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This article is taken from the August 2001 Phatlalatsa newsletter

 

S&T finalises the Kenyan "State of the Nation" Survey

Over 8 000 adult Kenyans, randomly drawn from all provinces and Districts in the country, were interviewed on a range of subjects ranging from socio-political to economic to development issues.

The study unearthed significant differences in terms of access to information and resources across the provinces and across the gender divide. The need for civic education initiatives to target different groups with different messages (and using different strategies) was emphasised again and again by the findings.

The data, with its GIS capabilities, will allow civil society organisations to assess different needs in different areas and tailor their initiatives accordingly. The baseline data will also provide a measure against which the impact of the initiatives will subsequently be measured.

The full report as well as the GIS representation of the data should be publicly available soon for those with an interest in Kenyan society.

We would like, however, to highlight the findings of the survey on the issue of HIV/AIDS to compare with the situation in South Africa. Readers may recall our article on HIV/AIDS in which we showed the proportion of residents in certain rural areas in South Africa that were aware of people infected by the virus or who had died from the virus.

As the following graphs indicates, the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa is staggering and needs to be constructively dealt with if development initiatives - of any nature - are to be meaningful and sustainable.

Levels of knowledge around the virus and its transmission indicate that awareness campaigns remain an area in which work still needs to be done. However, raising knowledge should not be the only focus of interventions in the HIV/AIDS arena.

In the context of sustainable development - where community ownership and maintenance of projects and assets is key - the impact of HIV/AIDS on communities needs to inform the facilitation and implementation of these projects. Projects need to take cognisance of the fact that the communities tasked with maintenance are likely to be devastated by the virus and plan accordingly.

 

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