Cléopâtre Kablan: VIH/SIDA, exclusion, pauvreté, vulnérabilité: Le rôle de l’association des femmes vivant avec le VIH/SIDA («Amepouh») dans l’amélioration du bien-être de ces femmes (Une étude de cas)

PhD-thesis within the framework of the NCCR North-South, Université de Cocody, Institut d’Ethno-Sociologie, co-supervised by Prof Brigit Obrist, Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel (2007)

Prevalence of HIV/AIDS is high in Côte d’Ivoire, and especially for women, the impacts of the epidemics are severe: discrimination and marginalization accompany impoverishment. Research so far has not thoroughly considered the role of associations in improving the well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS. This study analyses the capacities of women, who are living with HIV/AIDS and are members of an association, to cope with the illness. The study was conducted in the city of Abidjan, where a group of women living with HIV/AIDS founded the association “Amepouh” (“we will overcome” in Guéré), in order to fight against discrimination and marginalization, but also for improving their well-being. Is this association really able to fight against the exclusion of affected women and improve their condition? In trying to answer this leading question, the functioning and the organization of the association are analyzed: what relationships exist among its members and to the exterior and which activities are offered? In a second moment the process of exclusion and of vulnerability of these women are analyzed, as well as their capacities to face the risks of exclusion. The role of the association in reducing the vulnerability of these women thus emerges. The approach is socio-anthropological and economic and focuses on the concepts of exclusion, poverty, vulnerability and resilience. The results show that the association concentrates on actions of training/employment, on the distribution of in-kind aids and on financing health treatments and income gaining activities. This actions remain limited, firstly because it reaches only a small number of women and secondly because they do not target specifically the most vulnerable women.