Students gather in small classroom to receive prevention education through the TeachAIDS software
27
FEB
2012
In a small, rural farm community of approximately 500 people located in the Hardap Region, residents live several hours away from the nearest town in Namibia. In this community, secondary school volunteer teachers sought TeachAIDS materials after recognizing that the link between awareness and knowledge gains were broken. While students were aware of basic HIV and AIDS related facts, many misconceptions and rumors were rampant.

“In my community, the learners are generally aware and educated about HIV/AIDS, but there are many myths about the disease that the school curriculum does not address. These range from things like ‘HIV was brought to Africa by Americans’ to really damaging myths like ‘sex with a virgin can cure HIV’. The challenge then is providing very clear information to help dispel rumors.” – Caitlin Roake, Peace Corps Volunteer

In order to provide culturally-acceptable, medically-accurate, and interactive HIV and AIDS education, volunteers have integrated the TeachAIDS tutorials into the life skills and life sciences curriculum.

Within several workshops, dozens of sixth through ninth standard students received HIV education from a TeachAIDS tutorial projected onto a screen in the center of the classroom. Due to these successes, Peace Corps Volunteers sought to expand the use of TeachAIDS materials in Namibia.  In the coming months, Teach AIDS materials will be distributed to approximately 115 volunteers working in rural and urban sites in all 13 regions of Namibia. These volunteers will work towards implementing TeachAIDS education materials into after-school HIV and AIDS workshops and community programs. In addition, Peace Corps Volunteers will provide Namibian counterparts with TeachAIDS materials and help them to integrate the materials into their own classroom teaching efforts.

The United States Peace Corps currently serves 68 countries around the world and has provided over 1200 volunteers to serve Namibia since the program’s inception in 1990. With support from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), HIV and AIDS extension volunteers in Namibia educate individuals about prevention in health clinics, community centers, and in the classroom. These outreach efforts are particularly important in a nation such as Namibia, which maintains one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, with approximately 15% of the population infected.

Over the past two years, TeachAIDS and Peace Corps Volunteers have collaborated to deliver HIV prevention education to nations around the world, including Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Lesotho, Republic of Georgia, Ukraine, and Zambia. In Guyana, volunteers incorporated techniques for working with special needs children. In Guatemala, volunteers are collaborating with the Ministry of Health to distribute hundreds of copies of the TeachAIDS animations to train health professionals across communities.

We look forward to continuing to support the United States Peace Corps and other grassroots organizations in Namibia and throughout Sub-Saharan Africa as we work towards educating individuals about HIV prevention.

Photo: Students gather in small classroom to receive prevention education through the TeachAIDS software