Unification News for April 2002
IIFWP - Flip Charts Bring a New Look to HIV/AIDS Prevention in Africa
by Kathy Rigney
The IIFWP AIDS initiative in Africa with its banner theme: A Zero Transmission Lifestyle, is moving exponentially forward. The challenge now is to address the issue of funding the multitude of activities that are taking place. One option is to find funding through the federal governments of the different countries involved. The other idea is to contact wealthy and well-known VIPs of a particular nation who might want to participate in the renewal of their communities.
Several VIPs in Nigeria have already been approached and are excited about the possibility of funding the entire cost to complete the HIV education in their region. According to African tradition, those African VIPs are expected to help their own particular communities. Many times, they are looking for a project that would be good in their area. Those that have been approached in Nigeria are very excited about this possibility and we are now preparing a budget for their consideration.
Also, the Nigerian Minister of Health has approved the financing of the HIV/AIDS Project in Nigeria. However, he must receive the approval of the National Assembly in the spring. After setting up financing in Nigeria, we will help eleven other countries do the same. The challenge of funding is constant for NGOs and we are creatively assessing how to best deal with it.
The following are brief summaries from Nigeria, Kenya, Benin, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon.
Two teams of volunteers are working full time, teaching in schools, churches, youth associations, cultural groups and various NGOs. Using the IIFWP flipcharts has proved to be an effective way of educating young people. An article was written up in the Yaounde Herald explaining this approach in a very positive and enthusiastic way. Since receiving the flip charts and beginning this new IIFWP campaign, Cameroon has educated 9,250 people about the zero transmission lifestyle. Read more...
In Ghana, as well, the IIFWP HIV Program is progressing centering on churches, high schools and universities. One such event was held at the Presbyterian Church of Ghana at Mile 7, New Achimota in Accra. At the beginning of our presentation, they thought we were going to emphasize condom education. However, when they saw that our program was abstinence based they were very happy and applauded our approach as the best they have encountered so far. At the Christ Apostolic Church in Accra, the congregation began quoting Bible passages to support the work. To date, since the beginning of the IIFWP Program in Ghana 4,368 people have received the flipchart instruction that values every human life.
In Nigeria, two teams of full time members have been working with little rest, focusing on schools, churches, youth groups, cultural groups, universities and governmental organizations. The IIFWP team has never encountered a negative reaction to the presentation. There has also been a series of meetings with the Ambassadors for Peace and top Church leadership to discuss the issue of follow up to the initial work.
The hope is that when this educational project receives funding from the Nigerian Government and VIPs they will be able to educate the youth more rapidly. The goal is to have covered the entire nation within an 18-month period of time. To date, 29,458 people have been educated through our IIFWP Program. However, we have also educated many educators and they in turn are taking responsibility to educate the youth in their schools and organizations toward, A Zero Transmission Lifestyle. Read more...
In Zambia, the focus has been on educating educators- teachers in high schools, middle schools, universities, youth groups and church groups. A total of 1,560 educators have been educated who are in turn educating the young people in their various spheres. Ma. Rigney and the team held a meeting with the District Education Officer and his Deputy in Ndola at the Ministry of Education and are working together with them to develop a national plan for the HIV/AIDS Project.
One other interesting development is with the Zambian military. The Commandant of the Army Barracks in Ndola invited the IIFWP team to lecture the soldiers on, the Zero Transmission Lifestyle. The response was very enthusiastic and lectures will be given at all the barracks across Zambia. Four of the eminent IIFWP Ambassadors for Peace have been instrumental in facilitating relationships with IIFWP educators and the three Mayors of Ndola, Chililabombwe, and Kitwe. Their contribution to this work has been remarkable.
In Kenya, the focus is also on educating educators. Over 3,000 educators have received training and are now educating their own students in Nairobi, Mombassa and Bomet. The IIFWP team is also working with the Ministry of Education and the Armed Forces on developing education programs.
In Benin Republic as elsewhere, the focus is in churches, schools and youth organizations. Work began in Benin a little late as it took time to translate the flipcharts Nevertheless, 7,929 people have been educated to date.
A lot of the work is also centered on educators who in turn have begun teaching in their own schools. The plan to follow up next month to find out how their work is going and check up on their presentations. Financing for a national campaign has been requested.
As in the other countries, the focus in Uganda is on schools, youth groups, churches, cultural groups and government organizations. We have educated 12,586 people to date in over 68 schools and various other organizations. Besides teaching students, we also hold one-day seminars in different companies for the employees. Looking forward, we would like to implement a national plan for the IIFWP HIV Program.
In Tanzania, most work has been with volunteers who themselves are HIV positive and who understand the dangers of the HIV virus. In Dar-es-salaam, the IIFWP zero transmission approach is entirely new as programs featuring condoms were all that were being taught there. We are presently working with 3 other NGO's who are helping us to promote our new Program. We have focused our initial work on Ilala District, Kibaha District, Mkuranga District, Mafia District, Tumbi Division, Chole Division and Mzenga Division. To date, 10,258 people have been educated.
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