31.01.2010 -

UNESCO enhances capacities of HIV/AIDS focal points in teachers colleges

Fourteen teachers’ colleges benefit from skills and knowledge sharing.

Twenty-eight HIV and AIDS focal points from 14 teachers colleges around Zimbabwe benefitted from a capacity development workshop supported by the UNESCO office in Harare held from28 August to 1 September, 2009.  Facilitated by the Zimbabwe National Commission for UNESCO, the workshop was held at the Kadoma Hotel and Conference Centre.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, Honourable Tapela, officially opened the workshop.

The workshop sought to enhance the capacities of the teachers colleges’ HIV and AIDS focal persons in identifying and addressing new trends in HIV and AIDS as part of strengthening the institutions’ response to the pandemic within the context of sustainable development.  In particular the workshop focused on areas such as key drivers of HIV and AIDS and the implications of this for college programmes; psycho-social support and basic counseling techniques; positive living strategies;  strengthening of  support groups within teachers’ colleges; gender and HIV and AIDS; and how to deal with stigma and discrimination, among other topics.

The workshop, which was held within the framework of EDUCAIDS, also identified common challenges faced by teachers’ colleges in responding to the pandemic and these included:

  • Access to up to date information and other resource materials, including lack of Internet access for most of the colleges
  • Inadequate resources which affect areas such as training, awareness raising, monitoring of affected and infected student teachers practicing in the field, nutrition, production of materials/handouts within the colleges, among others
  • Lack of skills in some key areas such as counseling and broader psychosocial support
  • Stigma and discrimination
  • High staff turnover and subsequent manpower shortages
  • Water shortages in some areas
  • Lack of adequate support by college administrators and managers
  • Lack of medical support and ARVs

The four-day workshop created considerable time and space for the focal points to network and share experiences.    

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