THE GOALS OF THE DIARY PROJECT
To reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in Malawi communities through an increased sense of compassion;
To increase involvement of the Malawi population in HIV prevention and care and support programs in local communities; and
To increase understanding of personal risk and vulnerability to HIV among the general population.
FEEDBACK MECHANISMS: Up to 22 Radio Listeners Groups have been formed to give feedback on the project.The Diarists are fast becoming not only famous but also role models as they are being called upon by the communities to champion efforts to address HIV/AIDS. Some Diarists have been asked to offer speeches/testimonies about their status at public functions and of course funerals. It a rare opportunity in Malawi to speak about HIV/AIDS at a function where talks of HIV/AIDS are unheard of and mostly, unwelcome.One listener, who is among hundreds of letters that the radio stations have received in feedback wrote and I quote: “If we fought stigma, more people would open up and all of us would join hands like these courageous Diarists have done and we could have the assurance of defeating HIV/AIDS. I choose to emulate the example of the Diarists – can I be one?” The project is opening lines of communication that simply have not been opened before – communication that is crucial to making HIV/AIDS information accessible and part of people’s everyday lives.