25.04.2012 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Supporting teachers infected and affected by HIV in West and Central Africa

© UNESCO/Carl Ampah

In West and Central Africa, Ministries of Education, teachers’ unions, and associations of teachers’ living with HIV can play an important role in supporting infected and affected teachers.

A meeting in Accra, Ghana from 24-26 April 2012 will look at strengthening teachers’ role in contributing to prevention efforts in the region. It will also examine how to create effective policies and programmes that will support teachers living with HIV.

Policies not always implemented

"Many countries have HIV policies in place in the education sector but these policies are not always implemented," says Ulla Kalha, Coordinator for West and Central Africa at UNESCO's Regional Office in Dakar.

The meeting is co-organized by UNESCO (Accra and Dakar), the Ministries of Education, ILO, the World Bank, UNAIDS, WHO, Education International (EI), and  Partnership for Child Development.

 It will bring together existing national associations of teachers infected and affected by HIV in the region, HIV focal points of the Ministries of Education, teachers’ unions and key national and international stakeholders.

Need inclusive AIDS responses

"It is critical that AIDS responses in the education sector are inclusive of the different stakeholders that operate in the sector, to ensure that the needs of different beneficiaries are considered," says Kalha.

"Institutional frameworks as well as concrete actions need to be put in place with clear roles established at country and regional level," she adds.

Ms Kahla points out that West and Central Africa, for example, has a number of post-conflict/in-conflict countries that require specific attention and response.

Plan of action

Through stock-taking of past initiatives and practices, the meeting will:

  1. Establish a plan of action highlighting areas of work between teachers' unions, Ministries of Education and HIV positive teachers’ associations,
  2. Develop a policy framework on HIV  in the education sector aimed at protecting the rights of teachers infected and affected by HIV  in West and Central Africa,
  3. Create sub-regional network of associations of teachers living with HIV.

Sharing experiences

The meeting will adopt a mix of experience sharing, case studies and working groups. The focus will be on:

  • Analysis of the existing support and needs related to teachers infected and affected by HIV in West and Central Africa,
  • Review of existing  workplace policies  and programmes in the education sector,
  • Analysis of the roles and responsibilities of the key stakeholders in West and Central Africa.



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