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The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart

(A video introduction to Family Impact – a little out of date, but hopefully interesting nonetheless) In contrast to Lois’ wrestle with being ‘underemployed’ (see her last blog post for details), I have quickly found myself with quite a full sched…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfGHD47MGdg]
(A video introduction to Family Impact – a little out of date, but hopefully interesting nonetheless)

 

 

In contrast to Lois’ wrestle with being ‘underemployed’ (see her last blog post for details), I have quickly found myself with quite a full schedule. Those of you who know us will appreciate the irony of our respective timetables!

 

My time is currently shared between two local organisations, Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre and Family Impact. I explained a little of what happens at Ebenezer in a previous blog post, so here I thought I’d offer an insight into the work of Family Impact and how I’ve been getting involved.

 

Established as a holistic, long-term response to ZImbabwe’s HIV and AIDS epidemic (according to UNICEF, in 2009 more than 14% of Zimbabwean adults were HIV positive), Family Impact exists to inspire and encourage individuals, families and communities to pursue relationships in the way that God intended. It has four departments: ‘Men’s Department’, ‘Women’s Department’, ‘Children and Youth’, and ‘Families for Life’, each of which are focussed on bringing about lasting changes in people’s lives. I’ve been assisting with the writing of project proposals, most recently to DFID’s Girls’ Education Challenge, and helping with some future planning.

 

The main focus of each of the departments’ activities is in delivering training programmes on a wide range of topics, including: sexual and reproductive health; HIV prevention and counselling; preventing gender-based violence; marriage and engagement courses; health clubs in schools; leadership courses for children; and much, much more. Maybe an example will give a better idea of how it works…

 

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(Beneficiaries after a ‘Freedom Unlimited’ training session)

 

In the last couple of months the Men’s Department has delivered a number of ‘Freedom Unlimited’ HIV prevention sessions in factories! Working in collaboration with local employers, the Men’s team have been going directly into workplaces to run workshops on family life and sexual and reproductive health. As any health practitioner will tell you, it is notoriously difficult to engage men in discussing their health, so why not take the discussion to them?

 

However, the real strength of Family Impact’s work is not where the training is delivered, but how. Rather than simply discussing contraception or HIV transmission (which are indeed covered), the sessions focus on living life to the full.

 

For most, the fundamental obstacle to stopping the spread of HIV is not in practicing safe-sex, but in addressing human brokenness. Family Impact’s trainers proclaim that fullness of life can’t be found in pursuing multiple sexual relationships, being unfaithful to your spouse or in neglecting responsibilities as a parent. Fullness of life can only truly be found in loving relationships with God and with those around us. The staff and volunteers of Family Impact have many years experience of seeing lives turned around because of this challenge to live life in the way that it was intended.

 

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(Football Zimbabwean-style! This game was out at Ebenezer, but you get the idea…)

 

I’ve also personally had the benefit of Family Impact’s outreach programmes – last weekend, in partnership with World Vision, Family Impact hosted a football and netball tournament! I’ve been playing regularly for Family Impact’s football team, which is a combination of staff members and friends. Although we weren’t particularly successful in the tournament, I did receive a prize for being the day’s ‘Most Disciplined Player’! I’m not 100% sure what the qualifying attributes were, but it was probably something to do with not being fit enough to find myself out of position. You’ll be pleased to hear that, in-between games, we also attended a couple of workshops on family life!

 

With love and blessings,
Joe.

 

 

You can find out more about the work of Family Impact by taking a look at the Facebook page or the website.