We piloted the first session of the READY program today at a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Muhuru. We focused on Family Communication in the context of Economic Empowerment. Our Community Advisory Committee felt strongly that economic issues should be discussed FIRST because poverty is a main source of family stress and also an underlying factor related to HIV risk.
Fifty people attended - half youth and half adults. Most came together as families, which was important for the emphasis on family communication. It was clear that asking families to talk with one another during a group program was a new approach, but families participated and reported they enjoyed it. Families talked together to plan "small steps of hope" related to making an economic plan for their family.
Men among the participants brought up an interesting issue several times during the discussion. They expressed reluctance to share the amount of their salaries with their wives, saying that their wives may "plan big budgets" if they are aware of the amount of money available. The facilitator for the male caregivers said that there was some disagreement on this point, however, which opened the door to discuss the possible benefits of having open communication about money within a marriage.