Providing HIV services to 20,000 Cameroonian youth

 
$29,624
$20,376
Raised
Remaining

For over half a decade, EFA International has responded to its mission of promoting the successful future of young men and women who are touched by HIV. We are grateful to donors like you for the financial support that has enabled recent successes in our three core program areas:

  • 9 HIV-positive associations throughout the Far North of Cameroon received professional skills support.
  • 38 new peer educators were trained in HIV prevention education and community mobilization.
  • 8,000 community members were reached by 50 peer educators trained in sexual and gender-based violence prevention and gender equality through a TrustAfrica grant.
  • 18,600 men, women, and youth received prevention education messages during 129 outreach sessions in communities vulnerable to HIV and AIDS due to low levels of education, socioeconomic status, and gender dynamics.

  • Helped EFA-supported associations conduct profitable and productive income generating activities, with funding through the UNDP.
  • Supported Circle of Love, a program for vulnerable HIV-positive women to cover costs and improve access to necessary medical diagnostics related to their HIV status.
  • Worked closely with the regional directorate of the Ministry of Health, where EFA-supported associations are building partnerships with local health centers to ensure the quality and continuum of care provided to people living with HIV/AIDS.

 

  • Our technical assistants supported new associations to better manage their activities and guided their integration into the Youth Empowerment Network.
  • Our Coordination Committee continued to serve as an important advocacy and exchange forum for young people living with HIV in the region.
  • Our Youth Empowerment Network expanded across Northern Cameroon with 4 new groups established or in training in 2011.

 

Peer educators

 

Annual Report

Download the 2011 Annual Report (PDF) to learn more about EFA's recent accomplishments, including:

  • Building capacity and professional skills for youth associations
  • Expanding HIV peer education
  • Reaching out to communities
  • Income generating activities
  • Creating a multimedia resource center

Links:

On Tuesday’s plenary session at the International AIDS Conference, Phil Wilson of the Black AIDS Institute talked about the need for an “army of patient navigators,” people who provide the critical connection between HIV-affected individuals and life-saving health and social services.

As a Peace Corps volunteer working in Northern Cameroon, I came to know a timid collection of youth who believed that their HIV diagnosis was a death sentence. In addition to facing the stigma surrounding HIV, they must overcome the burdens of poverty, limited literacy, and in most cases being a woman in a conservatively Muslim society.  

Under the shade of a neem tree, they questioned the possibility of their dreams. How long could they live? Should they invest in going to school? Could they ever hope to have a family someday?

Antoinette, shy and tall, spoke of how her husband accused her of bringing HIV to their marriage and abandoned her.

Yaya had been left to die in an isolated room of his family’s compound because his family did not know about life-saving drugs.

Aïssatou is a widow and mother of three, struggling to provide for her children. 

Six years later: through education and empowerment, these young people and dozens more like them have been transformed into dynamic, awe-inspiring front line health workers!  

Peer educators Katerine, Aïssatou, and Doudou support their communities and each other in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Maroua, CameroonFirst, they gained the knowledge to manage their own health and live positively. Then, they received a comprehensive HIV peer education training, and became armed with communication and leadership skills to educate others in their communities about HIV and AIDS. 

Now these HIV-positive young people reach out to the most vulnerable in their communities. They are uniting in solidarity to face down stigma and providing home-based care as well as psychosocial and financial support to HIV-affected families. They are partnering with the Ministry of Health’s regional directorate and district-level health facilities to ensure that people living with HIV have good relationships with the doctors and nurses there in order to access higher quality preventive care, CD4 tests, and ARVs.  
 
Antoinette recently gave birth to an HIV-negative baby and works as a social worker to ensure that HIV-affected families access the government’s social protection programs. 

Yaya is now on ARVs and has been trained in gender-based violence. He works with men to consider their role in negotiating sexual partnerships and condom use to prevent HIV transmission.   

Aïssatou can now pay for her children to attend school because she is healthy. She was awarded a scholarship from UNFPA and promotes prevention of mother-to-child transmission in her community.  She also travels over bumpy roads to the border town of Kousseri to train sex workers on how to get tested and become peer educators and promoters of safe sex. 

These peer educators are the missing link between communities and health care services. They are cost-effective and they promote social accountability. As so eloquently stated by the speakers at Tuesday’s session on health workers, these armies of patient navigators, peer educators, and front line health workers will play a key role in turning the tide on the AIDS epidemic.  
 
Full disclosure: I am the chair of the Board of Directors for Education Fights AIDS (EFA) International, the organization that provides the capacity-building services described.

Photo 1 courtesy of Rachel Deussom. Photo 2: Peer educators Katerine, Aïssatou, and Doudou support their communities and each other in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Maroua, Cameroon. © Rachel Hoy Deussom/EFA International

Links:

Alim, Peer Education Training of Trainers, 2012
Alim, Peer Education Training of Trainers, 2012

June 27th is National HIV Testing Day in the United States.

Too many people don't know they have HIV. According to the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, nearly 1.2 million people are living with HIV, and almost one in five don't know they are infected. This means that they are more likely to unknowingly pass HIV to others.

Getting tested is the first step to living a healthier life. If you have HIV, getting medical care and taking medicines regularly helps you live a longer, healthier life and also lowers the chances of passing HIV on to others.

The message for achieving an HIV-generation remains the same, whether in America, Africa or anywhere else in the world: "Take the test, take control."

This is exactly the message that EFA's peer educators are sharing throughout Northern Cameroon. We are striving to make sure that this message reaches everyone by increasing access to our HIV prevention peer education program. Since our Training of Trainers sessions in early 2012, EFA's Regional Office has consolidated the training modules so that they can be taught to all 150+ members of the EFA Youth Empowerment Network over the coming years. They will in turn be empowered with accurate information that is key for all community members, especially young people, to take charge of their lives by taking an HIV test. 

The need for HIV prevention information in communities throughout Northern Cameroon is so high. EFA's technical assistants and peer educators are working very hard to meet this demand, but require additional resources to get the job done. 

Consider supporting EFA's peer education program so that we may achieve an HIV-free generation. It starts with knowing that you have to "take the test to take control!"

Pelehem, EFA Technical Assistant, 2012
Pelehem, EFA Technical Assistant, 2012

Links:

Peer education trainers in Maroua
Peer education trainers in Maroua


Education, in particular HIV/AIDS education, is the cornerstone of EFA’s strategy to improve the condition of life for the associations and members of our Youth Empowerment Network. Peace Corps Volunteer Caitlyn Bradburn paved the way when she created the Peer Education program. The Peer Education program was designed to give association members, regardless of previous education, monetary situation, or ability to read or write, the opportunity to not only educate themselves on HIV and AIDS, but to serve as educators for their peers also infected or affected by HIV and AIDS in their community. It sought to empower our members to not only live positively themselves,but to promote positive living and reduce stigma and discrimination in their communities. Caitlyn, Alim, and Amada served as the new program trainers.

 
When I arrived as the next Peace Corps Volunteer to serve with EFA International, it was clear this program was a huge success. Members felt empowered and attitudes and behaviors of both HIV-positive and HIV-negative people in the community were changing. I thought to myself: this is great, but how can it be better? I realized, the previous Volunteer had created this empowering and effective program, but now my role was to make it sustainable, to make it EFA’s program and not the Volunteer’s.

 
I approached Alim and Amada, the trusty and dedicated staff of the regional office in Cameroon with an idea... what if we trained existing motivated and talented Peer Educators as volunteer program trainers? Though they thought the task would be difficult, they were immediately on board. What better way to further empower EFA Youth Empowerment Network members? What better way to ensure that the program can and will exist without a Peace Corps Volunteer?

 
With the help of star Peer Educator/Trainer Pehlem Therese, whose excellence and passion for peer education had actually already secured her as a Peer Education trainer, I set off to design my project and with the support from a VAST/PEPFAR grant and contributions from EFA International, including those from Global Giving. My project began in late November 2011.

 
Candidates for the new trainer position underwent a preliminary application and testing process, from which we selected four Peer Educators to continue on to the training round. These four candidates then participated in an 8-day intensive Training of Trainers, which included identifying training needs, facilitation, and leadership techniques. Finally,all the candidates gained practical experience by serving as the lead trainers in an actual EFA Peer Education cycle for members of AJUBS Kousseri under my supervision and the supervision of Pehlem and Amada. Even though the project was long and difficult, watching the improvement of these four candidates from the initial interview process to the final trainings they delivered has beeninspiring. In addition, seeing Pehlem continue her personal and professional growth and rise to the challenge of being a leader has been one of the greatest highlights of my service. Not only have they all succeeded themselves, but they successfully trained 8 new peer educators in Kousseri, a training success rateof 80 percent with the highest average post-training test score of any PeerEducation cycle and EFA’s first post-test score of 100%!


I am so proud to announce EFA International Cameroon’s five volunteer Peer Education Trainers, who successfully completed their training and practical in March 2012:


Pehlem Therese, AJEPS Maroua
Asta Madeline, AJEPS Maroua
Salihou, ASSYSGOD Godola
Aissatou Moussa, AJUBS Kousseri
Henriette Maidouwe, AJUBS Kousseri

 
Please join me in congratulating their hard work and welcoming them to the EFA team! This success is due not only to their hard work, but also to the generous support of Global Giving donors like you. Please help EFA to continue this positive momentum!

Salihou prepares his presentation
Salihou prepares his presentation
Peer education trainers awarded certificates!
Peer education trainers awarded certificates!

Links:

World AIDS Day 2011 activities in Maroua
World AIDS Day 2011 activities in Maroua

"Treatment or prevention?"

In the absence of a cure for HIV, for the past 30 years this question has been the center of debate. For those of us who have dedicated our lives to the fight against AIDS, recent research has given us a glimmer of hope—and may have finally ended this debate.

In May, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released results from the HPTN 052 study which indicate that putting an HIV-positive person on treatment as soon as HIV infection was detected reduced the risk of them transmitting the virus to their sexual partners by 96%. Ninety-six percent. The evidence was so compelling that the trial was actually ended early and results published years before expected. For anyone who has worked in the uncertainty of research, this just doesn’t happen.

EFA’s beneficiaries have experienced these benefits first-hand. Since receiving treatment, their improved health status has empowered them to become HIV advocates, peer educators, and leaders in their communities, gaining the respect of those who once stigmatized them.

On World AIDS Day 2011 and every day, over 50 EFA peer educators conducted community-wide education events in over ten communities. Some members are sitting down with local religious and traditional leaders to explain how they can help achieve an AIDS-free generation. Others are going door-to-door, encouraging people to get tested for HIV at the local health center, and describing why an AIDS-free generation is important to their community.

We have the technology. For the first time ever we can actually see the way forward. We can envision an AIDS-free generation. Not a generation free of HIV, but free of AIDS.

So, forget the debate—treatment IS prevention. Putting people living with HIV on treatment early will not only extend their lives, but will also prevent new HIV infections among their HIV-negative sexual partners.

The tragedy is that this innovative and groundbreaking research comes at a time of declining levels of funding for HIV, of donor “fatigue” for financing national HIV programs, and of re-shifting priorities away from HIV strategies and towards broader health sector initiatives.

The United States government has taken a significant step. During a speech delivered by Secretary Clinton at the National Institutes of Health in November, she re-committed the U.S. government’s development efforts towards supporting the global AIDS response in achieving an AIDS-free generation. It is time for other governments to meet this call.

Through our Peer Education program our members learn the tools they need to stay healthy, live positively, and they receive education on antiretroviral drug adherence and strategies. Our peer education program trains members to go out into their communities and educate others about the basics of HIV transmission and prevention, and the importance of getting tested.

In 2011, our peer educators provided basic HIV education to over 20,000 people, and over 5,000 people were referred to their local health center to get an HIV test.

EFA is doing its part and we would like to graciously thank you for the support you’ve given us through Global Giving. We wouldn’t have made it this far without you, but we’ve still got a long way to go and count on your continued support. 

We are together. Nous sommes ensemble.

modified from an EFA blog published in December 2011.

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

donate now:

Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $25
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $99
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $250
    give
  • $750
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $99
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $250
    each month
    give
  • $750
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Organization

Project Leader

Alim Ousmanou

EFA Country Representative
Maroua, Extreme North Province Cameroon

Where is this project located?

Map of Providing HIV services to 20,000 Cameroonian youth