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Responsibility in the era of AIDS (completed)

How to care for those living with HIV/AIDS 

The Department of Psychology has had an academic cooperation with South African Universities since 1997.

About the project

HIV/AIDS represent some of the most serious challenges to public health in Southern Africa today. Much of the burden of care has fallen on poor communities and families. The project aims at understanding factors that facilitate community participation, community empowerment and the community’s role in improving conditions for people living with HIV/AIDS.

The project maps characteristics of individuals, households, associations, organizations and agencies involved in HIV/AIDS related care and support in a rural area in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It also explores how elements of social capital in relation to care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS in the community manifest themselves and are inter-related. The aim of the research is to identify and promote the multilevel elements and mechanisms of social capital that would improve HIV/AIDS care and support in rural areas in South Africa. Research methods include questionnaires, surveys, interviews, focus group discussions, participant observations and field notes.


Create new knowledge, inform and contribute to the debate between researchers, practitioners, trainers and facilitators, addressing community needs in terms of HIV/AIDS treatment and support. The aim is to create a model that can be used in promoting and strengthening social capital in the local community.


Completed Masters, UKZN:

  • Sharl Flynn (2009): Experiences of social support among volunteer caregivers of people living with HIV/AIDS. 

  • Annette Kasimbazi (2009): Exploring how care and support around HIV/AIDS are perceived by volunteer workers in a rural area, KwaZulu-Natal.

  • Wellington Hlengwa (2010): An investigation of the role played by Social capital working as a buffer to reduce stress levels among volunteer caregivers of HIV/AIDS patients in KwaZulu-Natal.

  • Nicole D’Almaine (2010): Exploring perceptions of informal care and support by community members not currently involved for those with HIV/AIDS.

  • Fatima Dada (2010): A social capital perspective regarding available support: Informal HIV/AIDS carers in KwaZulu-Natal.

Completed Masters, UiO:

  • Kjersti Nesje: Social identity, group membership and trust (2009)

  • Annette Arnesen: Resilience, social capital, and well-being: a cross-sectional study in a context of adversity (2009)

  • Therese Sæberg (2009): Caring for people with HIV/AIDS. A qualitative study of motivations and experiences of voluntary care workers in South Africa.

  • Staale Toft Vaage: Treatment, care and support for HIV positive people in rural South Africa: a qualitative study of the link between formal and informal healthcare (2010).


  • Wenche Dageid, Yvonne Sliep, Olagoka Akintola & Fanny Duckert (Eds): “Response-ability in the Era of AIDS. Building Social Capital in Community Care and Support”. Sun Media, Bloemfontein. (In press).


The project is a cooperation between the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo and the School of Psychology, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa.

The study has used the concept of Social Capital as a framework. Social capital may be defined as the norms and networks that enable people to act collectively and bridge divisions. The three main forms of social capital used in the study were: Bonding social capital referring to intra-community networks that allow people to get by, bridging social capital that provides a way for people to get ahead, and linking social capital that connects people across vertical power differences.

The study has been conducted 2007-2010 in a rural area in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa and has used a variety of research methods; surveys, questionnaires, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, field work observations, and narrative theatre.


The study has been financed by The Norway-South Africa Program, jointly funded by the Norwegian Research Council, Norway and the National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa.

Cooperation participants

Project leaders: Professor Fanny Duckert, the Department of Psychology, UiO, and Professor Yvonne Sliep, School of Psychology, UKZN.

Active researchers: Dr. Wenche Dageid, PSI, UiO, and Dr. Olagoke Akintola, School of Psychology, UKZN

PhD candidates: Thirusha Naidoo and Annette Kasimbazi, both School of Psychology, UKZN.

Published Oct. 25, 2010 6:25 PM - Last modified Jan. 15, 2016 3:38 PM


Fanny Duckert


  • Fanny Duckert
  • Wenche Dageid
  • Yvonne Sliep
  • Olagoke Akintola
  • Thirusha Naidoo
  • Annette Kasimbazi
Detailed list of participants