An examination of the church's gender sensitivity in combating HIV/AIDS among women in view of issues of development and gender : special focus on 'Springs of Hope Support Group Project' in Pietermaritzburg.
The dissertation seeks to investigate, examine, and critically analyse the reasons why Pietermaritzburg churches lack gender sensitivity in combating HIV/AIDS. The dissertation's focus is on Springs of Hope Support Group Project (SOH) - a support group that seeks to meet the felt needs amongst the HTV positive people around Pietermaritzburg. Amongst other motivations, the dissertation was undertaken as a contribution to the church in its fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. The methodology that was used involved field and library research as well as observations of other HIV/AIDS support groups. The primary source of this dissertation consists of interviews that were conducted among SOH members, NGOs workers, and Church ministers. Chapter one is an introduction to the whole dissertation and includes an introduction to chapter one, experiences of African women, the story of Ann Ntombela, the background of the study, statements of the problems and motivations, objectives of the study, research hypothesis/promises, significance of the study, the theoretical frameworks, critical reviews of existing literature, research methodology, research ethics, expected results, limitation of the study and a summary and conclusion. Chapter two deals with the negative effects of colonialism and failure of development on African women. Its objective is to unearth the factors behind the deplorable social, political, and economic position of African women before HIV was reported. It seeks to find out why the plight of African women has worsened since the coming of colonialism and the start of development efforts. Chapter three deals with gender. It relates the effects of development failure to the plight of African women. Matters of marginalization, exploitation and oppression of African women are dealt with at length. Chapter four focuses on HIV/AIDS infection, transmission, prevention, cure and treatment. It also tackles the matter of the vulnerability of African women to HIV/AIDS at length by relating chapter two to the realities that facilitates the infection of the virus especially on women. Chapter five deals with the field research and formulation of a gender sensitive approach to combating HIV/AIDS. It also seeks to formulate 'a church based gender sensitive approach' as the way forward in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst African women in Pietermaritzburg. This chapter elaborates on how the church should reposition itself in order to be relevant and effective to women who are HIV positive. Chapter six is the conclusion of this dissertation. It includes a summary, a theological reflection and conclusion of the whole dissertation.