Community  outreach

Overview of outreach team activities

    Health is a birth right for everyone, hence TASC found it necessary to reach out to individuals and families at grass root level in the rural communities. This program focuses on mitigating the impact of HIV and AIDS. Traveling to communities is not an easy thing to do but the positive impact that we see in communities keeps us going.

    2007, was a hectic year for the outreach team, HIV/AIDS brought a paradigm shift in our interventions, fortunately, the new TASC strategic plan helped a lot in outlining the direction in which the TASC outreach unit would adopt as well as helped us to recommit ourselves to our cause. We had to plan our interventions in a way that they had optimum impact in the communities, and this called for the creation of community profiles. This included, assessing the needs of each of the communities visited by TASC as well as mapping out what other partners are involved with those communities.

    This process enabled us to plan interventions that were tailor made for the communities. Community Conversation Enhancement Process (see below, CCEP) continued to help us understand the communities better through assessing their knowledge on HIV and AIDS issues, heir attitudes and practices. Through the CCEP we were able to see the dynamics of the different communities in terms of gender distributions, norms and practices as well as identify gaps in knowledge which informed future topics to be discussed through the CCEP.

    Conducting home visits have given us the insight on reality of the impact of the HIV and AIDS pandemic on different families. Through home visits we've been able to make more accurate assessment of the family structure and home environment. They have enabled us to identify both barriers and support systems to clients which in turn helped us to implement the necessary interventions to ensure active participation of the family members.


    The TASC outreach program targets all persons within the rural communities that it serves. In 2007, the team worked with the following communities (our network's Map here):

Lubombo: Mahlabatsini, Ngcwaleni, Sibetsaphi, Maphungwane, Phuzamoya, Mbabala and Manyovu.

Shiselweni: Sandleni, New Heaven, Qomintaba, Nsalitje, Godloza, Mfishane, Matsanjeni, Lulakeni and Nyatsini

Manzini: Nhlambeni, Nkamazi, Ekudzeni, Lushikishini, Nkiliji, Timbutini, Ngculwini and Velezizweni.

Details of outreach team are available on page 20 of our report, here.

Community mobilization

    TASC counselors work very closely with Community Based Peer Educators (CBPEs, there roles and profiles below). TASC trains a number of CBPEs each year. Most of the communities visited by TASC have them; these educators play a huge role in supplementing the work of TASC counselors (Task Shifting). They further play the role of mobilizing the community for when the TASC team will be visiting. These CBPEs have constant access to TASC services. The outreach team visits each community once a month on regular scheduled basis. 

    As a result a majority of our clients come voluntarily to the site for testing and counseling (Client Initiated HTC) while some are referred by either the clinic, or any other health work (Provider Initiated HTC), for instance, in 2007; 10.34% (n = 120) of the 1161 clients who came for HIV testing and counseling were referred to the TASC VCT/HTC service.

Community  conversation  enhancement  process  (CCEP)

    Before counseling and testing commence, the counselors and the people at the outreach site engage in a Community Conversation Enhancement Process (CCEP), whereby a topic is discussed and each community member present has the platform to raise his/her views on the topic. It is not the counselors giving information but everyone is part of the process of learning where myths are dispelled, misinformation is corrected and problems solved.

    The premise is that when everyone is part of this process of exchange of information then people are less defensive and more receptive to learning new things which might possibly lead to behavior change andmaintenance of that change. In each community different topics are discussed with each visit Conducting HIV and AIDS education using community conversations has enabled the TASC team to pass valuable information to clients without making them feel as though the information is being shoved down their throats. 

    This process allows for everyone to be part of the conversation thereby creating a safe environment for people to ask questions which they would otherwise be afraid to ask when put in a spot light. This process also allows for the assessment of knowledge of the people in a community in order to prepare education sessions for the next visit. After these community conversations, then HIV Testing and Counselling takes place.

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