Village Meetings: an avenue for Reach Out Mbuya clients to give feedback on service delivery and any issues

On Saturday 10th September 2016, the Banda community held its 2nd bi-annual village meeting at the Reach Out Mbuya (ROM)  premises in Banda. ROM operates in six communities within Nakawa division: Acholi Quarters, Kinawataka I, Kinawataka II, Giza Giza, Banda and Nakawa, and meetings for the different communities are held each quarter, which allows for two meetings per year for each community.

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This time round, clients arrived as early as 8am for the meeting, which had been scheduled to start at 10am, and they started chatting away whilst others strolled in to the meeting venue at different paces.

Attending was the post-test club, a group of members who raise awareness on HIV and the dynamics that surround living with HIV and other life matters.

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Post-test club members discuss as they prepare a drama presentation before the meeting

When they entered the stage, after 10 am, the members hushed and waited to hear from them. The pictorial below illustrates the major scenes of their performance.

They started with a song about prevention of HIV:

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Post test club singing about positive living to promote long lives
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Scene where the stepmother was hurling insults at her HIV positive step-son
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Stepmother ignoring her daughter’s pleas to stop harassing her stepbrother
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A scene in the play where the husband comes home to his seemingly happy wife
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Husband retaliates in anger on realizing that his son was missing from home
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A concerned member of the community brought the son back home after he had ran away to live on the streets for almost 3 days
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Lady in red sings a song about the urgency with which parents need to make wills
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Members listen to lessons learnt from the Post-Test Club’s play

After the performance by the Post-Test Club, members shared experiences about what they had learnt, many saying they had been touched by the pleas of the child who was suffering, and yet he was innocent and had simply been born with HIV. They encouraged themselves to be more cautious about how their children are treated and to give the HIV positive children the support they need, since they can now live longer than their negative counterparts.

They went ahead to discuss issues ranging from health concerns to opening up a Village Savings Group to promote development, as well as starting a “Friend in Need” group where they would be able to meet and support one another socially, emotionally and even financially in times of need, especially times of trial like grief.

ROM staff told the members about new projects and answered the attendees’ queries.

The meeting was adjourned and donations received by ROM, such as clothes and shoes, were distributed to those in attendance.

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Clothes and shoes donated to Reach Out ready for distribution

Members were asked to pick clothes and sign receipt of the clothes.

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Members picking from the clothes available
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Signing for the received items

Members were free to depart at leisure after a fulfilling meeting for both the staff and clients of ROM, having gained closure on matters that may have been unclear.

Until the next meeting….

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