Tackling HIV: Boosting small businesses in Kenya
Through our HIV project in Thika, Kenya we're transforming the livelihoods of older people and the children in their care by offering alternative options to sex work and drugs. We're giving them skills and start-up grants to start their own businesses.
The impact of HIV
(c) Frederic Courbet/HelpAge International Thika district has one of the highest HIV infection rates in Kenya − a third of the population are estimated to be living with HIV.
Thika town is a busy commercial hub and a major overnight stop for many truck routes. This means sex work is commonplace and consequently the number of HIV cases has increased dramatically.
Nearly half the town's residents live in abject poverty and this number is on the rise due to unemployment and the impact of HIV.
The land in Thika is unsuited to farming so most people earn an income by brewing alcohol illegally and selling drugs such as cocaine.
How we're tackling HIV
HelpAge is working with our network affiliate HelpAge Kenya to alleviate the impact of HIV and AIDS in one of the poorest areas of Thika.
By training them with the skills and funding to start-up their own businesses, we're giving the people of Thika an alternative to sex work and drugs as a way of earning an income. This ensures older people and their dependants can earn a sustainable living for themselves.
Our experience shows that increased income security directly results in more children attending school, better access to healthcare and better nutrition for the family as a whole.
Each year over the course of the five-year project we will:
- Give 140 teenagers a £300 grant to start a business of their choice. The grant will cover start-up costs and initial purchases such as tools, cloth or hairdressing equipment.
- Give 200 multi-generational households business training and grants of £200.
- Give 390 people from multi-generational households business training and information on HIV prevention.
Project aims (2008-2013)
By the end of the project:
- 250 teenagers will have acquired vocational skills to start their own business or get a job.
- 700 orphans will have established a small business and be able to support themselves and their families.
- 1,000 households will have developed secure income after receiving grants and business training.
- 1,950 people will have acquired skills and confidence to effectively run their own businesses and acquired knowledge about HIV and AIDS.
Veronica: A healthy business means healthy grandchildren
Watch this short film to see our HIV project in action
Read more about our HIV and AIDS policy work.