HIV/AIDS AWARENESS CREATION PROJECT PROOFS SUCCESS UN NOTICED
Aids education programme in Tanzania began in 1983 five years after the diagnosis of AIDS in the Tanzania in 1993, the HIV and AIDS awareness creation programme has been conceived as a pilot programme aimed at enhancing the implementation of the Ministry of Education and Vocational training (MOEVT) Guidelines for implementation HIV/AIDS and life skills Education programme to primary schools.
I have gone through the activities of the project that are presently taking place in the country Districts and seen its objectives and how it has succeeded its implementation. This project is entitled “HIV/AIDS Awareness Creation Programme targeting youth and adolescence in primary schools in
Dar es salaam and four selected district in ” Tanzania
The intervention HIV/AIDS awareness creation programme targeting youth and adolescents in primary schools in
and four selected districts is an agreement between the Government of Tanzania
and The Kingdom of Belgium. A Specific Agreement was signed between both
parties on the 20th October 2006 date of signature and supposed to last until
2011end of the Specific Agreement. An extension of one and half years has been
allowed to complete the implementation as it started late September 2009. Dar es Salaam
The General objective of this project is to contribute towards decreasing morbidity and mortality rate due to AIDS and other Sexual and productive health problem and specifically to empower youth to practice behavior that protects their sexual and productive health in
Districts selected for the implementation of the programme are, from
Ilala. Kinondoni and Temeke, Coast region represented by Bagamoyo and Mkuranga,
Arusha only Karatu and Kilimanjaro represented by Rombo. In each of the
District one Ward was selected and in each ward only four schools were picked
according to high vulnerability of school population and absence of other
HIV/AIDS interventions Dar es Salaam
The beneficiary of this programme are in-school youth and the members of school communities including School Heads, Teachers, School Guardians and Counselors, members of School Counseling and AIDS Education Committee. The indirect beneficiary are the parents and out of school youth in the communities surrounding the selected schools.
The programme through improved access to information and skills about HIV/AIDS and Adolescence Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) provided by teachers, counsellors, the school peer educators, arts and sports teachers and pupils have been adequately trained in the schools are also expected to organize annual ASRH/AIDS sensitization events to which the community can be invited to learn and share experiences. Teachers, school guardians/ councilors have been trained and skilled in HIV/AIDS and life skills education and refreshed each year of improved information and skills.
In each school the programme is supported by a School Counseling and AIDS Education Committee (SCAEC), its members are (17) in total, represented by the HIV/AIDS teachers, Opinion leaders from the community around the schools, the peer educators, the religious leaders and the opinion makers from the community. The SCAEC were established according to the guidelines and regulations of the MoEVT. Their role is to plan, coordinate, harmonize and advise on the implementation of the HIV/AIDS, STI and life skills education activities in the schools and the surrounding community.
The annual report and backstopping report of this project shows that the project has been positively accepted and appreciated by direct and in-direct beneficiaries.
Before the training of teachers, most of the science teachers who were supposed to teach the HIV/AIDS topics were not doing so for lack of confidence. They were not courageous to mention words related to sex as is considered a taboo in most of societies. Pupils were also afraid to any information about their thoughts and engagement in sexual life thinking that they will be criticized as having bad manners.
Although there are policies guidelines and books produced by the MoEVT which were send to school to implement the HIV/AIDS education programme they were not been used neither by teacher nor pupils, the peer education training have been conducted and become very substantial.
Books for pupils in peer education have been reproduced by this project. It has been distributed to all project schools. Every pupil in the project schools have a peer education guide, HIV/AIDS books for class use, a guide for training teachers on use of sports and arts as a means of transmitting ASRH, HIV and AIDS education and skills has been developed and is been used, a guide for counselling a guide for training peer education and a guide for training SCAEC members. The national arts council Officers, officers of the MoEVT, Districts Focal Persons and Inspectors was engaged as consultants.
Another step taken by the head of schools of each district, they have chosen a day or two for peer education for all schools in the districts. They have also invited the medial experts to trainings for scientific subjects like VCT, CD4, and administering ARVs.
More knowledge and skills created more understanding and curiosity and questions were vital. During training peer educators are made free to talk and express themselves about anything that they know and that they do not understand and time becomes short as every question has to be answered and therefore they have recommended to be given more time for peer education as it is an extra curriculum.
National Project Coordinator Mrs. H. Musaroche has said that after this programme started to be implemented the youth have been open to their teachers and have shown all signs of shaping their behavior in future towards prevention of HIV/AIDS and STIs. She also said “there is a need for extending or scaling up the programme to other districts so as to insure that the youths are given this vital education and skills about HIV/AIDS/ASRH and STIs which have been successful in the project.
Apart from the training being conducted, there were some of astonishing behaviors within the communities that were taking place but soon after the programme was put on feat signs of changes has been experienced in a wide range. These unnoticed behaviors were explored by these pupils during their discussions with peer educators and the Teachers. Example in Mkuranga young girls were used as source of income they were sent to shopping centers (Mnadani), there they mate man who slept with them for money and in Karatu there were some villages which young boys gathered in places near dumps and get to have sex with dogs during evening time.
Up to now the role of the school cancelling and AIDS education committee (SCAEC) has been of success. Several religious leaders have testified that HIV/AIDS is now included in their prayers sessions, some publicly declared that they have decided to set an example to the community and went for testing and other (SCAEC) members were no longer afraid to declare themselves as a people being infected with HIV. Community had also taken measures to close “sex movie bars” which they considered to be a result of the programme, example in Karatu.
Facilitators have found out that people don’t believe that a person who had not gone to a medical school can have enough knowledge concerning care and treatment. Likewise pupils would like a medical practitioner to tell them about ARVs, CD4, and VCT, they do believe and understand better this way. As such the project trained Health Officers around the schools to visit schools.
This programme is facing a geographical challenge. The geographical dispersion over the seven districts scattered all over the country is probably one of the major handicaps for increasing the efficiency and the cost effectiveness of the programme.
More over other governmental activities like health campaigns, political campaigns, workshops, missions, meeting, the supervision of examinations etc. receive higher priority and therefore affects the smooth implementation of project activities by the District Focal Persons..
This project is expected to end in 31st November 2012 and up to now there are no signs of extending the program to other districts. The government should make sure it takes over from where the Development Partner- Belgium Technical Cooperation (BTC) has reached. It should not ignore the success of this essential programme to end up like it has not happened. Using the MoEVT HIV/AIDS guide has contributed much to the success of the project.