Memory Book Project

Category 1

Memory work is a practical, child-centered, community-led approach that encourages families to communicate openly about HIV and to increase children's resiliency. It is an approach to psychosocial support that nurtures an environment in which disclosing one's HIV status is possible. It is an important entry point to open up discussions around tackling stigma and discrimination The Memory Book is the central tool in the memory work process and a starting point for communication in the household around issues such as family history, information concerning the parent or guardian's health, children's aspirations and childhood memories. The process enables family members to voluntarily share important information in a supportive, structured and safe way.

Goal of the Practice
  • To strengthen the parent-child relationship by encouraging communication and involving children in inheritance rights and also mitigates gender based violence through improved family relations
Core Components
  • Bridging the communication gap between parents and their children, particularly on sex education and HIV; disclosing one's HIV status to children in supportive way through counselling
  • Involving children in family plans and respecting their decisions on matters that affect them (Succession planning)
  • Documenting and storing important family history for future use by the children
  • The Children clubs for peer support and sharing experience by children. Where they existed, NACWOLA and IMP staff together with parents and other competent persons educated children on sex education and HIV/AIDS. The clubs were not meant for training but sharing experience
  • Home visits by the project officer, trainers and volunteers, used for monitoring the memory book and will-writing
Noteworthy Results
  • Through training and memory clubs many parents had improved communication with their children on HIV and sex education
  • Reducing community and family level stigma and discrimination (Tanzania)
  • Almost all the parents who had been trained through IMP were able to disclose their HIV status to the children and family (Uganda)
Lessons Learned
  • Need to involve the community and to realize that participants' time constraints may hinder program activities.
  • Limited literacy among participants also hinders the memory book activity.
  • Finding the balance between expanding the program and reaching more people in the community, and providing quality follow-up support to those who have already received the training.
  • Monitoring those that have been trained to ensure that they are receiving the support they need after the training, and meet other expectations they may have such as education and housing for their children. Many will also need support to increase their ability to earn more income to leave their children.
  • It is important that the Training of Trainers (TOTs) also includes children. That is, peer trainers are identified among children and trained. This is because children are more comfortable listening to their fellow children: they feel they are part of them and hence understand their interest and needs more.
Focus Areas
Implemented By
National community of Women living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda (NACWOLA)
Participating Organization
Healthlink Worldwide
Target Population
  • Adults (over 18)
  • Children (ages 2-12)
1000 - 5000
Implementation Years
01/1997 - ongoing