HIV Awareness

To raise awareness about HIV among the scholarship recipients and their communities in general, World Education requires all of its NGO partners to implement HIV-related activities in their target zones. This year, activities have included community-wide information sessions, debates and discussions; games on HIV education, inter-primary school HIV/AIDS competitions; door-to-door meetings with community members; educational films about the epidemic and sexually transmitted infections; and traditional events including theater, dance and singing to help start community dialogs around an otherwise taboo subject. Drama competitions on HIV and AIDS also have been organized to raise awareness of girls and the entire communities on the dangers of this disease.

While some of the AGSP NGO partners have experience implementing HIV and AIDS activities, not all of the NGOs have the capacity to conduct trainings. As part of our mentoring enhancement workshops, sessions were held with NGO partners on how to use community mobilization techniques to implement HIV and AIDS activities. These include identifying local resources that can provide accurate information on the epidemic and establishing partnerships with local medical officials, HIV/AIDS experts and other organizations in the area. These networks give the NGOs access to additional materials, strategies, local expertise and they promote synergy among various efforts in the target zones.

Sierra Leone AGSP scholars.

World Education's partner FAWE-Gambia, for example, has successfully partnered with an organization (BAFROW) that specializes in sexual reproductive health issues to conduct school HIV sensitization programs coupled with general health matters for the girls. BAFROW also initiated the introduction of a Newsletter for AGSP and the HIV/AIDS component of the program.

In Nigeria, an HIV awareness program included film screenings from which the scholars observed how HIV was contracted, as well as the devastating effect of AIDS. The scholars were also educated on what to do in order to stay HIV free.

In Sierra Leone, NGOs have partnered with the National AIDS Commission to gain access to resource persons and materials to be shared with the community. WEI also encourages its NGO partners to provide HIV and AIDS training to the AGSP mentors and to help them develop strategies to respond to HIV and AIDS questions and issues that their mentees will potentially raise. In countries such as Senegal and Guinea our partners included HIV and AIDS training for mentors in their orientations and training on roles and responsibilities.

In Liberia, interactive discussions with scholars and other school youths and some members of the faculties have occurred at organized school assembly programs. The discussions centered on awareness of HIV - including the literal meaning/definitions, causes, effects, and to prevent contracting the virus.

The Girls' Mentoring Resource Guide developed by USAID in 2008 covers multiple topics pertinent to the scholars' lives and represents for the mentors a wealth of information that can guide them in their work.