KENWA was started by a group of 5 women all infected with HIV and were facing issues of stigma, discrimination and rejection by their families and friends. These women formed a support group to share their common experiences and help each other. Thus, KENWA by virtue of being founded by women has a positive bias towards women-driven initiatives. This is also out of realization that women are more marginalized and more vulnerable to HIV and AIDS.
The organization focuses on destitute women living with AIDS and infected and affected children in eight informal settlements in Kenya. The informal settlements where KENWA works are Pangani, Mathare, Korogocho, Kiambiu and Soweto in Nairobi; Kiandutu in Thika; Mjini in Muranga; and Kiawara in Nyeri. These settlements are reported to have some of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the country. It is estimated that in Korogocho about 22,000 people are HIV positive (34%), in Kiambiu 10,810 who are HIV positive (27%) and in Soweto 22,600 are HIV positive (28%). Kiandutu in Thika has a prevalence of 33%, one of the highest nationwide, while Mjini in Murang’a and Kiawara in Nyeri have a prevalence of about 20%.
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