Providing HIV services to 20,000 Cameroonian youth

by Education Fights AIDS Cameroon

Bonjour les amis

J'ai le plaisir de vous partager le rapport annuel 2011 d'EFA International en francais. Merci a tous ceux qui ont contribué à l'excellent travail et le succès continu de l'EFA International. Nous vous remercions de votre soutien continu. Bientôt, nous allons poster quelques vidéos afin que vous puissiez voir et entendre l'impact positif de votre soutien auprès des membres du réseau Youth Empowerment eux-mêmes. Eux et nous, vous remercie de votre soutien continu. 

Bonne année 2013!

Hello friends,

I am pleased to share with you the 2011 Annual Report of EFA International in French. Thank you to all those who contributed to the excellent work and continued success of EFA International. Soon we will post some videos so you can see and hear the impact of your support from members of the Youth Empowerment Network themselves.  They, and we, thank you for your continued support.

Happy New Year 2013!


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


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


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


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!



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Organization Information

Education Fights AIDS Cameroon

Location: Maroua - Cameroon
Project Leader:
Alim Ousmanou
Maroua, Extreme North Province Cameroon
$43,279 raised of $50,000 goal
586 donations
$6,721 to go
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