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Christian Aid in the Philippines: an exit learning review

Building climate resilience and strengthening civil society

Another chance to live and thrive

Amina Sani lost everything when Boko Haram attacked her village in 2015. Like many other people living in Gora, Shani Borno State Nigeria, Amina and her family returned to their village with all means of livelihood gone, everything destroyed. As a mother of 7, making a living as a potter proved hard. So, when Amina was enlisted to be part of a saving and loans scheme, and trained in business skills, supported by Christian Aid and WFP, she was extremely grateful. ‘May Christian Aid live long’. Amina prays. To support her children, Amina has remained extremely committed to the saving and loans scheme. With an initial seed fund of N12,000, Amina borrowed a further N5,000 from friends, just enough to start a grain business. Within weeks of buying and selling grain, Amina paid back her loan and invested in buying mobile network cards, which she now sells as well as grain. Now, when Amina sells her grain, she makes N1,000 per bag. The mobile network cards are also profitable, and she makes 10% profit on her investments in this area of her business. ‘Being a member of Christian Aid’s saving and loans scheme was a turning point in my life’, Amina says. She explains that making clay and pottery was previously not profitable, and that her new business has made life much easier for her and for her family. It has given her another chance to live and thrive. ‘My children now eat well’ Amina explains, and she is happy that her last child is active and happy. Amina is one of many women from Gora Village, Shani Borno State who have turned their lives around through the support of this project.

HIV Related Stigma and Shame in Nigerian Faith Communities

There have been suggestions and clear indications that religion, with its potentials to influence behaviours, provides opportunity that can be leveraged on to achieve HIV prevention goal by involving religious leaders at the local level. There is also evidence suggesting that religious engagement presents important potential for improving physical and psychological health and well-being of people living with HIV as religious beliefs are seen to reduce depression, increase optimism and strength in dealing with a difficult life transition like HIV infection.     Faith leaders have the advantages of robust followership, an existing platform to reach people and access to resources beyond the immediate community. Religious leaders enjoy the respect as opinion leaders in their faith congregations and communities and have the opportunity to use the pulpit to challenge destructive prejudices that reinforce stigma, and at the same time convey important information to the population to improve uptake of HIV services as people tend to listen to what their faith leaders say. However, there have been concerns of high perceptions of stigma emanating from religious communities connected with the religious narratives that associate HIV infection to “sinful” sexual behaviour. This report presents findings from an assessment on the nature and predictors in Abuja, Anambra and Benue States on HIV related stigma, discrimination and shame in Nigerian Faith Communities and how Faith leader play an important role in reducing the stigma.