In the dry, northern region of Ghana in the district of Tolon-Kumbungu, four teen girls laugh and giggle near a rainwater harvesting tank.
The girls just finished another workshop on HIV/AIDS prevention and many of the students are very enthusiastic about what they have learned.
"I used to shy away from discussing HIV/AIDS issues, but now with the sensitizing in our school, I am now confident in telling others about it," says Fati, 16. "I learned that we need to stick with the ABC key lessons of HIV/AIDS which is Abstinence, Being faithful, and Condom use."
People in Ghana are concerned about HIV/AIDS because it has caused much pain and suffering and has left many children orphaned. Those who live with HIV/AIDS do not openly discuss it, as they fear the negative treatment they may receive from others. Though the area around Tolon has a reported HIV/AIDS prevalence rate that equals the national average of 1.5%, Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC) is improving HIV/AIDS education in the area to ensure that communities do not relapse. In addition to raising awareness in schools and general community education, CCFC has been providing nutritional supplements to those living with HIV/AIDS who are currently taking anti-retroviral therapy.
In addition, the Ghana AIDS Commission and CCFC are implementing a joint project called, "Creating Awareness and Changing Behaviours Towards Reducing HIV/AIDS Impact." The project involves: peer education in institutions such as schools and learning centres; distributing HIV/AIDS educational materials; and coordinating stigma reduction activities through drama, videos, and songs. The project will be complete in December 2013 and aims to reach about 14,000 youth and 17,000 adults in five districts in the northern region of Ghana.
"CCFC's work in HIV/AIDS education is helping our community – particularly the youth," says Mr. Alhassan, a parent committee chairman in Tolon. "We hope this will continue to help us drastically reduce the handwriting of HIV/AIDS in our community."
CCFC has a history of helping individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS. CCFC has provided life-saving anti-retroviral drug therapy free of charge to nearly 10,000 adults and children living with HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia who otherwise could not afford the $500 per year treatment cost. The service has saved thousands of children and their families. Currently, community teachings on HIV/AIDS take place around a traditional Ethiopian coffee drinking ceremony which provides opportunities for women to discuss pertinent health issues such as HIV/AIDS and the spread of other communicable diseases. Even taboo subjects in the community such as reducing stigma attached to HIV/AIDS are discussed.
Support our current efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS. Help us build three health facilities in Ethiopia to provide HIV-positive pregnant women with anti-retroviral therapy. Your contribution will help prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child. Contact Emily Dawson at 1-800-263-5437 ext. 525 or email email@example.com. This Christmas, you can also stock a maternal health clinic with life-saving supplies through our gift catalogue.