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Mar 30, 2007

Anglican HIV/AIDS project dubbed a success

Story PictureLast June, the Anglican diocese of Belize launched a pilot project in one high school and seven primary institutions to incorporate an HIV/AIDS education programme into their curriculum. Today News Five’s Kendra Griffith received a status report from administrators.

Kendra Griffith, Reporting
This morning teachers from seven Anglican institutions were getting schooled in HIV as part of the third phase of their pilot project.

Michelle Elliott, Programme Coord., Anglican Diocese
“Since the curriculum focus on age appropriateness education, the Health and Family Life suggestion was that good touch and bad touch is taught within their division. So here at this workshop we are using the good touch and bad touch campaign to incorporate along with HIV education.”

“They are not going to be talking about maybe sexual transmissions and so, but they are going to know the basic concepts and knowledge of HIV/AIDS and different values, such as decision making, problem solving that will later on equip then to make correct decisions.”

At a ceremony today all eight of the participating institutions shared their project ideas.

Michelle Elliott
“The action plans features the students working along with the community and not only within the school. By working within the community they get to reach their neighbours, they get to reach parents, friends. So the school works in collaboration with other NGOs such as B.F.L.A., National AIDS Commission, Alliance Against AIDS, and these NGOs offer resource personnel to the schools. The schools then use the resource personnel and take the ideas to the community. The children do parades, they do parent education sessions, they also go and do home visits, and make donations towards the different HIV and AIDS causes.”

The pilot project has impacted approximately two thousand primary and high school students and a hundred teachers.

Carol Babb, Manager, Anglican Schools
“It’s been received well. I have comments from parents that their children are coming home to them and telling them what they should do to protect themselves from getting HIV and AIDS, visitors who go to our schools are very impressed with what they are seeing and all the posters and the activities and the HIV/AIDS Awareness Corners in our schools, so I think it’s received very, very well.”

As part of their activities, the diocese held a poster and poetry competition. The winning design was submitted by seven standard four students of Queen Square Anglican School. Today the kids told us how they “Choose your Road.”

Denille Neal, Winner, Poster Competition
“From my teacher who teach us health science. We took everything out of our books and each one of us put together some ideas and said, you know something, it’s best we just get all our ideas together and put it on the poster.”

Kendra Griffith
“And when you all found out that you won, how did you feel?”

Denille Neal
“Like me, I went around telling everybody I won.”

Kendra Griffith
“How about you, how did you feel?”

Andrea Silva, Winner, Poster Contest
“Happy, because we didn’t believe that we were going to come in first and so we were very happy.”

Carol Babb
“We are going to mass produce that poster. We are going to put a huge billboard in our Cathedral’s yard, St. John’s Cathedral and we are hoping that the entire populace will make the right choice, will choose the right road, which means to be faithful, to be tested and to stick to one partner.”

Standard Six student at St. Andrew’s School in San Ignacio, Kenron Requeña took the top prize in the poetry competition for his verse titled: HIV/AIDS What If?

Kenron Requeña, Winner Poetry Contest
“My family motivated me to write a poem to submit to the school to encourage all the HIV positive [people] to remember something that some people are thinking of them and hope that they will not be discouraged.”

The pilot project comes to an end in May, but the administrators are hoping that they’ll be able to access funding to implement the initiative in all twenty-two Anglican schools in the country.

Carol Babb
“Our funders came down and they were very pleased with what they have seen and they have already given us the go ahead to submit the other proposal to roll over to all the other Anglican schools.”

Funding is being sought from the Episcopal Relief and Development Centre in the United States. Kendra Griffith reporting for News Five.

The Episcopal Relief and Development Centre financed the pilot project. The Anglicans are hoping they’ll be able to roll out the expanded initiative in time for the next school year.

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