His Excellency, Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, Special Advisor to TeachAIDS, at his compound in Phakalane Golf Estates, Botswana, with Dr. Piya Sorcar (Founder & CEO, TeachAIDS) and Lila Pavey (Programmes Manager - Technical Advisor, Stepping Stones International).
15
JUN
2012
Botswana has recognized June 15th as its national "TeachAIDS Day". The Ministry of Education has worked with local partners to host screenings of the TeachAIDS animations in school districts, local businesses, and NGOs throughout the country.

The government of Botswana has long been a leader in the fight against HIV, promoting innovative approaches to treatment for its citizens. Today, the country is celebrating its inaugural “TeachAIDS Day” – a call to action to the nation to take responsibility and educate themselves about HIV. Despite decades of proactive measures to combat HIV and AIDS, 23 percent of Botswana’s population remains infected.

Botswana’s Ministry of Education approached TeachAIDS to strategize and tackle the education-related issues in the country. The partnership brought together UNICEF, Barclays Bank, Yahoo!, Stepping Stones International (SSI), and Stanford University, to effectively combat HIV fatigue through a comprehensive and entertaining approach. The TeachAIDS approach was formally approved by the Deputy Permanent Secretary and the Curriculum, Development, and Evaluation sector at Botswana's Ministry of Education. The customized software versions were launched in Botswana on December 1, 2010, on World AIDS Day.

“TeachAIDS has worked with an incredible team of world-class experts, governments around the world, and UNICEF to create a clear way to understand what you need to know about HIV and AIDS. Their tutorials are being used globally and are quickly becoming the standard in HIV and AIDS education. Explore and use this innovative tool. Challenge the myths and misconceptions that still exist in our society.” – His Excellency, Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, Special Advisor to TeachAIDS

Nationwide Education Efforts

Since the TeachAIDS country launch, Botswana's Ministry of Education and Skills Development, the United States Peace Corps, and our local in-country partner Stepping Stones International (SSI), combined efforts and worked with local educators and administrators to aggressively distribute both the English and Setswana TeachAIDS software throughout the country. Distribution efforts included:

* Peace Corps and Ministry of Education distributed TeachAIDS to all primary, secondary, and tertiary schools, DAC offices, and Education Centres throughout the nation

* SSI trained all the clinic nurses through DHT, Tebelopele Mochudi, Guidance and Counseling Teachers in Kgatleng, DAC

* Ministry of Education distributed TeachAIDS software to Education Pitso, Curriculum departments and Department of Social Services

* Corporations and NGOs have assisted in expanding the reach of TeachAIDS to remote populations throughout Botswana

"TeachAIDS Day" Festivities

The two-day celebration began yesterday, the eve of TeachAIDS Day, when young people gathered at Freedom Square (Old Naledi). All the partners and supporters of TeachAIDS came together for the two-hour event aimed to educate and entertain the masses. The evening commenced with opening remarks from Mr. Menyatso, Head of Department for Curriculum of Botswana's Ministry of Education. This was followed by lively performances and testimonials by the TeachAIDS award-winning cultural icons including Jazzelle, Tref, Zeus and Scar. These celebrities have also donated their voices to the English and Setswana versions of the TeachAIDS Botswana animations. The concerts were followed by a mass screening of the TeachAIDS animation.

"The lead up to the main event was great and got the crowd excited but really the power of the TeachAIDS animation spoke for itself. The crowd listened carefully to the address by the Former President, and were totally engaged in the animation. Total silence among the crowd of  almost 2000 people as they watched TeachAIDS attentively....until the doctor's challenge came where the crowd shouted out answers to questions in unison." – Lila Pavey, Programmes Manager - Technical Advisor, Stepping Stones International

Today, TeachAIDS Day, the efforts of the entire country will be realized. Multiple screenings of the TeachAIDS animations will be simultaneously shown throughout the nation in hopes of spreading effective and comprehensive HIV and AIDS education for all.

Still to come…

* UNICEF will distribute additional copies of the software to all of the Adolescent Friendly Clinics across the country

* SSI will education Mochudi Police next week along with the Department of Arts and Culture

* Barclays will distribute TeachAIDS software to all the branches and community partners

* TeachAIDS animations will be shown on national television

We are honored that a day was named to celebrate TeachAIDS and promote knowledge gains throughout the country. We are immensely proud of the leadership that Botswana has demonstrated to continue the battle towards zero new infections by 2016.

TeachAIDS Pictures: Behind the Scenes of Botswana Software Development

Photo: His Excellency, Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, Special Advisor to TeachAIDS, at his compound in Phakalane Golf Estates, Botswana, with Dr. Piya Sorcar (Founder & CEO, TeachAIDS) and Lila Pavey (Programmes Manager - Technical Advisor, Stepping Stones International).