Channels of Hope for HIV Facilitator Training

by AIDSLink International
Channels of Hope for HIV Facilitator Training

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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As we reported previously the situation with COVID-19 has forced us to move our training online.

However, although we long to get out and do face to face facilitator training again, we are not seeing the online workshops as something we will stop as soon as we can! It is a great avenue to spread knowledge and challenge attitudes around HIV and AIDS, and we find that people are attending these who would never be able to travel or take time out for a regular workshop or facilitator training.

We have now conducted 4 workshops, and 48 people have attended, each group has been very different. 

  • The first was a small pilot group, 
  • the second a large group from Zimbabwe, 
  • the next for medics in SE Asia, 
  • then we did a training for people who were already Channels of Hope Facilitators in order to show them how to deliver the content online,
  • and we have another coming up very soon for Zimbabwe. 

We hope to do a workshop for our trained facilitators in Latin America too. So that they can learn to present online and then go on to run online workshops themselves in Spanish and Portuguese.

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In September we conducted our first AIDSLink Channels of Hope Online Workshop. 

Largely due to the CoVid 19 circumstances we were ‘forced’ to consider other ways of still making a difference. We are grateful for this developing avenue of being able to empower people across the globe. We had participants from Zimbabwe, Bahrain, Nepal, Myanmar and the Philippines.  

As a result of this course, we now have requests for more trainings from people and groups in various parts of the world.

We began our course with an orientation session and pre-training assignments where the participants were required to do research regarding HIV and AIDS in their respective countries.

Our 10 hour course consisted of 3 two hour sessions. After each online session participants had home assignments to work on and submit before the next session.

Here are some of comments from participants:

  • I have been so positively reinforced!
  • I became aware of my own judgements or ways in which I stigmatize.
  • The content of this workshop is Excellent!
  • I am amazed at how personal and how much ‘heart’ could be in an online workshop!

One of the most powerful comments in the overall feedback came from a participant in Zimbabwe.  His very compelling closing line says it all:

“HOPE is all that we have!”

As Channels of Hope Facilitators, we are tremendously encouraged with how this online course impacted participants to the point of realizing that we all can be Channels of Hope!

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AIDSLink International

Location: Hatfield - South Africa
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Project Leader:
Rosemary Hack
Hatfield , South Africa
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