"Feeling that HIV is not a burden on you because you are now living in a positive way”. ResultsinHealth evaluated ShivA’s Positive Sisters project, a buddy-project for HIV-positive migrant women living in the Netherlands.

The main goals of this evaluation were to document and analyse the changes that have occurred within the lives of migrant women living with HIV after being connected to the PS project, as well as changes for other stakeholders, which was done with the Most Significant Change (MSC) technique. In addition, the process of implementation of the project has been documented and recommendations have been made for future implementation.

ShivA is a Dutch foundation working on quality of life including spirituality, religion and meaning of life for people living with HIV/AIDS. For the specific target group of migrant women, ShivA designed the Positive Sisters (PS) project in 2011. A ‘Positive Sister’ is a HIV infected migrant woman from sub-Saharan African (SSA) or the Caribbean trained by ShivA to provide support to another HIV infected migrant woman, who encounters difficulties as a migrant living with HIV in the Netherlands. The project aims to empower the PS as well as the women they support. Currently, 18 PSs have completed an intensive six-day course and received a certificate of training completion. Since the start of the project, 45 women have been supported by a PS.

The evaluation team used the MSC technique for the design of the evaluation. The MSC technique is a qualitative and participatory form of monitoring and evaluation based on the collection and systematic selection of stories of reported changes, which are caused by project activities. In addition, semi- structured interviews and a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) has been conducted.

After the analysis of the collected data, it could be concluded that the PS project reaches its aims. The most significant changes within the lives of women living with HIV of SSA or Caribbean origin after being connected to a PS in the PS project have been identified. Changes were also reported in the family life of the women supported, and HIV nurses observed changes in their work. Besides an analysis of these changes and recommendations for the future of the project, success factors of ShivA’s PS project have been included in the report.

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