Established in 1994, SAfAIDS is a regional non-profit organisation based in Harare, Zimbabwe that works to promote ethical and effective development responses to sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), HIV and tuberculosis (TB) by working to influence changes in policy and social practices through advocacy, communication, and social mobilisation.

Activities include knowledge management, capacity development, advocacy, policy analysis, and research with special emphasis on gender and human rights. With country offices in Pretoria (South Africa), Lusaka (Zambia) and Manzini (Swaziland), over the last 15 years, SAfAIDS has implemented programmes in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Communication Strategies: 

As stated by SafAIDS, "in recognition of the role that stigma and discrimination, gender inequality and related social structures and norms play in driving the epidemic and creating barriers to access to services in southern Africa, SAfAIDS works to address gender equality and the rights of women, girls and key population groups, to access sexual reproductive health services and rights by confronting complex issues like culture, human rights and stigma."

SAfAIDS priority areas of focus are:

  1. HIV and TB prevention, care and treatment;
  2. Integration of HIV and sexual and reproductive health services;
  3. Addressing the links between HIV, culture and GBV; and
  4. Addressing the rights of marginalised communities (LGBTI and people living with HIV (PLHIV), and sex workers to access health services.

SAfAIDS’ primary target group is policy makers and the most vulnerable and marginalised communities, whilst their secondary target group is the general population that require a specific service. SAfAIDS works in partnerships with non-governmental (NGOs), faith-based (FBOs), AIDS Service Organisations (ASOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs), and the media to reach their target populations.

Activities include the following:

Implementation of HIV and SRHR programmes - together with partners SafAIDS has implemented a range of programmes across Southern Africa which have included activities related to: communication for social change; social mobilisation for demand creation; advocacy, policy and strategic data analysis to unlock barriers to accessing health services; strengthening civil society and institutional capacity building; knowledge management; and documentation of good practices. One example is the Young Women First project in which young women are supported by mentors to gain leadership skills to champion SRHR in their countries (see Related Summary below).

Media - SAfAIDS media desk uses a broad range of media strategies and Knowledge for Action approaches to cover SAfAIDS' different thematic areas of HIV,SRHR, and advocacy. These include: television and radio production, capacity building of journalists and other media practitioners on SRHR, HIV and other key issues; coordinating and moderating electronic discussion forums (eForums); documentary production; production of radio spots and adverts; dissemination of key information through articles and publications; and the management of social media.

Policy and Research - SAfAIDS believes "that research evidence should be the starting point of all our programmes. It is the foundation on which policies and programmes are built. As such, the Policy and Research Unit works closely with policy makers and programme partners at regional and national level to facilitate the translation of research into action."

SAfAIDS Resource Centre - The SAfAIDS resource centre has been in operation for more than ten years with over 8,500 resources. It is a source of information on research, programming, policies and informational and educational communication (IEC) materials, related to SRHR, including HIV and AIDS, TB, gender, and human rights. The resource centre seeks to cater for academics, researchers, journalists, policy makers and programmers, and includes physical, as well as electronic resources, including books, training manuals, conference papers, audio-visual materials, and SAfAIDS publications.

Documentation of Best Practices - SAfAIDS promotes a participatory documentation process approach in which an effort is made to maximise the participation of the key stakeholders (partner organisations, beneficiaries, communities, etc.). This includes ensuring that people living with HIV and AIDS, women, and children are represented. Between 2007 and 2008, SAfAIDS documented a series of diverse best practices from across the region. Under a SADC project, national HIV and AIDS best practices were documented in 4 member states: Mauritius, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Publications - Materials produced by SAfAIDS are designed for the populations of the 10 countries in the southern African region, and are primarily produced in both English and Portuguese (to cater for lusophone countries - Angola and Mozambique). Vernacular translations are also done, in partnership with national partners, as and when the need arises. SAfAIDS materials fall within the key categories of: periodicals, books, training materials (toolkits and manuals), awareness raising products (posters, booklets, leaflets, presentations, banners, stickers, labels, and edu-calendars) and best practice documents.

Development Issues: 


Key Points: 

SAfAIDS's partnership approach involves working through identified strategic partners who will contribute to a multiplier effect. The capacity building approach involves strengthening the ability of partners to provide SAfAIDS' products and services to grassroots communities, ensuring continuity of services and thus sustainability. SAfAIDS implements its activities through collaborative alliances: increasing diversity, uniqueness and synergy, thereby promoting learning and sharing in a complementary and sustainable manner. SAfAIDS partners are products piloting partners, technical partners and scale-out partners.


Letter from Aulora Stally to The Communication Initiative in 2001, SAfAIDS website on September 16 2008, and e-mail received from Kevin Mazorodze on September 16 2008 and SAfAIDS website on August 7 2014.