Establishment History

Mekdim Ethiopia National Association of PLHIV and AIDS Orphans was established in 1996 by a group of 3 people living with the virus and 9 Aids orphans. In 1997, it has got a license from Addis Ababa City government to work at regional level. Then, in August 1999, it has got NGO license from the ministry of Justice to operate at National level. The foundation of Mekdim was based on people that were unified by common experiences faced when encountering HIV/AIDS at a time of high stigma, ignorance and discrimination.

 The founders at the beginning used to meet informally in each other’s homes or offices to provide mutual psychological and social support. Cohesion among these individuals was strengthened by the fact that they were either directly infected with HIV or implicitly affected by the epidemic. Consequently, they were able to establish Mekdim (meaning pioneer), which is the first legally registered and presently one of the major PLHIV’s associations in Ethiopia. Currently the association has a total of over 10,000 members (26 % AIDS Orphans & 74% PLHIV). And it has been undertaking various HIV/AIDS Projects/programs in six different areas in the country.


MENA targets HIV Positive persons, Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and Most at Risk Mobile Populations (MARPs). MENA has renewed its license on November 12th, 2009 as an Ethiopian Residents charity according to the charities and societies proclamation No.621/2009 and is legally allowed to continue its contribution to the country’s development strategies with the interventions of various HIV/AIDS prevention, Care and Support services.