The Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi (COWLHA) was established in 2006. It unites different groups of women as a civil society force in dealing with issues on gender and women’s rights in the context of HIV and AIDS that impact on the lives of women living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi. COWLHA’s mandate specifically seeks to enhance the protection and promotion of rights of women living with HIV and AIDS. At the moment, the membership of the coalition stands at approximately 15000 women living with HIV.
COWLHA through its work is increasingly convinced of the importance of sexual and reproductive health rights for women and girls living with HIV and AIDS and the community at large. While COWLHA’s main focus is working with women and girls living with HIV and AIDS, the organisation acknowledges that its work would be fruitless if it does not engage men and boys. COWLHA engages male champions for protecting the rights of women and girls on issues of gender based violence, sexual and reproductive health. COWLHA also seeks to economically empower women living with HIV through village savings and loans as a way of reducing their vulnerability and mitigating the impact of HIV and AIDS on their households. Thus, COWLHA values and acknowledges the need for gender and women’s rights focused interventions with capacity building for women living with HIV as rights holders seen as very critical in realizing their rights.
A society where girls and women living with HIV lead a healthy life, are empowered, self-reliant and their rights are fully respected, protected and fulfilled.
COWLHA, a membership coalition of women and girls living with HIV and AIDS, seeks to enable its members lead a productive life by promoting sustainable livelihood programmes and strengthening their capacity to effectively lobby and advocate for issues affecting their lives.
Values of COWLHA
In all its undertakings COWLHA is guided by:
- Commitment of its members
- Professionalism in all its activities
- Love and respect for all people regardless of their HIV status
- Being transparent and accountable in all its undertakings