Frequently Asked Questions about EDUCAIDS
1. What is EDUCAIDS?
EDUCAIDS, the Global Initiative on Education and HIV & AIDS, is a UNAIDS initiative led by UNESCO. EDUCAIDS seeks to encourage and support countries to mobilize the education sector to design and implement effective responses to HIV and AIDS.
EDUCAIDS has two main goals: to prevent the spread of HIV through education, and to protect the core functions of education systems from the worst effects of the epidemic.
EDUCAIDS supports the implementation of comprehensive responses at country level, by mobilising partnerships, building capacities, and supporting the sector to generate resources. It also offers technical support to guide the overall response. Technical assistance is provided through the EDUCAIDS Framework for Action which recommends specific interventions across the five essential components of a comprehensive education sector response to HIV and AIDS. For more information, see the EDUCAIDS Resource Pack (available in all six official UN languages and Portuguese).
EDUCAIDS is neither a programme nor a project; it is an approach to guide actions that are planned and delivered in partnerships.
2. Why is the role of the education sector critical for effective national responses to HIV and AIDS?
There is still no vaccine for HIV; there is still no cure for AIDS. With an estimated 6,800 people newly infected with HIV every day, education must be at the forefront of any response to HIV and AIDS. Education can impart knowledge, positive attitudes, behaviours and skills that will reduce a person’s chance of getting HIV. Schools (including institutions of higher learning) have taken a central role in HIV prevention efforts because they are an effective way to reach large numbers of young people. Progress is being made, but national education sectors need to accelerate and expand their pivotal role. In this context, EDUCAIDS promotes, strengthens and supports the scale-up of effective national education sector responses to HIV and AIDS.
3. What is the timeframe for implementing EDUCAIDS?
EDUCAIDS operates in the context of the internationally agreed targets of achieving Universal Access to HIV and AIDS-related prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010, and halting and reversing the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2015 (Millennium Development Goal 6). Within this timeframe, each country participating in EDUCAIDS must formulate an education sector response, based on the specific situation and needs, the nature and severity of the epidemic, the availability of resources and partners, etc.
4. What makes EDUCAIDS different from other HIV- and AIDS- related initiatives?
EDUCAIDS draws together the many different dimensions of effective education sector responses to HIV and AIDS - for example, quality education on HIV and AIDS, learning materials, workplace policies, teacher education programmes on HIV, etc. - and views the impacts and challenges of HIV and AIDS in relation to the whole education system. These multiple dimensions are captured in the five essential components that all need to be in place for implementing an effective and comprehensive education sector response. For example, teacher training on HIV and AIDS will be more effective if it is supported by quality curricula. Likewise, teacher training and supporting curricula will more likely be sustained if they are incorporated into a national education sector policy on HIV and AIDS. There are many projects and programmes that address education and HIV & AIDS; but these often focus on one particular aspect (e.g. teacher training) or are undertaken in isolation, i.e. on a project-by-project basis, resulting in limited or short-lived responses.
5. What is the role of UNESCO and other UN agencies under the EDUCAIDS Initiative?
As the UN agency specialised in education and a UNAIDS Cosponsor, UNESCO has been designated as the lead agency in the field of HIV prevention for young people in educational institutions. While EDUCAIDS is led by UNESCO, its success largely depends on the effective collaboration of various key stakeholders such as governments and national AIDS authorities, civil society organizations, teacher unions, networks of people living with HIV, and bilateral and multilateral agencies, including other UN agencies and programmes. Through the implementation of the EDUCAIDS Framework for Action, UNESCO and key partners promote greater collaboration and coordination among national organisations working on education and HIV & AIDS, and provide technical assistance to build capacities and implement national programmes. In the context of the “delivering as one UN” approach at country level, UNESCO and other UN agencies bring together their respective mandates and fields of expertise to realise the success of this interagency initiative.
6. Does EDUCAIDS support individuals?
EDUCAIDS promotes, develops and supports the work of organisations and institutions, not individuals.
7. How does EDUCAIDS work at country level?
EDUCAIDS is mobilizing partnerships and resources through coordination mechanisms at country level, under the leadership of national authorities. For examples of EDUCAIDS activities at country level, see the Country Profiles.
8. Is EDUCAIDS a funding source?
EDUCAIDS in itself is neither a pool of funds nor a funding source. However, UNESCO and its partners, through EDUCAIDS, promote and assist in the mobilisation of funds at global, regional, and country levels. A particular focus within the EDUCAIDS Framework for Action is the development of well-defined and costed action plans, and their integration into pre-existing funding mechanisms, coordinated at country level.
9. Which are the 'EDUCAIDS Countries' and what criteria exist for a country to be eligible under EDUCAIDS?
For a full list of the 53 countries currently involved in EDUCAIDS, click here.
Efforts are geared primarily towards developing countries that are the most affected by the HIV epidemic. However, since HIV and AIDS unevenly affect countries and populations worldwide, all countries requesting technical support to strengthen and expand their education sector’s response to HIV and AIDS are eligible for support under the EDUCAIDS Framework for Action, and within the available resources.
There are thus no set criteria for a country to be involved in the initiative. Rather, EDUCAIDS supports Member States to implement nationally-driven responses within and through the education sector, in collaboration with key stakeholders at country level, including ministries in charge of education, the national AIDS authority, civil society groups and other key institutions such as teacher unions, networks of people living with HIV, parent teachers associations, schools, youth and community learning centres, and teacher education colleges.
10. How can I become an EDUCAIDS partner organisation?
Within the Framework of Action for EDUCAIDS, UNESCO is partnering with several donors and implementing agencies worldwide, including private organizations, foundations, governments, civil society organizations and technical institutions working in the field of or supporting development, education and/or HIV and AIDS. Should your organization be willing to contribute to the implementation of EDUCAIDS and be committed to a comprehensive education sector response to HIV and AIDS, please contact UNESCO in your country of residence.
For more information, please contact aids(at)unesco.org.