Food distributors allegedly robbing people affected by HIV/AIDS, Masvingo Star

Date: January 1, 1970
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This story is about the diversion by food distributors of food stuffs intended for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

This article can be used to:
1. Demonstrate how the news is told through the voices of officials and not through the voices of the people most affected by the issue reported on.
Trainer’s notes:
Sources: The story is told through the voices of two male officials – the AIDS Coordinator for the District and the Governor of the Province. The women and men, who are the ‘beneficiaries’ of the food stuff, and who will be affected negatively by the absence of the food, are not interviewed in the story.  By focusing on the officials, the news criterion of corruption becomes more prominent than the human interest news of the impact on those affected by HIV/AIDS. It is most likely that those most in need of the foodstuffs and who receive it in the area are women. But they are made “invisible” through the use of language such as ‘beneficiaries’, ‘sources’. The voices and perspectives of women also are absent in the story.
Use of data: The use of sex disaggregated data on those most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Masvingo Province, as well as sex disaggregated data on the prevalence rate, coupled with the voices and perspectives of women, are ways in which gender could be mainstreamed into the issue reported on.
Discussion Questions
1. Discuss with the students/participants ‘who’ is most likely to be the beneficiaries of the food stuffs distributed in HIV/AIDS programmes, and ‘why.’ Are the points raised in the discussion illustrated in the article provided? Explain response using points from the article.
2. What is the importance of voice in HIV/AIDS reporting
Training exercises
1. Ask students/participants to develop an outline on how they would re-write this story. Using the same angle, how would they re-work the story to illustrate the gender dimension of the problem? How would they bring a human-face to the story?
Links to other training resources: Gender and HIV/AIDS A Training Manual for Southern African Media and Communicators, published by Gender Links and AIDS Law Project 2004, chapter 8
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