Exploring how care and support around HIV/AIDS is perceived by volunteer community workers at Kwangcolosi, KwaZulu-Natal.
Kasimbazi, Annette Kezaabu.
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The study focuses on how care and support around HIV/AIDS is perceived by volunteer community workers in Kwangcolosi, Kwazulu Natal. Using the social capital framework, the dissertation seeks to understand and illuminate the existing care and support efforts from the community from the perspective of volunteer caregivers. It emanates from the realization that government efforts in the area of care and support for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in most rural or peri-urban areas are usually insufficient. Community or family members usually have to step in to fill this gap but their efforts are seldom documented, let alone recognized. These community initiatives have been defined in the wider concept of social capital. The study sought to explore the perceptions of volunteer community workers on care and support provided to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs). The social capital framework and specifically the levels of bonding and bridging and the elements of trust, norms, reciprocity and social networks that act as resources for collective action was used to inform the understanding of these collective community efforts. The study findings revealed that denial, mistrust, stigma and discrimination were some of the hindering factors of social trust which in effect weakened social bonding and bridging. Social norms were also perceived to be on the wane and social networks amongst community members were reported to be existent though feeble. Reciprocity though paltry existed amongst a few community members who borrowed from one another and this played an important role in care and support of those affected by HIV/AIDS. The study concluded that factors such as rural urban migration, urbanization, globalization, poverty and unemployment have diminished social networks and cohesion and this has negatively impacted on care and support provision by community members. The general perception about volunteerism among volunteer community workers was that there is need to financially facilitate volunteers to motivate them to meet expenses that are associated with volunteering such as transport and feeding.