THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND THE ROLE OF PARTNERS IN DEVELOPMENT: THE INFLUENCE OF FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS ON HIV/AIDS PREVENTION IN KENYA
Degree awarded: Ph.D. Sociology. American University
This dissertation uses a qualitative research approach to explore how religion influences HIV prevention policy. This study draws a parallel analysis to the ways in which missionaries used religion to achieve their goals and why the consequence was a process of cultural imperialism. Through the coining of a central term in my dissertation, Millennial Cultural Imperialism (MNI), this research shows how the current missionary movement instills elements of the past missionary movement, but it complicates it by its use of religion in policy and implementation to address a social problem. The sample of 14 organizations was generated from the Kenyan National AIDS Control Council database. I conducted in-depth interviews with 27 participants in Nairobi. The following findings support the notion that applying religion to HIV prevention is a process of millennial cultural imperialism. ABC-D Policy: Implementing Abstinence (A) and Be faithful (B) is a common preference. The perception that Condom use (C) encourages adultery and promiscuity limit the preference for implementing condom use to planned parenthood, and HIV positive and discordant couples. Engaging in immoral behavior and condom use (which does not guarantee protection from contracting HIV) could be Disastrous (D) and a cause of Death (D). Feminized Perceptions and Gendering Prevention Policy: Widows are expected to abstain and younger widows are encouraged to re-marry. Cultural practices such as wife-inheritance is discouraged. Re-marrying will reduce the probability of engaging in deviant behavior. Popular Culture and Social Media: Gospel concerts, modern Christian rap music and social activities are socialization strategies and spaces targeting the youth with abstinence messages. Social Advocacy and Creating Safe Spaces for People Living with HIV/AIDS: Churches offer socioeconomic and emotional/spiritual support services. Social Control: Some religious leaders apply religious principles to justify why they exclude people living with HIV/AIDS. Sexuality and Social Exclusion: Minority and at risk groups are excluded from equally receiving services due to stigma and discrimination. Mega Rallies and Commercializing Spirituality: Deliverance, Faith-healing and Prosperity Prayers: Revivals, crusades and advertisements suggesting that prayer cures HIV/AIDS are influential social forces for people searching for spiritual guidance, meaning and purpose in life.
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