Grannies who bear burden

Date: January 1, 1970
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This is a feature story that brings a fresh perspective to the topic of HIV and AIDS in mainstream media: grandmothers having to bear the burden of care because of the impact of HIV and AIDS.

This article may be used to:
1)  Prompt debate on how journalists can explore different angles to everyday news such as HIV and AIDS, which is often considered stale news.
2)  Interrogate the gender dimensions of care work; that is, who bears the burden of care.
3)  It may be used to demonstrate investigative journalism. The reporter shows that he has done research on the topic and this enriches the article. For example s/he gives statistics on HIV and AIDS prevalence and goes out and gets more information on the community s/he is reporting on.

Trainers notes:
This is a refreshing angle because HIV and AIDS is often considered as stale news in mainstream media.  The writer includes statistics on the prevalence of HIV and AIDS to give insight and context to the subject at hand. The voices of the grannies are heard in the article though the article could have been made richer if there were voices of men included. There is also an accompanying image of a granny at work. There are, however, missing angles that could have strengthened the article, such as exploring the issue of women’s unwaged care work as well as questioning government’s response to mitigating the impact of HIV and AIDS.
Discussion Questions
1)       What does the article tell us about the impact of HIV and AIDS in local communities?
2)       How could you make the sourcing more balanced?
3)       What does the article tell us about care work?
4)       How could the article be strengthened?
Training Exercises
1)       In pairs ask trainees to explore new angles to reporting HIV and AIDS.
2)       In particular, the trainees should be asked to identify the gendered dimensions of care work and locate sources that would illustrate this.
3)       Ask trainees to go out and write an article on HIV and AIDS that highlights the issue of the economics of care work.
Other training resources
1)      Gender and HIV/AIDS: A Training Manual for Southern African Media and      Communicators, Gender Links and the AIDS Law Project
2)       Southern African HIV and AIDS and Gender Baseline Study, Gender Links & MMP, 2006
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