Ffena is a network of Africans in the UK living with and affected by HIV. The network enables African people living with HIV in the UK to share their experiences of living with the virus and make their voices heard. Ffena is a Luganda word meaning '[we] all together'. The Ffena network is the only national network of African people living with and affected by HIV. Ffena informs and invigorates the African Health Policy Network's work in policy, research and practice. By interacting with and learning from Africans in the UK living with and affected by HIV and sexual health conditions, AHPN gains greater understanding of the particular issues and concerns that affect them.
Ffena is a unique network and is hugely important for its members and for the AHPN. The feedback it provides is invaluable in influencing AHPN's policy and research work, and ensures AHPN's work is authoritative. Furthermore, participation in the network offers a unique opportunity for its members to develop key skills and provide their feedback. As Ffena continues to grow, the package of benefits offered to its members will continue to improve and become more comprehensive, and the variety of opportunities it presents will increase.
Aims of Ffena
• To enable African people living with and affected by HIV to participate meaningfully in AHPN activities and the wider policy society and make their voices heard
• To ensure that all Ffena members benefit from membership of the network
• To increase the opportunities for participation in the management of the network and to develop personal skills
• To expand membership of the network and ensure that participation is open to all
Objectives of Ffena
To enable Africans in the UK living with and affected by HIV to:
• Engage in influencing policy, research and practice
• Enable AHPN to learn from people's experiences
• Have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives
Benefits of membership of Ffena
• Become an ambassador for Africans in the UK living with and affected by HIV
• Participate in consultations and focus groups to share your views
• Contribute to national debates and influence change
• Advice, support and training to support involvement activities
• Attend, participate in and contribute to AHPN events
• Access to AHPN resources
1-In June 2016, our Ffena memebers were invited to go to a farm on the outskirts of London to gain some experience of growing their own organic vegetables. It was a rather drizzling afternoon and everyone was so excited to have a privilege of having the first experience of being in a farming environment. Members were taken into a session of information and practical exercise of growing different types of vegetables. All the members agreed that this was an experience of some kind as it was very therapeutic. Many members are isolated and they do not have a social life due to stigma and discrimination from families and friends. But this session was something they never thought they could experience. The members ended up singing and dancing in the allotment and turned the whole session into an amazing experience.
Here are some quotes from our memebers:
Our Ffena member CK said"We are tired of talking about HIV indoors and we find it very disheartening. We appreciate this initiative as it is very empowering. This is practical and that is what we want.”
Our Ffena member MN said"I used to be great farmer on Uganda but as soon as i came over i missed this. I feel so rejuvenated and I cannot wait to go home and start planting my vegetables in my flower pots.”
2-Our Ffena members engaged into the Faith Positive project by visiting places of worship to start conversations about HIV stigma and discrimination. These HIV activists went on to hold presentations and monologues to African congregations, challenging negative perceptions about people living with HIV. Workshops, seminars and focus groups are provided as well as presentations during Sunday morning worship .This project is still ongoing till the end of the year.
3-Ffena community champions are also involved in a ‘budding’ programme for church congregations across London. This programme provides peer support for and those newly diagnosed as well as encouraging early HIV testing. They give information about HIV testing and diagnosis. Faith Positive will also run rapid HIV testing events to encourage HIV testing and early diagnosis within the African community.
4-Our Ffena Northampton satellite is also participating in the African Yams Project which is aiming at discussing issues on Mental Health over a health African Meal. This is a programme that aims to improve the lives of people experiencing mental health problems in Northampton through access to peer support. Mind, Bipolar UK, Depression Alliance and grant-funded projects are working together, with support from the Big Lottery Fund, to increase access to peer support and research its benefits. The 10 support sessions provide a friendly and welcoming atmosphere where members benefit from both giving and receiving support based on their experiences. The next meeting is on the 22nd February in Northampton `s Quakers Hall. Everyone who has been affected by mental health is welcome to join this group.
Here are some pictures from our events:
To find out more and to join the network contact Deryck on: 020 8555 5778 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NB: We welcome people of all ages, experiences and with diverse interest areas: Young people, women, over 50s, men, LGBT/sexual minorities, carers/partners/dependents
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