• See also ZANERELA Annual Report 2009


Zambia Network of Religious Leaders Living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS (ZANERELA+) is an interfaith networking and advocacy organization that is geared towards bringing together faith leaders who are living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS in Zambia. ZANERELA+ is the national chapter of the International Network of Religious Leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS (INERELA+). The initiation of setting up a Zambia chapter started in October 2004  when a group of three Zambian participants attended a capacity building workshop jointly organised by Southern Africa AIDS Trust (SAT) and ANERELA+ with the help of World Vision International, the training workshop took place at Madzikadei in Chinoyi district in Zimbabwe. 

The three Zambian participants were drawn from the Islamic, Christian and the Bahai faiths.  Seven countries attended this workshop whose aim was to equip the participants to set up country networks.  Following this workshop the Zambian group of participants set up a steering committee to prepare the holding of a country retreat.

The National retreat was held in Zambia from 5th to 8th February 2005 at Safari Lodge in Siavonga, a district in Southern province of Zambia and a total number of 36 religious leaders attended the capacity building workshop. In terms of geographical distribution participants came from Lusaka, Copperbelt, Northern and Southern provinces of Zambia and all initial faiths were represented, i.e. the Muslims, Bahai`s and Christians of different denominations.

Since then, a national Secretariate, which is situated in the Capital City Lusaka, has been established and ZANERELA+ has managed to reach out to all the nine (9) provinces of the country in order to introduce the ZANERELA+ Vision, Mission and Objectives to religious leaders across the country. 
Interfaith support groups of Religious Leaders have been formed to spearhead the mobilization and sensitization campaign in the fight against HIV and AIDS related stigma and discrimination. The support groups also save as centres for religious leaders to share experiences and knowledge.

ZANERELA+ membership has continued to grow and is now at 235 members, segregated as follows; 158 males and 77 females, 7 Bahai`s, 12 Muslims and the rest are Christians of different denominations, from all the nine provinces of  Zambia.

Current and on-going ZANERELA+ Activities

  1. Mobilisation of Religious Leaders to become agents of change in their faith and surrounding communities.
  2. International and National Advocacy: Sensitisation and awareness raising activities through the Media, public meetings, sermons at funerals and World AIDS Day activities.
  3. Information Sharing with Religious Leaders: ANERELA+ and ZANERELA+ “Stigma Eradication Trainings- Theological and Medical Perspectives” have been used to enhance information and knowledge sharing at various levels that our Members are involved in.
  4. Research: Stigma base line surveys in faith related institutions.
  5. Congregational Outreaches: Every week ZANERELA+ members are preaching to their congregations’ anti-stigma messages.
  6. Local and International Exchange visits: To share knowledge and experiences on stigma impact mitigation.
  7. Support to ZANERELA+ members: Social and physical support.
  8. Capacity Building: ZANERELA+ capacity builds religious leaders with correct and up to date knowledge and information on HIV and AIDS through training workshops called “Retreats”.

ZANERELA+ receive financial and material assistance from cooperating partners like Southern African AIDS Trust (SAT) who have supported the network since inception with funding of $ 30 000 annually, the network motherbody ANERELA+ has also given the national network grants of $ 3 000 on two occasions, the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) through the Zambia Interfaith Networking Group (ZINGO) assisted ZANERELA+ with a one off funding and Christian AID (Zambia) has also helped the organisation.

ZANERELA+ dreams and hopes to create an enabling environment for Religious Leaders to be agents of change in their communities, to reduce stigma attached to HIV and AIDS, every religious leader empowered with accurate information and contribute to mitigating the effects caused by HIV and AIDS in their congregations and communities.

ZANERELA+ continues to avail and project itself to popularise and promote the use of the SAVE Strategy as the best practice to intensify HIV prevention.

As a capacity building organisation, ZANERELA+ conducted a 3 day congregational capacity building workshop to 40 religious leaders, the objective of the workshop was to build the capacity of religious leaders on the three drivers of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Sub-Sahara region of Southern Africa as per SADIC think tank resolutions. The three drivers noted are multiple concurrent sexual partnerships, intergenerational sex relationships and the low circumcision rate of males in this region. The workshop was a huge success as it attracted religious leaders from all nine provinces of Zambia. VCT facility was available which was conducted y our cooperating partner New start.

ZANERELA+ also participated in the C – Change SAT workshop on Visualisation in Participatory Program (VIPP) methodologies in South Africa from 28th September to 02nd October 2009. C – Change is a new behavioural change program which ZANERELA+ will implement with support from SAT. ZANERELA+ held an Information Market where the general public, members and other stakeholders were invited to come for free information on HIV and AIDS and other related health issues. This Information Market is done through the Visualisation in Participatory Program (VIPP) method. This activity is part of ZANERELA+ World AIDS Day commemoration program and the network will continue giving the public information until the actual commemoration on 1st December 2009. To commemorate word AIDS day, ZANERELA+ is actively involved in planning for national interfaith candle lighting prayer meeting which is scheduled for the evening of 30th November 2009 at the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy cross in Lusaka. The republican president is expected to be the guest of Honour at the same occasion.

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