Original Research

Lived experiences of HIV community workers participating in a community empowerment programme

Juliana Horn, Petra Brysiewicz
Curationis | Vol 37, No 1 | a1187 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v37i1.1187 | © 2014 Juliana Horn, Petra Brysiewicz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 June 2013 | Published: 27 August 2014

About the author(s)

Juliana Horn, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Petra Brysiewicz, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Background: Both non-governmental organisations and governmental organisations are very involved in the development and implementation of community empowerment programmes (CEPs). Because of various health issues within the community, 10 CEPs were launched in Ladysmith with a focus on addressing the particular needs of HIV-affected and -infected members. Of the 10 programmes, however, only four were deemed sustainable after five years.

Objectives: The researcher explored the lived experiences of HIV community workers participating in two CEPs in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal in order to develop recommendations for CEPs.

Method: Data were explored using a qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Ten participants who had been involved in HIV CEPs for more than six months were identified and individual interviews were held.

Results: Three themes emerged, namely, giving of yourself, maintaining sustainability and assisting the CEPs and community workers. Each of these themes also contained a number of subthemes. Exploring the lived experience of the community workers revealed that there are a number of ways in which to promote the sustainability of CEPs.

Conclusion: The community should be involved in all aspects of the CEP and community workers must respect the community and their knowledge, experience and value systems.


Lived experience, community empowerment programme, community empowerment programme workers, HIV/AIDS.


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