Bakwena’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) program has had a meaningful impact on the lives of many people living along the Bakwena N1N4 route particularly during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arise and Conquer is a Bakwena supported NGO based in Hammanskraal which focusses on HIV, STI and related illnesses, awareness and education in the community. They carry out counselling and HIV testing, educating of people on safe sex as well as encourage the use of contraceptives for adults and ensure that people living with HIV live a positive, healthy and long life. Learners are given information about HIV/AIDS, encouraged to get tested, given information on living with HIV/AIDS and a support network is shared with them. The outcomes of the program include acquiring more information and knowledge about chronic illnesses & reduction of the stigma with increased acceptance towards HIV positive people.

The social value includes behavioural change and attitude towards HIV and TB which contributes to a reduction in deaths and encourages a healthy lifestyle. This ongoing programme has reached 8500 learners and 3500 members of the public at school, clinics and churches since 2015. The target group includes learners, communities and stakeholders.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arise and Conquer team in partnership with Tshwane Region 2 stakeholders, Tshwane’s Speakers Office, Multi Sectorial Aids Management Unit (MSAMU) and Modimo O Maatla NGO, received training on the COVID- 19 and its prevention from Kalafong Hospital Department of Health.

With this knowledge, they are able to not only educate the community on HIV and STI, but have extended their education to cover COVID-19 prevention measures including good hygiene practices on washing of hands for 20 seconds, wearing face masks, covering their nose and mouth when they cough / sneeze either with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow as well as to maintain a social distance of at least 1 – 2 metres when going to the shops or standing in queues. Community members are also encouraged to stay home and self-isolate from others in their household if they feel unwell for a period of two weeks.

As of the 20th April 2020 the team met 1 472 community members who were educated and screened with 19 referrals for further investigation/treatment. With the help of the Tshwane’s Speakers Office the team has been provided with transport to assist them with this community initiative.

“With the help of Arise and Conquer, we have been able to fulfil a vital role in reaching out and educating community members on this virus and the prevention thereof. Their commitment and enthusiasm to this cause will go a long way in making a difference to our community” says Ms Liffie Mbewe (Arise & Conquer EXCO member).

“Bakwena is proud to be associated with Arise and Conquer as they strive to make a positive and significant difference in the lives of the Hammanskraal Community particularly during this time of COVID-19” concludes Solomon Kganyago, Bakwena’s Commercial Manager.

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