Partnership with Ghana to help prevent HIV/AIDS

April 29, 2004, Vol.30, no. 1
By Felicity Stone

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Most people are aware of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa, but few have any idea how to tackle it.

Now SFU and three Ghanaian universities have designed a project, Reducing HIV Stigma by Education‚ Ghana, to teach educators, youth workers, children and their parents about the causes of, and ways to prevent HIV/AIDS, and to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease.

Last month the Canadian International Development Agency awarded $1 million to implement the project.

In Ghana, teachers and National Youth Council facilitators are respected and influential role models who, unlike health workers, exist in every community.

Most Ghanaian children attend school from the age of five, forming a captive and receptive audience for reliable information about HIV/AIDS before becoming sexually active themselves. Community-based youth group facilitators will instruct children who, for social or economic reasons, do not go to school.

And who will teach the teachers? SFU's continuing studies department, health education research institute, school of communication and the centre for sustainable community development are all working with the University of Ghana, University of Cape Coast (UCC) and University of Education, Winneba (UEW), to develop course materials and training programs for teachers and youth facilitators.

More than 15,000 teachers will receive HIV/AIDS training as part of their teacher education at UCC and UEW, while 1,500 youth facilitators will be trained through the University of Ghana.

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