Original Articles

Breaking the silence: using memory books as a counselling and succession-planning tool with AIDS-affected households in Uganda


Abstract

This article reviews the experience of NACWOLA and Save the Children (UK) in using 'memory books' in AIDS-affected households in Uganda from the mid-1990s to the present. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with key stakeholders in early 2004, including NACWOLA staff and volunteers, Save the Children staff and project participants, such as children, counsellors and local government members. The aim was to investigate the process by which the Memory Book project was developed, its positive and negative impacts at different levels, the costs and what lessons had been learned from the experience to date. A number of significant constraints are highlighted, but the article concludes that memory books, when properly linked to other support mechanisms, have been very effective at improving communication and relationships between parents and children, confronting stigma in the community and encouraging joint planning for the children's future. We recommend that this or similar approaches be incorporated in all AIDS programmes.

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