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Coca-Cola Africa AIDS Project is Underway March 2007

After almost a year of planning, the G.E.N.O. (Grandparents Empowered to Nurture Orphans) pilot project, funded by the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, is in the field in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. Thanks to the cooperation of the project partners who met in Nairobi to launch the activities in March, 2007, 50 grandparents raising grandchildren orphaned by AIDS in each of the three countries will soon receive income-generating agricultural supplies and HIV/AIDS prevention training to pass on to the orphans in their care. They will participate in focus groups and individual interviews to discuss their experiences as grandparent caregivers affected by HIV/AIDS.

Project Coordinator Sharon King, Research Assistant Professor in Gerontology, held a project start-up training session with the Kenya partners in the target community of Kisumu during her March trip and visited one of the families who will participate in the activities.

Globally, more than 13 million children under 18 years-11 million of them in sub Saharan Africa-have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Many children affected by HIV/AIDS live in households headed by a grandparent or other older family member. The overall goal of the G.E.N.O. project is to strengthen care and support for these orphans by providing their older caregivers the knowledge and resources they need in their new roles as heads of households with young children. The Coca-Cola grant is providing funds to train 100 grandparents in HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention and to organize parenting skills support groups. Poverty and poor nutrition have been directly linked with the spread of AIDS.