Coping strategies and learning of Basotho women living with HIV and AIDS: a case study of a group of women belonging to Phelisanang Bophelong Association in the Leribe District.
Mosuoe, Malithapelo Mapaseka.
MetadataShow full item record
This study in the field of Adult Education explores the coping strategies and learning of Basotho women living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). It investigates the mechanisms these women employ to cope with these life threatening ailments and the effect of life-long treatment on their day-to-day encounters with their families and the rest of society. The group of women selected for this study are from the Phelisanang Bophelong Support Group (PBSG). This support group for people living with HIV and AIDS is located in Lesotho, about 100kms north of the capital Maseru, in the Leribe district. The case study methodology, located within the paradigm of interpretivism, sets out to critically document the journey that the women took, exploring deeply their emotions and feelings within the compass of the life threatening disease from which they suffer. It narrates their lived experiences in the context of their relationships with their environment (partners, children, in-laws, friends and society), and analyses and theorises the practises and various learning encounters of these women. Data were collected from the thirteen women through questionnaires, one-on-one interviews, a focus group discussion and a joint telephone interview with three programme management team members of the PBSG. This case study was grounded in theories of African feminism, transformative learning and communities of practise. Key findings include the existence of a patriarchal system which promotes male hegemony and female subjugation in some instances, but at the same time the study noted the gradual challenging of the status quo by the women, through claiming their rightful position in the fight against HIV and AIDS. The notion of equal partnership between the sexes within families began to emerge. Reproductive health issues which were once a male territory, now became a shared area among some partners. Health information that was shared by parents with their children and the subsequent support and resilience demonstrated by these children in relation to their HIV positive mothers, are other findings that the study revealed. Consequently, the reduction of the once rife social stigma and discrimination about an HIV and AIDS positive person subsided, and it was found that instead the disease was now viewed by those suffering from it or otherwise effected by it, as a manageable health condition rather than a deadly one. These developments are partly attributed to the HIV and AIDS support group discussions and capacity building efforts that these women were exposed to. The thesis has as its conclusion a proposal for a more robust family health education system regarding the HIV and AIDS epidemic for Lesotho. The institutionalisation and strengthening of the support groups based on the PBSG model proved critical to the success of this, as was the issue of greater male communication and involvement in HIV and AIDS responses.