Channels of Hope for HIV Facilitator Training

by AIDSLink International
Channels of Hope for HIV Facilitator Training

After 2years of not having a face-to-face Channels of Hope Facilitators Training, in July we as a team of 5 trainers we had a privilege of leading the Channels of Hope Facilitator’s training that was held in central Zimbabwe with the Anglican Diocese. In this team of 5 trainers 2 where from Zimbabwe, our lead trainer came from Austria, one from Zimbabwe and the other one from South Africa. Having local trainers joined our training team was a very encouraging and special time for the training team.

 In this training we had 25 participants mainly all from Zimbabwe and one from Tanzania. Rarely have we seen such a dedicated, enthusiastic, and eager group. Each person is strategic in their local communities, and all are eager to make a difference as they have been empowered to be Transmitters of Hope.

 Participants were challenged in so many areas and a number of them testified as to how they had been deeply impacted through this training! Here are a couple of comments from participants:

                “I fall short of words to thank you enough for the wonderful training. It will remain outstanding in my memory forever!”

 “Of all the workshops/trainings that I have attended, I have never come across such dedicated people like our facilitators! Every meeting was so well prepared and presented. Demonstrated a caring and fluent facilitation spirit!”

 “This training created the zeal and motivation to go out and be Channels of Hope”

One of the things that continuously comes back to my mind ever since this key training is “Now what?”   Now what regarding AIDSLink and Zimbabwe?? There is so much work to be done in our country of Zimbabwe.

 Receiving such feedback from the participants has made this work of doing this training worth it and we are looking forward to many trainings that we can do on a face-to-face basis. We can never be able to run such trainings without the generosity and the support of all our donors and we are very grateful and humbled by that.

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In the past, HIV and AIDS was something which people were scared to talk about and mostly the advocates were motivated by huge salaries and other incentives which was not aligned with serving people who are really affected and infected.

 Our partner organisation from Zambia asked AIDSLink to train their workers who have a passion to serve the community around HIV and AIDS. These workers who came for training where not motivated by salaries but by the need they see in the communities around them.

The training was based on the transformation of the mind and attitude (reset) towards people living with HIV, as we looked on the basic principles of HIV and AIDS. The trainers challenged the participants on how they can be engaged in this task (Restart) and how they can bring a difference in their communities they are living in. Some participants did not know the number of people living with HIV in the world, and it was a shock to many of them when they came to know that more than 37 million people are living with HIV. One participant confessed, ‘we need to refocus our attention to this need.’  It was encouraging to see how these participants were contributing to the class and how they realized the great need which is at their doorstep. The COVID issue was looked at and how it has drawn the attention of everyone and how huge of resources has been given towards that, although some parts of the world the resource was not used properly. The trainers challenged the participants to have the same urgency of overseeing the issue of HIV, then we will see the enormous difference in every community.

At the end of the training the participants recommitted themselves to start mobilizing more people to join on the work of HIV. Some are planning to bring sustainable projects to people who are living with HIV. It was a great excitement to the trainers to see how the participants responded and the interest they showed to this task.

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The number of street children in Zambia has doubled from 35,000 to 75,000 in recent years. This has brought concern to people working with these children. They are very vulnerable to being victims (and perpetrators) of rape and drugs.

The age of children who are found on the street is between 11 to 18, most of them are double orphans. HIV and AIDS is one of the major causes of orphans in Zambia.

The AIDSLink Team in Zambia is partnering with the ministry called ‘Hope on the Streets’ which is training people who are working with children on the street. Hope on the Streets have realized that HIV is also among these children because they are sexually active, so they asked AIDSLink to train their workers on this area.

The trainees were shocked to that the HIV prevalence rate among the young people in Zambia is so high. Some Trainees didn’t have much knowledge about HIV and how it affects the society around them. Upon looking on the basic lessons on HIV and AIDS they were able to appreciate the training and now can engage with children on the street effectively.

Some of the topics which were covered was how HIV attacks the Immune system, The stages of infection, how HIV can be transmitted and how workers may be help people who are living with HIV. It was really encouraging to see how people are passionate to see that the children get the knowledge so that they can change the pattern of their lifestyle.

This training challenged the attitude of the trainees too, and some were able to admit that they have not interacted with the people or children who are living with HIV well in the past. These Trainees confessed that they need to change their attitude because they didn’t know that the Children who are living on the street are also in danger of becoming infected with HIV if they are not taught.

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Despite Covid restrictions, the impact of the CoHOW in participants lives was varied and tremendous. Here are a few quotes from participants who participated primarily from Asian and Africa.

One of the main things we value about the Channel of Hope Facilitator Training/Workshop is the feedback we receive from the participants which help us grow and give an opportunity to improve in areas that needs improvement. 

We decided to share with you all few of the feedbacks we received from the participants. These are from the 3 different CoH online workshop we did for 2021.  

“With so much joy, I accept this certificate.  I have already announced to our CoH networks that we have to re-group and plan our new directions for HIV work...At this point in my CoH journey,  Teenage pregnancy is on the rise in many of our communities and so many cultural, economic and religious issues hinders our efforts to come up with holistic, comprehensive, and multi-sectoral strategy to help PLHIV, and prevent rapid HIV transmission among youth and children.”   

“The sessions confirmed to me that I am more serious about forming a support system!”

“I’m so amazed by the life story of the one who shared his personal journey of living with HIV. It feels like that I got the chance to see firsthand what PLHIV needs and how they also can be channels of hope. Hearing his testimony has been such a blessing for me, make me realize that more PLHIV out there need hope, and we should be the channels of hope.”

“I like how the facilitator challenged us to think how we can help PLHIV and transgender group, knowing the limited sources and organizations to help them. Sometimes we feel like so busy and think that we don’t have time, so we decide to pass them over to someone else. But that day I realized that I need to be involved too, no matter how small it was. Knowing that they trust me to share about their status means they trust that I will help them.”

“This workshop had led me on a more in depth understanding towards PLHIV, be they transgender or people infected with HIV. I would say that I understand their feelings slightly better and brought up certain possible approaches that I could attempt when meeting them”.

“All the sessions were good but what stood out for me this time was the tree of STIGMA. Looking at the roots and the fruits it bears. now I understand why people react differently regarding HIV and AIDS. STIGMA is really a big issue here in Zambia within families and communities.”

We hope to have a face to face Channels of Hope Facilitator Training in the near future. 

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We are longing for the day when we can restart face to face facilitator trainings. However, since that is still not possible we want to share what some of those we have trained in the past are doing.

Angela was trained by AIDSLink and has been involved with AIDSLink Zambia for many years. A few years ago she followed one of the desires of her heart and trained to be a nurse.

It is great to see her back at Kangomba Clinic – in 2015 it was one of the first clinics AIDSLink Zambia partnered with. We dreamt of her going back to the clinic as nurse. Thanks to many people’s investment Angela has achieved just that.

Although all our ministries have been severely restricted by various levels of COVID-19 lockdown we knew that we needed to get involved in caring for the community.

Taking the necessary precautions, we helped with food distribution, delivered people's ART, helped tutor children who were being home schooled, shared COVID-19 prevention information and even ran some open-air HIV and AIDS workshops.

In this way we were able to continue to give information about HIV and also share accurate information on Covid-19, plus making sure everyone had face-masks and providing them if they didn’t (and teaching some people how to make them).

Thanks for your continued support through these difficult days.

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AIDSLink International

Location: Hatfield - South Africa
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Project Leader:
Rosemary Hack
Hatfield, South Africa
$7,350 raised of $25,000 goal
 
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