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Aug 7, 2006

Anglicans take active stance on AIDS education

Story PictureOn the heels of last month’s initiative by the Belize Council of Churches, one its members–the Anglicans–have made their own commitment to fighting the AIDS epidemic. News Five’s Kendra Griffith has the story.

Kendra Griffith, Reporting
Armed with funding from the Episcopal Relief and Development office in the United States, today the Anglican Diocese officially launched its HIV/AIDS Education Project.

Carol Babb, General Manager, Anglican Schools
?HIV and AIDS is a terrible disease and it has affected our country, especially our young people. And as a church, we feel that we need to play a role too in the helping of prevention of this dreadful disease.?

The diocese plans to educate staff, teachers, students, and parents on how to reduce their risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and preventing stigma and discrimination.

Carol Babb
?Right now we are training the teachers. Then after that we will go into the schools to see how well they are implementing the knowledge and strategies that they have learnt. And if we need to do any revisiting of any training then we?ll do that.?

Kendra Griffith
?This will be done as a separate subject, or will it be integrated into a subject already in the class??

Carol Babb
?It will be integrated with the social studies, science, and even in the other subject areas like language arts.?

Kendra Griffith
?But how will the church deal with the sticky subject of condom use??

Carol Babb
?We have to mention the use of condoms, but definitely we are going to promote abstinence.?

The training will be conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, through its Health and Family Life Education Unit.

Sherlene Neal Tablada, HFLE Officer, Min. of Education
?Teachers will then be provided with a tool kit for implementation of HIV/AIDS education, which will have basic things like information, sample lesson plans, teaching/learning materials, such as posters flip charts and relevant publications. So they will be given information that they can use in the classroom. The project is not occurring in isolation. This is a part of health and family life and it falls under the sexuality and sexual health component of the curriculum, where HIV/AIDS is a component. So it?s not like we just picked out some things out of the air. It?s already there in the curriculum, and so this is just to support that component of the curriculum.?

Combined with the overall efforts of the Belize Council of Churches, this latest initiative has those involved in combating HIV optimistic about the future.

Jose Coye, Minister of Health
?I commend you very much, and I wish you the success. I believe you are on the right track. We will overcome, we can conquer it. It is in this kind of forum that we will build the militia and build the army in the fight against AIDS.?

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Chair, National AIDS Commission
?The church has an extremely important role to play. We are not expecting that every single church denomination might embrace every single means of prevention or every kind of intervention. But when we work together, if you stress what the left hand can do, I can stress what the right hand can do; ultimately when we put it all together, we see that we have a very encouraging picture.?

Carol Babb
?We hope that at the end of this training, and working with the students and providing them with the materials, that definitely we will help to decrease the incidences of HIV and AIDS.?

The pilot phase of the project is expected to last nine months and includes one secondary and six primary schools, one hundred and forty-two teachers, twenty-nine hundred students, and eighteen hundred parents.

Kendra Griffith reporting for News Five.

The schools involved in the pilot phase are All Saints, Queen’s Square, and Anglican Cathedral College in Belize City; St. Peter’s in Orange Walk; St. Andrew’s in Cayo; St. John’s Memorial in Placencia; Dangriga’s Christ the King; and from the Belize River Valley, St. Thomas Primary.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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