Church networks are incredibly vibrant in Rwanda. Pastor Willy Rumenera of Comfort My People (CMP) and Village Makeover (VMO) is tapping into this strong and passionate community to share the message of celebrating life with thousands of adults and children alike.
The TeachAIDS software uses a biology-based approach and couples it with culturally appropriate euphemisms to enhance understanding and optimize learning. This methodology has provided appropriate vocabulary for churches that have historically struggled to openly discuss HIV and AIDS related issues with their congregations, allowing them to address sensitive subjects more explicitly. With support from CMP and VMO, churches in Rwanda are now sharing the TeachAIDS software and working towards empowering their communities to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Last year, CMP and VMO began sharing critical HIV prevention information with children in Rwanda and reached more than 1000 children using the Kinyarwanda Animated Software. After a successful educational session, leaders of this community promised to continue their efforts though 2013 to bring the materials to the masses. Beginning in January 2013, CMP/VMO shared the TeachAIDS software with an additional 950 people (men, women, and children) in churches throughout Byumba, a city in the Gicumbi district in the Northern Province of Rwanda. According to Rumenera, at one church, “many came forward [after watching the video] and asked questions, asking how to do more to get this information to as many people as we can.” He commented that “this is work to save lives.”
This training was one of many more sessions to come and represents significant progress in CMP/VMO's efforts to share TeachAIDS with close to 20,000 people in Rwanda using church networks and a “train the trainer” approach.
TeachAIDS is partnered with numerous other organizations in Rwanda, including CARE International, Gardens for Health, and FACE AIDS.
Photo: Congregation members discuss and reflect on the TeachAIDS animations at a church in Byumba, Rwanda