Peer Education Programme

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In 2009, the project began to support HIV prevention activities in Changarawe through the establishment of a Peer Education Programme. The decision to engage in this area came from the needs and expressed desire of the local community. While the national HIV prevalence rate in Tanzania is around 6% (UNAIDS, 2009), local estimates in Morogoro indicate a significantly higher prevalence (11% in 2008).

Villagers in Changarawe have been particularly affected by the epidemic due to the presence of a university as well as Changarawe’s location on a major travel route. The staff and trustees are acutely aware of the number of orphans and families participating in Project activities who are affected by HIV/AIDS.

The Programme began with the training of students from Mongola Secondary School, as well as a number of community members. Participants learned about the transmission, prevention, treatment and care of HIV/AIDS, as well as other sexually transmitted infections. They learned about the main drivers of the epidemic in Tanzania and ways of communicating information through theatre.

Since 2009, the group of committed peer educators have broadened their subject matter to include a number of key health, lifestyle and social responsibility messages, and they conduct regular educational performances at schools and community events. Jonas coordinates their activities and organises travel, costumes and props. The peer educators, many of whom are members of the Nigel Lloyd Orphan Programme, have displayed incredible talent and creativity.

The peer educators have also been trained in home-based counselling, and support the CDTFN staff in paying home-visits to families affected by HIV. As well as counselling families on proper care and nutrition, these visits help to reduce the stigma often felt by HIV sufferers within the community.