (2011)
• Reduce transmission of HIV/AIDS through sensitization and education workshops
• Improve the lives of those already suffering from the effects of HIV/AIDS through the prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of opportunistic infections, and give psychosocial and nutritional care to HIV positive people
• Support women’s empowerment and peace consolidation through other activities
To provide a comprehensive health care to women and their families, to promote women’s leadership and autonomy and to strengthen peace and solidarity in Kamenge, a slum in Bujumbura and in other communities of Burundi.
We believe health is a human right. We alsobelieve that when this right is truly respected,there is hope for long-term sustainable peacein Burundi.We focus on the whole well-being of ourpatients and our community, treating both theirbodily needs and facilitating a process ofhealing from violence and trauma.
A little bit about Burundi
Burundi is ranked the 4th poorest country in the world.•The percentage of people living below the poverty line increased from 33% to 68%, from 1990 in 2004.•The national rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Burundi is above epidemic levels. In Kamenge, where the FWA Center is located, the rate of infection is estimated to be as high as 16%.•Burundi is one of the most over populated countries in Africa. The majority of Burundians live a daily struggle to survive, living often on barren land.
More about Kamenge
During the war, Kamenge was on the frontlines of fierce violence. Thelegacy of the war in this community includes issues surrounding: widows and female-headed households, orphans and vulnerable children displaced persons and refugees, high rates of HIV infection, high rates of poverty: including issues of food insecurity, lack ofaccess to clean drinking water, lack of adequate health care. Psychosocial trauma and sexual violence.