For years, EDC trained African teachers on the basics of HIV prevention—consistently using a condom, for example, or asserting oneself in relationships. Yet teachers would return to environments where traditional gender roles did not support these behaviors.
Schools are both educational environments and workplaces that employ thousands of people in the Caribbean. Educational systems can play an important role in protecting the health of those who work within them and the students who learn and play there. Policies within the education sector and workplace in the Bahamas must therefore address the HIV and AIDS epidemic. A three day workshop in the Bahamas was planned and conducted by EDC to develop a draft Education Sector Policy for HIV and AIDS.
In the Umkhanyakude district of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, learning conditions are bare bones. As many as 100 students cram into a classroom in schools that have little water or electricity. Noises distract, from the wooden chairs against cement floors to rain hammering on the corrugated roof.
At a community center in Bangkok, small-business owners are logging on to the Internet for the first time, using Microsoft Word, Excel spreadsheets, and other business software. These local entrepreneurs—including fruit sellers, garment makers, and artisans—are learning their technology skills courtesy of the multinational computer firm Hewlett Packard (HP).
During a five-day visit to Africa, First Lady Laura Bush met with students who are listening to radio to learn basic education, life skills, and HIV/AIDS prevention. For millions of children across Africa who don’t have access to traditional schooling and for teachers who do not have access to adequate training, the radio programs reach them in community centers, their homes, and in school settings. Mrs. Bush, accompanied by her daughter, Jenna, visited schools in Zambia and Mali that use the participatory programs, created for each country by Education Development Center, Inc.
EDC staff in Thailand enlisted the help of local university students to bring greater public attention to the scope of the HIV/AIDS crisis in that country. In partnership with film students from Chulalongkorn University (Chula), project staff researched, wrote, and produced three short documentary films that report on factors contributing to the epidemic, the plight of children orphaned by it, and promising new community-based responses.
Scott Pulizzi, of EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs (HHD), recently returned from Kenya and Uganda, his latest of more than 30 trips to Africa, where he is working to
alleviate HIV. He talked with us about what he’s learned through his special connections
to teachers there, and how their experience has changed his thinking and reinvigorated
Preventing HIV/AIDS is the goal of EDC’s partnership with the University of the West Indies. EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs (HHD) is strengthening the capacity of educators by promoting advocacy and leadership development to address prevention, voluntary counseling and testing, and care and bereavement.
substance abuse, unprotected sex, and related risky behaviors take a
tragic toll on the lives of individuals and their communities. To
prevent these risks, we must first understand the factors and
circumstances that contribute to risk-taking. EDC’s Center for Research
on High Risk Behaviors (RHRB) conducts a variety of research projects
that develop, evaluate, and disseminate effective interventions for
reducing health risks.
A new regional campaign aims to influence decision-makers and practitioners in the education sector to take action regarding HIV/AIDS. On February 16, 2005, EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs (HHD) and UNESCO’s Office for the Caribbean launched the new “Campaign on Advocacy and Leadership to Advance the Caribbean Education Sector Response to HIV/AIDS” in Trinidad and Tobago.
Because of its success in helping vulnerable children in Thailand, EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs’ (HHD) Regional HIV/AIDS Project funded by Deutsche Bank has been extended to parts of Cambodia and Vietnam where the number of children orphaned by AIDS is on the rise and 95 percent of all HIV infections are among people between the ages of 15 and 49.
Through the Zambia Community Radio Project, EDC is partnering with such radio stations and other local non-governmental and community-based development organizations to create a series of village-based radio programs entitled Our Village.
This pilot project is designed to gauge the success of applying a versatile video compact disc (VCD) technology to meet critical learning needs of young girls who cross the Mekong in search of a more exciting and financially rewarding life in Thailand.
This article is excerpted from Rigor,
Collaboration, and Care: Two Decades of HIV/AIDS Prevention Research (2003),
produced by EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs. It describes
the development of culturally sensitive educational videos that have
produced positive behavior changes among African American and Latino
men and women.
While HIV/AIDS and hunger have taken a huge toll on teachers, students, and families in Zambia, EDC is supporting a growing network of community learning centers that bring education to areas without formal schools. The 300-plus centers are run by unpaid mentors using lessons delivered via radio to groups of young people gathered in homes, backyards, churches, or cement-block classrooms.
Community service programs—when combined with curriculum—not only promote community values and good citizenship, they may also protect students from risky health behaviors during adolescence. When New York City middle school students’ community service work (three hours per week) was combined with health instruction, both their violent behavior and their high-risk sexual activity dropped significantly.
Education and social marketing initiatives have proven to be effective prevention strategies in several African nations. Building on successful school-based prevention efforts in the United States, EDC/HHD is collaborating with other international organizations to enlist African teachers in the fight against AIDS.
"Schools without teachers, orphans without school fees, communities without functioning schools." That’s how EDC’s Michael Laflin describes the current state of education in many African countries, where the HIV/AIDS epidemic is decimating families and social systems. In Zambia, teachers are dying faster than teachers’ colleges can produce them.