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From Burial Societies to Mutual Aid Organizations: The Role of Idirs — Traditional Burial Societies in Ethiopia — In Ensuring Community-Level Care and Protection of Vulnerable Children

March 2012 - From 2004 through 2009, Family Health International engaged 270 Idirs—traditional burial societies—in Ethiopia’s fight against HIV and AIDS, which required the Idirs to change from only supporting death and mourning ceremonies to also supporting the living via mutual aid. Results show that more than 126,000 children received services and that these Idirs played a catalytic role in changing local attitudes away from discrimination and stigmatization and toward direct support for orphans, other vulnerable children, and people living with or affected by HIV infection.

The achievements further demonstrate that, when capacitated, indigenous community-level organizations can become major partners in achieving lasting, transformational development at the grassroots level. For the full text, please visit: