Ffena is a network of Africans in the UK living with and affected by HIV. The network enables African people living with HIV in the UK to share their experiences of living with the virus and make their voices heard. Ffena is a Luganda word meaning '[we] all together'. The Ffena network is the only national network of African people living with and affected by HIV. Ffena informs and invigorates the African Health Policy Network's work in policy, research and practice. By interacting with and learning from Africans in the UK living with and affected by HIV and sexual health conditions, AHPN gains greater understanding of the particular issues and concerns that affect them.
Ffena is a unique network and is hugely important for its members and for the AHPN. The feedback it provides is invaluable in influencing AHPN's policy and research work, and ensures AHPN's work is authoritative. Furthermore, participation in the network offers a unique opportunity for its members to develop key skills and provide their feedback. As Ffena continues to grow, the package of benefits offered to its members will continue to improve and become more comprehensive, and the variety of opportunities it presents will increase.
Aims of Ffena
To enable African people living with and affected by HIV to participate meaningfully in AHPN activities and the wider policy society and make their voices heard
To ensure that all Ffena members benefit from membership of the network
To increase the opportunities for participation in the management of the network and to develop personal skills
To expand membership of the network and ensure that participation is open to all
Objectives of Ffena
To enable Africans in the UK living with and affected by HIV to:
Engage in influencing policy, research and practice
Enable AHPN to learn from people's experiences
Have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives
Benefits of membership of Ffena
Become an ambassador for Africans in the UK living with and affected by HIV
Participate in consultations and focus groups to share your views
Contribute to national debates and influence change
Advice, support and training to support involvement activities
Attend, participate in and contribute to AHPN events
Access to AHPN resources
Recent Ffena activities
At the beginning of the pandemic Ffena had to re- invent its impact by influencing new ways of tackling loneliness as well as isolation within the community members.
These are our latest initiatives for our service users:
The Supportive Network was created. This is a WhatsApp group and was a way of keeping the members or Ffena connected during the pandemic. The Supportive Network group has 65 members in total. This platform created to inform and update members about what was going on around during the pandemic. This was also a resource centre for COVID-19 information as well as the uptake of the national vaccine roll out. Members we're sharing information in simple laymen’s language for some of the members who have English as a second language. The Supportive Network is run by the members themselves they provide peer support, information distribution, emotional support, information and advice on benefits. On this platform members also had the opportunity of sharing the social part of life by means of sharing jokes, poetry, fashion shows and cooking activities. This platform also encouraged everyone to participate digitally by use of tablets.
With the help of funding from outside funders we managed to obtain tablets and phones for some of our elder members so that they could be digitally included in this project. We reach out to all our members twice every week via Zoom, video calls and WhatsApp calls. We conducted training sessions to help our members on how to use digital gadgets.
During the pandemic we realised that most of our members are living under national poverty levels and AHPN supported them with some food shopping for each household. Our volunteers went around distributing food bags.
Our cookery lessons also helped our members on sharing ideas on how to combat COVID-19 by using local organic herbs.
We hosted online fashion shows and music competitions and this was a great opportunity for some of our members to engage with their peers. During these sessions we realised the impact of focus groups as well as sharing information as a family. Friendships were created and communities were brought together by this activity.
The latest development is the acquisition off an allotment for Ffena. The allotment will encourage our members to grow their own food in their gardens. We are looking forward to a better summer and all members are invited to take part in this initiative which is going to help transform lives as well as encourage healthy living and eating.
Our members are very well connected and informed. Our members encourage each other to live stronger.
Ffena: 'WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER'