Along with the rest of southern Africa, Tanzania continues to face the harsh realities of the HIV and AIDS pandemic. This evaluation examines the impact of the Humuliza Project in addressing children in the region affected by HIV. Background
Overall prevalence of HIV and AIDS in Tanzania is estimated at 8.8% (National AIDS Council Programme, 2004). Orphan numbers in Tanzania are placed at over 15% of children by UNAIDS (2004).
The situation in the Kagera Province and Muleba District where the Humuliza project is based is less clear as data is sparse. Estimates place the prevalence rate as high as 12%. Accurate orphan statistics are also difficult to find. A recent longitudinal study (Beegle, 2005) in the area shows that 23% of the children interviewed in the initial round of data collection in 1996 when re-interviewed in 2005 had lost one or both parents since 1996. This data suggests significant impact of HIV and AIDS on the lives of children in the area.
The effects of orphanhood are well documented. Beegle (2005) in a study conducted in Kagera Province shows that long term impacts on children relate to health (mostly as a result of malnourishment) and reduced education outcomes (i.e. children drop out of school). Individual impacts on children include economic hardship, lack of love/attention/affection, withdrawal from school, psychological distress, loss of inheritance, increased risk of abuse and risk of HIV infection (Gertler, 2003; Makame, Ani and Grantham-McGregor, 2003; and USAID 2004).
It was in response to these impacts that the Humuliza Project was formed in 1997 in Nshamba, a small trade centre in Kagera Province in Tanzania.