The world’s largest HIV/AIDS healthcare organisation, AIDS Healthcare Foundation has inaugurated community advocacy clubs in two states and the Federal Capital Territory to address public health and developmental challenges.
AHF stated this on Friday at the inaugural launch of the FCT community advocacy club in the Waru community, Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the Advocacy and Marketing Manager of AHF, Steve Aborisade said the advocacy clubs were inaugurated in the Waru community in Abuja, the Seriki Noma community in Kogi state, and the Guruku community in Nasarawa state.
According to him, the establishment of the advocacy forum was aimed at mobilising and educating community members to participate in community-led advocacies.
“The establishment of advocacy forums in the communities is to revitalise and mobilise patients’ and non-patients’ interest and participation in community-led advocacy.
“They are to advocate for their fundamental rights, engage with decision-makers, and champion courses that address public health issues and their wellbeing.
“It has become important to identify community actors, bring them together, and empower them with skills on advocacy so that they can push the development agenda in their communities.
“This therefore is in the realisation that when communities own an intervention, it becomes easier to achieve set out objectives, hence it’s sustainability is guaranteed through community ownership.
Aborisadesaid the criteria for selecting the club members include individuals’ dedication to community service, outstanding qualities, and willingness to commit time without expectation of payment among others.
Meanwhile, a resident of the Waru community in Abuja, Goon David said the Waru advocacy club would steer and enlighten the community members on the need to support one another.
“This notable club would also change the negative narrative held by the uninformed populace of Waru in regarding drug abuse, HIV and AIDS, stigmatisation, child abuse, and early marriage.
Also speaking, Bala Namama from the Kogi advocacy club expressed great pleasure in AHF for selecting their community to establish such platforms.
Namama, however, pledged the commitment of the community and support from community heads and chieftains to support the clubs and ensure they all succeed in improving the development situation of the communities.
AHF noted that the advocacy community club concept would be implemented across 13 AHF Africa Bureau countries.