Home Institution

Boston College

Publication Date

Spring 2009

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health


The purpose of this study project was to understand the impact of HIV/AIDS on a community and to assess the ability of a non-governmental organization to mitigate the negative effects of disease and poverty in the spaces where the government has failed to address community needs. The author observed employees at the Bhekuzulu Self Sufficient Project in rural KwaZulu Natal over a period of three and a half weeks in order to gain an understanding of the work done there. Secondary research was done to supplement these observations and better understand the social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS on a community, in order to assess the effectiveness of BSSP programmes in the surrounding areas.

Through these observations, it was concluded that an NGO can successfully bridge a portion of the gap left between the government’s provision and the needs of a relatively poor, rural community. Programmes in many ways can diffuse the negative effects of poverty and illness on households and especially children and reduce the risks associated with growing up in such an environment. However, as a rural NGO dependent on outside donations to provide the funding and budget of the organization, there are many challenges this organization faces. These challenges create limitations on the impact an NGO can have on a community, and may even pose a threat to the long-term survival of the organization.


Public Health | Social Welfare



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