In Malawi, it is estimated that more than 1 million people live with HIV/AIDS today. This number more than doubled in the past 25 years. According to UNAIDS, in rural areas the incidence rate might be as high as 40% and more than 50,000 people die every year due to complications related to AIDS. The greatest challenge is to educate people; since there is very little information available on how to live with HIV and how to prevent it spreading; or, people just don’t know how to find the relevant information.

LICO is a local indigenous and community-based organisation that works to change this reality. Since its foundation, in 2008, LICO aims to positively contribute towards improving the living standards and conditions of those adversely affected by poverty, ill health and HIV and AIDS. Since the beginning, LICO has chosen a bottom-up community approach, giving the people the chance to create the change themselves, with their own perceptions of the problems they face.

At first, LICO provided people HIV testing and counselling on how to prevent it spreading. As the initiative evolved, they broadened their actions to include research, community capacity building, gender and reproductive health and climate change.

Today LICO assists numerous communities in rural Malawi. Together, they add up to around 180,000 people. And LICO has made it its mission to assure all these people have the most up to date information available on health and environmental issues, especially on HIV/AIDS. It is important to note that this change won’t happen over night. It must be continuous and efficient if they want to make the slightest change in these communities’ mindsets.

To help make this change, the TIE campaign will help develop a communication strategy and communication materials so LICO can reach more people with HIV information, and more efficiently. With up to date printed materials, LICO can decrease the spread of HIV and help people with the virus live healthier lives. And, more important, LICO can lead entire communities to make more conscious and informed decisions.