Unification News for July 2003
IIFWP Africa: AIDS Prevention and Character Education Training Seminars
Adapted from Reports by Allan Saunders,
Mrs. Kathy Rigney & Mr. Alan Saunders, IIFWP Director of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Character Education traveled to Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda in April 2003. The trip began in Togo where Mr. Saunders, gave a presentation on HIV/AIDS prevention and character education to members at the center in Lome, Togo. The following day the pair traveled to Kara in Togo to meet VIPs at the commemorative service for the brother of President Eyadema. Many VIPs were met at the event including the son of the President and Governors of each region of the country who agreed to have the IIFWP HIV/AIDS presentation in their respective regions. Other dignitaries that were met at the service included Mr. Theopile Panou and Dr. Richard Assih who is the personal doctor to the President of Togo.
Following the coast, Mr. Saunders and Mrs. Rigney traveled to Benin for an exciting schedule of meetings, conferences and presentations. Two half-day seminars on Character Education and developing successful communication and parenting skills were given to the members in Cotonou, which is known as the Latin quarter of the west coast of Africa. Mr. Paterne, Secretary General of IIFWP in Benin, did an excellent job in creating a lively schedule for the moral educators. Character Education seminars were held at the ‘Complexe La Glycene,’ high school to teachers and students and also at the National University of Benin to over 100 students. A meeting was held with Mr. Aminou Wabi Taofiki, Vice-Rector of the National University.
Other meetings were held with the Minister of the secondary schools of Benin and the Minister of Technical Schools for the country. They also met with the Deputy of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Office for Benin. A meeting was held with Ambassadors for Peace at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Paterne. Chabi Kao, the Senior Government official and Professor Kogblevi attended the dinner meeting, which went late into the evening with exciting discussions about education, parenting and conflict resolution.
The final event in Cotonou was a half-day conference, which was at the National University of Benin. Over 120 people attended the seminar, which was called, "The Need for Moral Education and Education for Character," which covered topics that span the human life cycle, including relationships, marriage and family education. The participants were exuberant to receive the Ambassadors for Peace award. Stimulating group sessions were held on the topic of what the future moral education system would need to include in Benin. Other meetings were organized for future events including a follow-up conference in two months.
From this point, the group traveled to Lagos, Nigeria to meet other Ambassadors for Peace and give more presentations and seminars. "The Need for Moral Education," and other lectures were given to the Family Federation members in Lagos the following day. A meeting that evening was held with Minister Haruna-Elawi who is the current Communication Minister for Nigeria. History was observed as Nigeria held its first set of elections given by an elected group of officials. President Obasanju was re-elected to power with his PDP party having taken many of the positions throughout the country. International observers viewed the elections, which were held without major disturbances or riots.
The following day, a group of IIFWP Representatives met with Dr. Idegbe who is the Director of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research. A report that the Institute had produced was discussed and plans were initiated for Dr. Idegbe to speak at the World Culture and Sports Festival 2003 in Korea. Later that day a meeting was held at the Institute for the Lagos State Chapter of IIFWP. Many influential dignitaries attended the event including leaders of NGO’s, professors and community leaders. Mr. Saunders presented a lecture on moral education and once again a lively discussion was pursued about the future of moral education for Nigeria. It was decided that a follow-up meeting would be held in the coming months to include teachers, administrators and government officials. From that meeting a Character Education committee will be formed to introduce the initiative formally.
Mrs. Rigney and Mr. Saunders then traveled to Nairobi, Kenya and then on to Entebbe, Uganda. Meetings were held with HIV/AIDS Prevention leaders in Uganda. Mr. Saunders gave a presentation to the girls at the Peace High School on the outskirts of Kampala. The group met many leaders of NGO’s and also representatives of several HIV/AIDS government organizations. Presentations on moral education and relationship education were presented to a select group of Ambassadors for Peace and Family Federation leaders.
Meetings with representatives of the Ministry for Health, Ministry of Education and other NGO’s were the highlight of the final day of the tour in Uganda. There was a lot of discussion on the success of NGO’s to combat the HIV/AIDS problem in Uganda and reports were attained to document the initiatives held in that country. The group met with Dr. Chris Baroymunsi of the UN Population Fund and discussed the fact that now the organizations in Uganda were being challenged with a stagnation of HIV/AIDS infection rates. One of the challenges is that youth no longer want to hear about this issue as there has been a flood of NGO’s giving presentations on this subject.
The culmination of the trip was the signing of the contract of the new Peace Embassy in Kampala. The Peace Embassy is centrally located near the President’s quarters. The Lieutenant General, Moses Ali, formally signed the contract along with Mrs. Rigney and Mr. & Mrs. Rutangye.
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