MASERU, December 1, 2015 – Mamosala was devastated when she found out that she was HIV positive. As a 35-year-old woman, her worry was not for herself but for her unborn child. Pregnant and living in a rural village in Lesotho, with the nearest health care facility at least five miles away; she wasn’t sure whether she would give birth to a healthy baby.
That’s when she heard about the HIV/AIDS community support group in her village. Every week, at least 20 people in her village meet to discuss how to live with AIDS in a healthy and positive way.
“It is like a family. It’s a group of people who love and care for each other,” Mamosala said. “We take turns in collecting medicines for everyone by going to the clinic and ensuring each member is taking their medication.”
This HIV/AIDS program supports 15,000 community members, providing education and creating awareness among the workforce and community in the project area of the Metolong Dam. It was started by the Metolong Authority under an Environment and Social Management Program associated with the dam, and funded by the World Bank and European Investment Bank.
“Knowing that Lesotho is number 2 in terms of HIV prevalence in the world and the current prevalence rate in the country is 23%, we felt that it was important to manage this pandemic in the project area,” said Ntaoleng Mochaba, Environment and Social Manager with the Metolong Authority. “There is also a component of treatment, care and support.”
While the Metolong Dam and Water Supply Project will provide two-thirds of the population living in the country’s lowlands with clean and abundant water year round for the first time, the Environmental and Social Management component of the project encompasses a lot more than health care, said Marcus Wishart, World Bank task team leader of the project.
“This project went beyond a straight forward investment in new infrastructure,” he said. “I’m proud to say we worked closely with the client to identify opportunities to improve the community in lasting ways and offer a range of project-related benefits that are having a real impact in people’s daily lives.”