Sustainable income-generating projects for HIV-affected households in Zimbabwe: evidence from two high-density suburbs
An estimated 25% of the adults in urban areas of Zimbabwe are living as HIV-positive. In HIV-affected households the need for income increases with the demand for medicines, food and funeral costs. One way to mitigate this effect of the epidemic is by expanding micro enterprises that can enhance the livelihoods of urban households affected by HIV. To identify viable income-generating projects for such households, five possible projects facilitated by two HIV/AIDS support organisations were selected for assessment. These were: selling second-hand clothing, poultry-keeping and nutritional/herbal gardens, freezit-making, mobile kitchens, and payphone set-ups. A case study of 200 households benefiting from one of these projects was done in two high-density suburbs in the town of Bindura, northern Zimbabwe. Information was collected from each household four times per year, over four years (2001–2004). Information on the income generated from the micro enterprises was collected monthly during the period. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse household demographic data; income data was analysed using cost-benefit analysis and analysis of variance. The results show that all five income-generating projects were viable for these households, although some were not feasible for the most vulnerable HIV-affected households. Making more efficient use of micro enterprises can be a valuable part of mainstreaming HIV-affected people and households in urban areas, and so allow people living with HIV to have longer and more meaningful lives.