Unification News for August 2004

IIFWP: Character Education and AIDS Prevention in Zambia

by Adamson Musonda & Nicholas Chisha

At the first seminar in Zambia -- Lusaka, May 19, 2004 -- on "HIV/AIDS Prevention and Character Education," three times as many people showed up as invited. The 110 participants came from 18 NGOs, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Education. There were four primary and secondary school teachers and two members of the press. Former Prime Minister, Hon Gen. Malimba Masheke, attended the seminar.

The Peace Embassy in Lusaka hosted the April 24, 2004 event. The presenter, Mr. Alan Saunders, gave an Introduction to Character Education and outlined the Best Practices in the field. He emphasized moral rearmament and good character development, especially among children. Then he moved to specific information about HIV/AIDS prevention, followed by guidance about Relationship and Communication Skills. His presentation was excellent and professional.

To meet the challenge of catering for unbudgeted participants, we had to look for more chairs, food, cooking utensils and kitchen staff. We extend our gratitude to Mr. Saunders, who donated a substantial amount to cover most of the expenses.

The participants reported that it was the first time they received such profound education. They responded to all the presentations with eagerness and enthusiasm, although in some cases the interactive presentation style was very challenging.

Immediately after the seminar, Mr. Mambwe, Executive Director of ARGAZ, sought a private meeting to express his organizationís willingness to network with our organization. Former Prime Minister Masheke expressed his appreciated and encouraged Mr. Saunders to help Zambia and Africa as a whole to rebuild the declining moral standards and good character among the young people, who are the future leaders. One of the media participants from the government newspaper with the largest circulation, Times of Zambia, interviewed Mr. Saunders and the local IRFF representatives, Mr. Adamson Musonda and Mr. Nicholas Chisha. The next day, the Times of Zambia carried an article about the good work of IIFWP in Zambia.

Participants asked that the presentation materials be reproduced and distributed to other NGOs and that more presentations of such a nature take place. It was an amazing experience for everyone involved. The content highlighted the missing values in our corrupt society. We deeply appreciate the efforts and time dedicated to this program by the IIFWP International body.

The previous day, we met with the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. Nevers Mumba, at his office. It was a rich and moving experience. The Vice President assured Mr. Saunders of the governmentís support in all of IIFWPís endeavors, especially towards the fight against HIV/AIDS. Mr. Saunders explained IIFWPís program in detail and highlighted the organizationís commitment to work with the Zambian government. The Vice President explained that IIFWP has come at the right time when the government is looking for good working partners such as IIFWP in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Shortly after meeting the Vice President, we met with the Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Mulenga, who expressed similar sentiments. He further promised that he would infuse character education into the school curriculum. He requested Mr. Saunders to extend the character education training to the teachers.

On the same day, a meeting with the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Brian Chituwo, was held at his office. The Minister noted that the content of the program was the missing ingredient in the fight against HIV/AIDS. He, too, promised to render his full support to this initiative.

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