An analysis of livelihood strategies of HIV/AIDS affected households receiving support from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Chegutu, Zimbabwe.
Chademana-Munodawafa, Kudzai E.
MetadataShow full item record
The AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa threatens to roll back decades of development progress as the epidemic has contributed to rising child mortality, sharp reductions in life expectancy and has already orphaned a generation of children (Andrews et al 2006). UNAIDS (2007) notes that sub-Saharan Africa is the epicentre of the epidemic with an estimated figure of 22.5 million people having said to be living with HIV at the end of 2007. Approximately 1.7 million people were infected with HIV during the same year. UNAIDS (2007) further notes that one fifth of the adult population in Zimbabwe are living with HIV/AIDS. A total of 135 000 adults are estimated to have died between January 2003 and August 2003 as a result of HIV/AIDS related complications (Kujinga 2004:126). The HIV epidemic infects mostly the economically active household members and thus has the potential to draw households into poverty and even deeper poverty for those already in a state of deprivation. When hit by HIV/AIDS, like any other shock, households will adopt coping mechanisms; but in Zimbabwe’s context of hyperinflation and economic instability, how viable are these livelihood strategies? The objectives of this study were to explore the livelihood strategies that urban households resort to in response to the effects of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe; and to assess the feasibility of these strategies in the context of the country’s current socio-economic turmoil. A qualitative methodology making use of ethnographic techniques such as semistructured individual interviews, focus group discussions and observations was employed to gather this data. Results indicate that households are limited in livelihood options due to underlying structural problems such as hyperinflation, resource and cash shortages as well as market failure. Households engaged in livelihood strategies such as use of savings, the sale of assets and commercial sex work.