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King and Whittington Continue Quest for GENO Project in Africa

May 2005

Sharon King and Frank Whittington returned to Kenya in May, 2005, for a seminar on gerontology education and research at GSU's partner institution, Kenyatta University (KU) in Nairobi, Kenya. Accompanying Sharon and Frank on the trip were Dr. Susan Kelley, Dean of the GSU College of Health and Human Sciences, and Dr. Steven Cutler of the University of Vermont. Dr. Kelley's successful program, Project Healthy Grandparents, is the model for an intervention project to assist Kenyan grandparents raising grandchildren whose parents have died of AIDS. The project title is derived from the Luo word "geno," which means "hope"-"Grandparents Empowered to Nurture Orphans" (GENO). The main goals of the GENO project are: 1) to provide HIV/AIDS prevention education to grandparents to reduce the incidence of the disease among their grandchildren, 2) to equip grandparents with the parenting skills necessary to raise their grandchildren, 3) to develop age appropriate income generating activities to reduce poverty among grandparent headed households, and 4) to provide gerontology training to service providers and community health workers in rural communities. GSU and KU have partnered with Global Health Action, Inc., an Atlanta based international organization that specializes in HIV/AIDS prevention training. Additional members of the GENO team include HelpAge Kenya; the Old Age Program of the Ahero Catholic Mission in Nyanza Province, Kenya; and the Kenya Department of Social Services. During this visit, the team acquired a potentially influential new government partner-the Kenya National Council for Population and Development (NCPAD). NCPAD Director, Dr. Richard Muga, expressed enthusiastic interest in the concept paper for the GENO project and has offered to assist the team in developing a major funding proposal to the Global Fund, an international donor based in Geneva and funded by the World Bank. Sharon King has returned to Kenya in July for more project planning meetings with Dr. Muga and other GENO team members.