Churches, Channels of Hope is a comprehensive prgramme for HIV competence in Christian Communities.The CABSA Churches, Channel of Hope programme is a key element of CABSA's work.
CABSA believes churches are ideally positioned to be HIV competent and caring Christian communities, ministering reconciliation and hope in a world with HIV.
You can read more about the CABSA Churches, Channels of Hope programme in this section.
However, individuals, young people and other faith communities can also be channels of hope! You can read more about CABSA's programme to empower individuals here.
The purpose of this program is to equip participants with the appropriate attitudes, knowledge and skills to be channels of hope and assist faith communities in their journeys towards HIV competence.
The CABSA Churches, Channels of Hope programme also offers tools to help churches and communities respond to the needs created by HIV and AIDS. These tools include training that equips participants to run two or three day CABSA Churches, Channels of Hope workshops in their communities.
The successful participant would be:
The ideal candidate:
The CABSA Churches, Channels of Hope programme is grounded in the following guiding principles:
Theme 1: HIV and AIDS and Me:
Theme 2: HIV and AIDS -Information that empowers:
Theme 3: Living with HIV
Theme 4: Christian Response
Theme 5: Towards HIV competent faith communities
A wide variety of learning methods are used that are based on the principle of experiential learning. These methods include: Group participation, Group debates and discussions, Mini lectures, Hypothetical scenarios and role plays, Demonstrations, Individual and personal activities and reflection, Group activities, Games, Pictures, DVDs, Storytelling and sharing experiences.
The CABSA Churches, Channels of hope programme forms an integral part of CABSA's strategy to mobilise and assist faith communities to become HIV competent. Therefore trained facilitators are expected to commit to a lifestyle that will challenge inaction, wrong information, unhealthy attitudes and stigma.
Facilitators are challenged to become channels of hope in their own communities and churches, and to actively work towards building a caring and responsible faith community.
On completion of the course, facilitators will become part of the CABSA facilitator family and will receive basic mentoring from CABSA for a minimum period of five years after the training.
This training program is very intensive and stretches over seven days. The long hours and amount of homework and preparations requires in-house training. Training normally starts on a Monday at lunch time and finishes on Sunday at lunch time.
Ideal group size
Participants will be evaluated on the following aspects:
Assessment will be based on two facilitation sessions of each participant, three written papers and the completion of an assignment.
Each participant receives:
The Christian AIDS Bureau is a non-profit organisation that strives to make training accessible, but is constrained by the availability of funding and donations. The cost of each training is therefore negotiated individually and depends on various factors. The average amount is R7400 per person. Candidates are invited to apply for subsidies, when available.
For more information please contact Aneleh Fourie Le Roux at email@example.com or +27 (0)83 292 5358.
Regardless of the limited available resources for mentoring, it remains a priority for CABSA to keep contact with trained facilitators and offer as much support as possible to strengthen their efforts as channels of hope as they embark on the often difficult process of mobilising churches and communities.
Why introduce a mentor programme?
One of the most important lessons that CABSA has learned since the introduction of the CABSA Churches, Channels of Hope programme, is that the training in itself is not sufficient to support and empower facilitators to be channels of hope in their different communities. Once facilitators arrive back home, they may experience many challenges and difficulties that could discourage them.
From the feedback we received from trained facilitators in the past we have learnt that:
CABSA is convinced that in order to assist and support facilitators to have an improved impact on their communities and churches, a mentoring programme is essential. We thus made the decision to actively commit ourselves to promote the relationship between CABSA and “Churches, Channels of Hope” facilitators. With this mentoring programme we want to complement the initial training.
You can meet CABSA's Rgional Representatives, responsible for mentoring and various other functions in their area, here.
We do not have reports of all the early trainings - but we will add a photo gallery of all the groups trainined soon!
Web report for KIMIAD TTF 17-23 October 2012
This TTF between AIDSLink and CABSA was really a dream come true as we are always excited when we co-host trainings with our partner organisations. We started praying and trusting God for many blessings for the training. We were trusting God for the right people with right attitudes to attend the training and also for a strong and capable training team. What a blessing it was to have a training team that was focused and very united in everything we did.
All the planning and preparation went as planned and we were grateful to AIDSLink who did all the ground work including that of booking the venue and making sure that all the logistics for this training were taken care of.
The training started with everyone being in high spirits as the training team assembled already on Tuesday afternoon for all the preparations. When Wednesday came and all participants had arrived our journey together with them had begun.
We had a very diverse group of individuals coming from different parts of the world, with AIDSLink and CABSA having recruited 15 participants and three training team members each. The mixes of the culture, age, experience was evident in the group as we all learned from one another and just experience each other’s world views. The group was firm and knowledgeable yet everyone was open to new learning and allowed their attitudes and mindsets to be challenged. In the process participants discovered how to be channels of God’s hope in this world with HIV.
One participant had this to say about the training:
This training program has opened my eyes to how HIV and AIDS is impacting my community, the community nearby, South Africa, Africa and the rest of the World. It has motivated me and given me more confidence to share the information received. I have realized through the training that it is no longer about “THEM” that are HIV positive and “US” who are HIV negative, but that this is our problem which requires to be approached with togetherness, compassion, truth and without stigma.
The venue where the training was held was good, the staff and the manager their hospitality was exceptional and treated us very well during our stay. We had rain and it was windy at times and in one of the days we had hail storm that lasted for 15 minutes, but through it all we were blessed.
We were blessed and we thank God for a new beginning and a new journey of towards becoming HIV and AIDS competent faith communities for the world living and affected with HIV.
Written by: Jerry Sesoko
LA VERNA 2012 REPORT
Different people, from different nationalities, languages and tongues converged at La Verna from the 27th of February to the 4th of March 2012, to embark on a very interesting journey of their lives – much to their surprise. The experience iced with the assessments and the cherry on top being the special evening turned out to be indeed a very special event in the lives of the new facilitators.
The training team (Anita and Ian Rushton; Efraim Oppelt,
We were honoured to have the CABSA Director with us throughout the training, and her participation and input greatly enriched the whole training package. I am sure it was also a blessing for the participants to meet and connect with Lyn Van Rooyen. Such participation always adds ‘weight’ (meaningful) to any initiative, so this was a real honour.
As with any training or event that has ups and downs, this one had its own ranging from logistical issues to having the lead trainer feeling not well! we were however glad that through it all, we were one big bunch of people who had changed so much of our own attitudes and allowed ourselves to be soaked to the point of being willing to allow God to use us as Channels of Hope, trainers and facilitators alike. For some there were deeper issues to deal with than others, but together, the journey was worth taking.
One participant had this to say about the training. “HIV and AIDS is most certainly not a distant thing anymore. It affects me day and night and has now affected me at a personal level, but not at a level of duty or obligation. It has become who, how and what I am as I learnt to deal with the real emotions that directly affected me. This has been a journey of introspection, not dealing with what I think people affected go through, but genuinely goes through those emotions myself. I thank God for the transformation He has done in my life.
Personally, it was such a relief to know none of us have to carry any load, or work so hard to figure out answers to ‘tough stuff’. But depending on God, and letting Him use each of us in the journeys of the facilitators was a wow moment whose key no trainer wants to lose, it unlocks the doors to many hearts that the Lord would transform to the salt and light of the earth. It was a privilege to take part in such a training.
Participants arrived from all over South Africa, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe! LAVERNA was the destination, where a very friendly Brother Ashley and his team hosted us. With all preparations in place, after a short snooze, the training team had their initial meeting and pooled resources in setting up the training room. Day 1 flew like a breeze with many fresh new faces, acquaintances and indeed lessons. Day 2 started with devotion and the knowledge of God’s presence amongst us. And this remained so for the rest of the training.
The personal sharing, the healing experienced, the differing opinions and the mutual respect for each other’s position was evidenced throughout the week. The participants were unique, each one bringing a special flavor to the training.
There were new additions to the manual which we tried out in La Verna, it was a roller coaster ride but what new insights! A whole new chapter, “Towards HIV competent faith communities” was introduced during this training and we are excited about making progress with this new chapter.
The God Hour was also phenomenal, with beautiful inspirations from the Lord! God spoke so beautifully through nature, it was awesome. .
Where cracks appeared, there was a super natural filling from our greatest source, God. In many instances the team only realised the cracks and the solutions long after the session. In closing, all were challenged from the words of the devotion to make a choice as to whether in life they are out to make a living or to make lives. Our call to each and every one is to pause and consider that God calls each one of us to play an active role in the lives of persons living with HIV and the affected ones without being reduced to making a living. May we begin and continue the journey of being His channel of HOPE!
A big thank you to the team, participants and also to Brother Ashley and the rest of the staff. The food was especially nice and reminded many of us of home, especially the PAP!
By Kiarie Mwenda and Maureen Kabey
Report by Rebecca Vander Meulen
Once again it was that time of the year where all the CABSA Representative come together at Zikomo to look at the year that was and the year ahead. Zikomo was again the venue where we all gathered. To be near the beach and the ocean is always a blessing and this time araound the weather in Strand was very kind to us as we didnt experience too much of the strong winds as Strand is famous for south easterly winds.
This year's theme was Sowing With Abundance. We were all challenged as the theme was asking all of us individuals to really make a difference in our own lives by going and extra mile and for those we minister hope to. It again reminded us what it means to be a channel of hope. The higlight for being the manner in which during our devotions how different passages of scriptures from the bible were read. It rejuvenated all of us and reminded us of who we are in Christ.
We were also blessed to see the family of representative growing with new reps being added to the bigger CABSA family. Wiehahn Maritz is now the Northern Cape Representative. Puleng Rampai the Free State Representative, Anita Rushton KZN Representative, Anne Mumbi who was Appointed Zambia Representative and Tunde Fowe who will represent us in West Africa. We were all happy to welcome them to the family and they shared their joys with the rest of the group about the excitiment of being representatives and also the challenges that lies ahead.
As we open 2011 we are excited about what God will do in our lives as Representative and as we continue to being channels of hope for our communities. We really had a blessed time where we shared our highs and lows and we know that God is busy creating a new things in our lives. We look forward with this year's theme on SOWING WITH ABUNDANCE for our communities.
Held in a beautiful and peaceful Lodge, the CABSA training in November was graced by people from a number of different countries - Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Lesotho and some provinces of South Africa. It was worth noting that a few had tried to attend earlier trainings but could not due to delays with the necessary travel documents.
This group was made up of lively individuals who despite their backgrounds and languages, managed to make that week of training a worthwhile one. As the training team, led by Ian, we continuously appreciated the way the trainees were responsible in assisting some of those who had challenges with catching up with the 'packed' information they had to take in in that week. The group was also kept alive and jovial by other individuals who made the whole group laugh and enjoy light moments during the week in training - despite having to prepare for assessments and facilitation sessions.
In a nutshell, the week in training was a great and fulfilling one, unique as every training is unique, and also filled with Gods Presence. That makes the difference because one is able to see where more attention is needed and be able to be of use there. On another note, some of us who do not live in the Western Cape, we were very pleased to experience 4 seasons (weather) in one day! Wow, that was indeed an amazing experience.
Report by: Minenhle Moyo
This training was very special for more than one reason. In the first place it was very special, because after working together in partnership for many years this was the first training that CABSA and World Vision have jointly hosted. Not only did Logy Murray’s dream of a joint training finally come, true, it was also organised in a very short time!
On invitation and initiative of the Family AIDS Caring Trust (FACT), CABSA was privileged to present the Churches, Channels of Hope facilitator training from the 21st to the 27th of June 2010 to 24 facilitator-trainees. These participants were mainly Church pastors or leaders and FACT staff from and around the city Mutare in Zimbabwe.
It was a first for CABSA to be present in Mutare and we are very excited about the prospect of 24 newly trained facilitators and potential channels of hope in this part of Zimbabwe. With this training the total number of trained facilitators in Zimbabwe has grown to 65!
The following comments were recorded in the formal evaluation of the training:
The training team was led by Tunde Fowe, who travelled all the way from Nigeria to lead this training. He was supported by Vhumani Magezi and Minenhle Moyo, facilitators from Zimbabwe and also by Jerry Sesoko from the CABSA office and Anna Kaura from Mpumalanga, South Africa. A special thank you to the team for their availability on such short notice, specifically also to Tunde for leading the team and to Vhumani who recommended and arranged the training on behalf of FACT.
In conclusion Tunde had the following to say: “The cordial atmosphere at the training was a huge asset that made learning (even the “technical” bit) simple and easy-to-grasp such that when “judgement day” eventually arrived, no one was scared. It was an enormous privilege to serve along with other team members during this training to serve 24 potential world-changers.”
On the 14-16 May 2010 CABSA held its annual Capacity building workshop and it was really an honor to once again see all the CABSA Representatives together again.
The venue was Zikomo, Strand in the Western Cape, most of us love this place as it is by the sea side and the venue itself has the family feeling to it, the environment is warm and it seems like some of the Reps also love this place. With a bit of rain on Friday it was a blessing to kick off our gathering.
This year the workshop coincided with International AIDS Candlelight Memorial day and it was indeed a blessing to have everyone to celebrate this special event together. The workshop itself doesn’t necessarily have a theme but what stood out this weekend was that we chose a topic that said “GROW or BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED”. The group was challenged by this theme as it made us also think about where we are and what is our roles and commitment as CABSA Representatives and how it affects our relationships with our facilitators.
The weekend also saw us celebrating our achievements and what God has blessed us with in our personal lives and also our work within our institutions, churches and organizations. It was a blessing to hear about all these successes and to praise God for it.
The group also had fun in the program, it was not only the serious stuff, so Saturday evening saw us playing a board game called 30seconds, it was fun and entertaining to see everyone out of their comfort zone and just enjoying the fellowship with one another.
It was a fruitful weekend and everyone was once again challenged to go back to their provinces and countries to inspire and support facilitators to continue being a channel of hope.
By Jerry Sesoko
During the week 3 rd of May to 9th of May, 12 Mozambican and 12 Angolan Tearfund partners were gathered during the CABSA “Channels of Hope” training at Orchard centre in Johannesburg.
The week was full of challenging activities as usual; the temperature of the group and the eager ness to participate was felt already the first day when the Agree and disagree activity took place. The highly confidential questionnaire created a very open an honest conversation over difficulties in life, cultural expectations on men and women but also the understanding that we are human beings with our faults and mistakes and if it was not for the grace of God we would not have been saved. The following days devotion on love came very timely and gave the group opportunities for prayer and reflection on my role and responsibility in a broken community and broken body of Christ.
Many were eager to learn more about the biological side of HIV and “more than the basics” noticed in the willingness to stay for 15 minutes extra over lunch to review before exams.
The deep biblical understanding among participants (many were bible school teachers or pastors) were experienced when we discussed the “though stuff” and the “guiding principles”.
The last day included Church mobilisation strategies and action planning. Personal plans as well as church and individual plans were written and we all could subscribe to the statement “A vision without action remains only a dream, an action without a vision is just a fight, a vision together with action offers hope to the world”.
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Highlights of this training included:
It gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to write this report about the Gauteng refresher that took place on the 27th October 2009 at Woord in Aksie in Pretoria.
We had a total number of 17 facilitators that graced the refresher with their presence, it was good having everyone there who took time in their busy schedules, to see their level of commitment and passions for the work they do and their involvement with CABSA.
Everything went well and according to plan, most if not all topics and themes were covered and the interaction with everyone was very solid and genuine. The topic on GENDER and ARV’s being some of the main topics as we have added new information. The facilitators were very engaged with one another and shared their joys, victories and challenges they faced and the ones they managed to overcome.
We as CABSA would like to take this opportunity to thank each on of them for continuing to be a channel of hope for their community, church and their organizations they represent, blessings to you all.
News on a Report by Vhumani Magezi in April 2008.
Report by Aneleh Fourie le Roux:
On the 6th and 7th of November CABSA had the opportunity to meet with our trained facilitators in the Eastern Cape.
Seeing a few familiar faces, meeting a few new faces and hearing all the feedback from the facilitators were really a privilege and encouragement to us!
This was our third refresher for 2006 and we do hope and plan to continue to expand these meetings in 2007.
We would love to share news of workshops and events organised by Churches, Channels of Hope facilitators. Send your reports to Lyn.
You are also welcome to join the Churches, Channels of Hope Facilitators group on Facebook (closed group, please request to join) or follow us on Twitter (lyn4caris).
Mozambique: The changes since 2003 are phenomenal, but we are far from achieving today’s international theme
By Rebecca J. van der Meulen
Today marks another World AIDS Day—my ninth in Mozambique. The changes since 2003 are phenomenal: from no one on HIV treatment here in 2003 to thousands on HIV treatment today. From utter amazement at the brave (and foolish?) soul who dared say she was living with HIV to a much more matter-of-fact acceptance. From almost no pregnant mother knowing her HIV status to almost every pregnant mother knowing.
But we are far from achieving today’s international theme: “Getting to Zero.” Zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
Scientifically and biologically, these zeros are all possible. HIV still can’t live outside the human body and has not mutated to be spread through air or water. AIDS is still a disease, not a curse, and greater understanding of the biology of HIV transmission has helped reduce fear and discrimination. Antiretroviral medications, taken at the appropriate time, in the appropriate dosage, and with appropriate medical care, mean that a person living with HIV can live a long life and die of a cause not at all related to HIV.
But the challenges extend beyond science and biology. My friends Memory and Isabel mobilized dozens of people to get an HIV test. But when they got to the clinic, they found no HIV testing materials were available. Despite a visit to the provincial health director, their local clinic still lacks these basic materials. 16-year-old Corina sought to get pregnant so she would have someone to live for—a child to call her own. Alegria wanted to use a condom with her husband, but he refused. Misinterpretation of treatment protocols meant that hospital staff didn’t give ARV medication to Candida, who was living with HIV but who was deemed not sick enough to receive treatment. Despite the persistent advocacy of her mother, Candida lost her life in April.
Getting to zero will require addressing a whole host of sociological issues. It will require both skill AND will.
Skills such as behavior change communication, pharmaceutical stock management, and good HIV adherence do, indeed, need to be built. Much money has rightly been invested into skill-building. But skills do nothing unless they are also accompanied by the will to put them into practice consistently. Without both skill and will, little happens. We are therefore working on finding people who already have the will to get to zero, and investing skills in them. THESE people move mountains.
“How can we keep going, when the road to zero seems so steep?,” I asked Miguel and Claudio, two Mountain Mover colleagues. We can look back, and see how far we have already come, they suggested. And we can see it as a relay.
We are on an ultramarathon, and we might not be the ones who reach the finish line. We are not the ones who left the start line. But we can move towards our goal, planting seeds, and pass on the work to those who come behind us. Perhaps it is those who come behind THEM who will get to zero and reap the harvest of our seeds.
Relay runner Armando lived eight years longer than he would have without antiretrovirals. And he lived fully. As president of the first association here of people living with HIV, he respectfully fought to speak out on behalf of those too ashamed to disclose their status. He brought professionalism and dignity to his work, forcing people to reassess their stereotypes of what it meant to live with HIV. I met him in 2003, and he was the first HIV-positive person I really got to know. He was very ill—close to death—until beginning ARV therapy.
Armando lost his life earlier this year after a bout with TB, despite good care on the part of the Lichinga Hospital with the limited resources they had available. Armando died because his stubborn optimism about his own health—a characteristic which he credited to keeping him alive before ARVs were available—meant that he didn’t seek early enough treatment for his TB. I am honored to have run alongside him and to help carry his heavy baton.
Candida’s mother Elisa, who is also living with HIV, actively cares for people who are sick, breaking down stigma’s barriers and showing practical love.
She lives the love she preaches, and her own health is proof that her teachings are true—that it is possible to live well with HIV. She wasn’t able to save her own daughter, but she has helped many other mothers save theirs.
Marathoners Martins and William keep hiking to remote communities—rain or shine—to bring ARV medication to people who would otherwise have to hike dozens of miles each month to get it.
Hundreds of Mozambican health officials do their jobs well, allowing medication to reach Mozambicans far from the capital city.
Taxpayers in the US and other countries fund the treatment that helps keep so many of my friends alive. Though ARV medications cost only a twentieth of what they did in early 2000, they still cost far more than any of my Mozambican friends could afford.
It seems appropriate that World AIDS Day falls into the church’s calendar during the liturgical season of Advent, the time in which we wait—for Christmas, but also for the world’s brokenness to be made whole. Because of supportive families and proper medication, many individuals living with HIV have a second earthly chance at life. (The Lazarus Effect, a thirty-minute film available here, bears witness to the power of ARVs) But many still die before they learn their status, others still lack treatment access, and others still face life-draining stigma. As a nation and as a world, we are not yet at zero new infections, zero discrimination, or zero AIDS-related deaths. We work for the day when our advent HOPE of zero becomes the Easter REALITY of zero.
The last CCoH workshop for Hope centre was on the 20th of November 2010, and it was a refresher for the group which was trained in 2009. Thirteen people showed up on the morning of the workshop despite the fact that only four people confirmed that they would be attending. This was encouraging. Some of the participants were not trained in CCoH before but they showed up, and this means they have interest in this programme. Participants were pleased to receive a folder with notes for the previous trainings each. Once again, our heartfelt thank you to CABSA for financially supporting us for these trainings.
The program started at 9h00 and continued until 14h00, and we broke for lunch. After lunch we conducted the closing ceremony and issued their certificates. My heart was once again warmed by some of the participants who were motivated to start responding to HIV and AIDS in their churches. We are working on following up with each one of them about their involvement inresponding to HIV in their churches and communities.
Report by: Anna Kaura
The two days spent in the Roodepoort was a truly remarkable experience for me as well as for the leaders. HIV and AIDS is a very highly sensitive topic that generates a lot of emotion and feeling and a workshop situation has a potential to create more hurt and pain, however we are grateful to the Holy Spirit and our God who were in the midst of all we were doing. A significant process have been initiated in all the participants and we believe that God as the potter He is rebuilding the Church to deal with this challenge and as leaders begin to take hands and march forward, our God the author and Finisher of Our Faith will help the leaders in their way forward.
Naile shares the following:
The two days spent in the Roodepoort was a truly remarkable experience for me as well as for the leaders. HIV and AIDS is a very highly sensitive topic that generates a lot of emotion and feeling and a workshop situation has a potential to create more hurt and pain, however we are grateful to the Holy Spirit and our God who were in the midst of all we were doing. A significant process have been initiated in all the participants and we believe that God as the potter He is rebuilding the Church to deal with this challenge and as leaders begin to take hands and march forward, our God the author and Finisher of Our Faith will help the leaders in their way forward.
22 SEPTEMBER 2010
For the past months are being busy with the support groups at an informal settlement where I am working. In this community there is high-rate of HIV and AIDS and the most important thing is:
This has been going for some time and different churches are involved in this community. This programmes runs once a week. I have realise that people become open about their status, when they are ready to talk about it, after they have realise that they can trust you, people fear for discrimination and also they could be rejected by their community. Challenges:
FROM PULENG MORAILANE
CABSA has been in contanct with the Council of Heirs International (CHI) in Cameroon for some time. In August 2009 Tunde Fowe from Nigeria represented CABSA at the International Conference on Missions in Cameroon.
In February 2010 two members of the organisation attended the Churches Channels of Hope Facilitator's Training in Gauteng.
Pastor Bernard Messing reports as follows:
Because of what you invested in us (my wife and Seraphine) our HIV/AIDS work in church here in Cameroon has taking another relevant dimensions.
We have been organising many awareness seminar in many different denominational churches for church members and leaders in different cities in Cameroon.
Next Saturday, we are expected in Douala the largest city in Cameroon. Not less than 100 participants will attend our seminar. God is using our efforts as an eyes opener to multitude within the church.
The truth is that their expectations are higher than what our young organisation can do. Right now in almost all the seminars we have organised participants are asking us to do voluntary tsts.
All the photos sent to you came from our most recent awareness seminar."
The following are the pictures of the Training Workshop organised and sponsored by Youth for Christ North West for the North Staff both Mafikeng and Rustenburg, Young leaders from local churches in Mafikeng and Rustenburg.
The workshop was scheduled for 17-19 November and the facilitators were Maud Ravuku and Moatlhudi Mogwera.
The training workshop was held at Rustenburg Cultural Centre.
YfC NW staff who attended the training are themselves facilitators of life skills and peer education in school and out of school work that targets young people. This training was evaluated very positively by both YfC staff and church youth leaders.
My day with this group of precious passionate young people started very slowly because I just came back from training in Kitwe, Zambia. As the day went by and seeing the enthusiasm and passion from this group I was fired up to continue with more energy, I guess that’s the wonders of God.
The workshop included 27 youth leaders from Youth for Christ staff and different Faith Based Organisations from Mafikeng and Rustenburg.
This workshop aimed at mobilising the Youth Leaders from different faith communities and organisations to respond more effectively to HIV and AIDS from a perspective that is, over and above existing interventions based on modern science, ethically and theologically sound.
What happened during session…
During the different sessions there was enthusiasm in terms of questions asked and the shared experiences from different church’s perspective and personal experiences. There was very little time for sessions on Gender, Stigma and Living Positively. The reason was that almost the whole group had firsthand experiences on HIV and the challenges it brings with it.
A lot of young people shared how they were affected by each experience, especially gender and stigma. Coming from rural areas and where HIV is still seen as the consequences of sin and how women are degraded by men. I first saw this during the activity of drawing “How the community views male/female in our communities”, there was a lot of anger from the women’s side and I saw how they passionately and with expressed how they feel, the anger they hold inside. The men were not really serious with the activity even they ended up bringing out their point of view.
What was sad for me was to see how these young men already perceive themselves as the bad ones who can’t changed, who are created to be irresponsible; Moa and I had to guide the discussion in the direction of making both genders realise that they are uniquely created by God and that we have to come to a point where we both appreciate each other.
I had different interesting conversations with most of leaders at this workshop; and confident that an impact has been made in their lives. They do not only want to make a difference in their churches or communities but also in their families. I appreciate the fact that they could easily plan what they were going to do when they get back to their communities and how they are going to do it.
A female participant whose younger cousin living with HIV said “Sisi now I know how to treat my cousin; better than before I came here and he needs more love from us and care, rather than us treating him like he’s different”
“I thank the Lord for this opportunity again to bless others but also to be blessed”
You can also read Moathludi's report attached below
This are photos that Bapiwe Nxumalo sent from the workshop that was held in Lamontville
Report by AIDSLINK in June 2008
Reaching the mountains and the valleys
They came from Katmandu or the many Nepali villages which are scattered through the Himalayas to be part of a year-long discipleship programme. Over 30 listened carefully as the AIDSLink team spoke of HIV & AIDS and how it affects their country.
They now know of the average 12,000 Nepali children who are monthly trafficked into India and the Gulf, most of them destined for commercial sex work.
They heard the first hand testimony of those who suffer in secret for fear of rejection, but who now live "positively" with HIV.
At the end of the workshop, the word "impact" came to mind when thinking of these young people, released into their communities, empowered with information to make a difference in the future.
Report by Jayne Wilkins in Jan 2008.
Greetings to all at CABSA from Jayne in Lesotho, I was so glad to see that you have received information about the workshop we had in Mokhotlong Lesotho. I was so grateful to God for sending the helpers He did. Ian Rushton, Ntate Thomas Lebiletsa, and John McCartney were the backbone of the workshop. I was so grateful that the participants were able to have most of the workshop presented to them in Sesotho by Ntate Thomas and Ian. It was such a great help to them to be able to understand more thoroughly. We had 17 in attendance, 5 women and 12 men. All the men were in attendance for the entire workshop and were very attentive and participating fully. I am so excited to see how they changed their attitudes and thinking in ways from the beginning on Friday evening to Sunday when we ended. I was so grateful for the comment from one of the mothers that said she learned how important it was to speak to her children about sex and HIV and that she was going back to her village to tell the other mothers and was going to talk to her daughters that very night. She said it was going to be something they had in the open in their home. Many of the participants were anxious to take the information back to their churches to start facing a being involved as a church.
I will be having another follow up day of learning with all the participants to cover some of the things we were not able to get to in the time available and to see where they are in their commitments & in their churches and communities.
News from Babette Grobler in KwaMhlanga about their World Aids Day Commemoration.
You kan read more about the work of MCDC here
I just thought of sharing the following with you. Me, Anna Mashilo and Isaac Maleke which all attended your training planned a World AIDS Day Commemoration on the 1 st of December ’06.
Mostly our own personnel and staff from the Mukhanyo Theological College in KwaMhlanga attended. We started with a candle light ceremony and then had two people living with HIV giving their testimonies. One of them came to our hospice after been taken to sangomas, the local ZCC Church where he had to drink all kinds of stuff and went through rituals before ending up with us (Nakekela) with a CD 4 count of 2. This guy recovered wonderfully and is living now openly with HIV after realizing that he cannot live without God in his life. We also used local people as well as people living with HIV in presenting that play that were in the guidelines of the module that we received from you and Isaac Maleke, seeing that he is a pastor, used that sermon that we received from you in the program we had on 1 st of December. A local nurse also presented a talk on VCT. We really had a very successful morning.
The other highlight that we had at Nakekela Care Centre was a Christmas Party. We admitted just more than 100 gravely ill people suffering from AIDS at the hospice as from Oct 05 to Oct 06. Of them about 30 recovered to such an extent that they went home and can have a normal live now especially after starting with ARV treatment. In the end the ex-patients were an encouragement to us instead of we to them. Most of them gave wonder full testimonies of how they thought they were on the brink of death and then how they recovered here at Nakekela - also how much they appreciated what was done for them. I think it especially meant a lot to our staff responsible for the caring and nursing of the HIV patients. It left all of us with tears in our eyes and especially experiencing again the greatness of God by realizing that we are just part of His greater plan and without Him we are nothing.
We are also experiencing miracles here on a daily basis. People who are admitted, not able to walk, talk, eat, absolutely so weak that we often think they will die within a day or two and then starting to eat slowly, we exercise them to start walking, and then they recover. It is wonderful to experience when they start responding and literally are alive again. We had a man of 54 that was admitted and over and above the fact that he was HIV, he was also very bad neglected as he did not have any family and no one wanted to care for him. His feet especially were in a very bad state and it took one of our care givers literally to bathed his feet in water once a day for a few days to get all the excess skin removed as well as to cut his toe nails etc. He was well enough to leave us two months later and about a month later a nurse from Holland started to work with us at Nakekela. He met her and the first thing he did when he heard that she was working with us was to take of his shoes and show her what his feet look like now as it made such a big impression on him having somebody doing that for him. I think we often do not realize in what conditions people are living out there and then the smallest act of kindness means so much to them.
Our critical patient care co-coordinator also find an old man in a shack which he brought here – he said the man was lying in his own dirt and urine. When he came here he was able to sit upright but, was not able to do any thing else for himself. He was for such a long time alone that he could not talk properly to us – it took him a long time to register when we asked him anything and if he answered back he would whisper. Now after two months he is able to walk, talk and responding again – somebody donated some slippers as well as new sleepwear for him and he seems as if he became alive again.
I think our biggest problem at this stage with the people that recover especially the very old people are that they have often no one to care for them at home and the fact that there is no proper food at home is also a problem in the case of the other recovering patients. It often happens that they recover here and then after a few months are readmitted in such a bad state that they then come here to die. You have to forgive me, but if I start talking about all the things that we experience here, I often do not know where to stop. Hopefully you will be able to visit us one day.
Report by Ramona Jones on a workshop held in Liberia in December 2006.
I am pleased to forward to you photos of our HIV/AIDS awareness workshop which was held today as part of our community transformation effort and our fight against the aids virus.
52 youths were part of the workshop which cover prevention and stigma and the church role in the prevention of aids.
The workshop was sponsor by the voice of Pentecost churches in Liberia.
Report by George Musondo in Nov 2006.
The HIV and AIDS empowerment training began on a very positive note with all the participants quite enthusiastic to get an understanding of what Channels of Hope (CoH) entailed. The target group for this training was the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation members of staff, in view of the fact that ZNBC has been collaborating with World Vision International in presenting the Positive Living Radio Programme. It was undertaken as a way of empowering media personnel to understand the dynamic impact of the Channels of Hope as a Ministry they could embrace in disseminating HIV and AIDS related messages.
Read the entire report attached below (PDF, 1.15 MB, 18 pg)
Report by Joseph Teboho Rapitse in Nov 2006.
World Vision training transforms pastor’s attitude towards HIV For 15 years as a pastor, Thomas Lebiletsa (38) hated people living with HIV. It took a five-day training with World Vision, five months ago to completely transform him into a man who embraces and loves people infected with the virus.
In February this year, 2006, Lebiletsa, a pastor of Calvary Hope of the Nations, based in an area covered by World Vision’s Lenkoane Area Development Programme in Lesotho, was trained under the Channels of Hope programme, which aims to engage churches and faith based organizations in the response to HIV and AIDS. He left the training a changed man. Said the pastor: “I would tell my congregation almost every Sunday…Those with HIV must repent.
You will come back to the church when your legs are as thin as the pole holding up this tent and ask for forgiveness… and I will be ready to conduct your funerals.” He would refer to the poles holding up the tent from which he was preaching to scare those with the virus and scare others from engaging in activities that put them at risk. “After going through the training with World Vision, I was the one who had to repent,” he said. This Lebiletsa made it public at one service after the training where he repented openly before the congregation.
Lebiletsa notes that the training made him realize that instead of embracing and providing hope to those affected and infected by HIV, he was casting them away and making their situations worse. He remembers how a question posed during the training had really touched him. “How many in your congregations have died of AIDS when they could have lived if you had supported them?” was the question. He clearly remembered two, who he felt, with the appropriate support and counseling could have still been alive. “All I did was prepare for their funerals. I clearly did not think they deserved any love or support from me or the church,” remembers Lebiletsa.
Indeed, World Vision’s programme changed his approach and today he has linked two members of his congregation to anti-retroviral treatment. In the church he has a session dedicated to sharing about HIV and AIDS, one Sunday every month. Whenever possible he has people living positively with HIV sharing their life experiences to provide hope to others in the congregation. “It is difficult to talk about sex and sexuality especially in the church but we are doing it because we want to bring hope and love to those infected and affected,” he adds. Ever since he went through the training he has been celebrating the decision he made to accept the invitation to attend. He chose the training over preparing for a crusade, which he was supposed to lead at the same time.
Some of the challenging issues that he was asked to face during the training included; putting Jesus in the time of the HIV and AIDS pandemic and figuring out how He would have responded to people infected with the virus. He also had to search deep inside to find out his own attitude towards people who are infected with HIV. “I realized I hated people with HIV and I knew that those who were suffering because of the pandemic could never come to me for support even though I am a pastor… unless my attitude changed,” lamented Lebiletsa. Since his involvement with World Vision’s Channels of Hope programme, and subsequent change in attitude, he has become a member of the Berea District AIDS Task Force.
This makes it easier for him to link patients to professional support including antiretroviral treatment. The church has since established a six-member committee of four 4 women and 2 men who volunteered to spearhead issues related to HIV and AIDS to make sure that women, men and children affected in different ways get the care and support they require. Pastor Lebiletsa was already running a feeding programme for orphans in the village even before attending the Channels of Hope Programme but the training helped him to realize an even greater need to care and look after the orphans especially because the increase in HIV infection has also resulted in an increase in orphans.
The children get supper at the pastor’s home from Monday to Friday. So far he is proving food to 28 children whose ages range from three to 15 years. He also built a two-roomed house for a child headed family of two boys, a 15-year-old and a 10-year-old who live on their own after their mother died. “My life as a person has definitely changed and I want to play an even bigger role in responding to HIV in this area,” he said.
I, Meloney had attended the NACOSA Basic Financial Management Workshop on 26 and 27 June 2012 at
The training had include the following topics :
• Compile and use a budget
• Receive and receipt funds
• Utilize a petty cash system
• Conduct basic banking transactions in accordance with organizational procedures
• Compile a basic financial report
• Describe and implement financial policies and controls for an NGO
• Arrange for an annual review for the organization
My experience or opinion about this training: I am really blessed to attend this training. Although I work on a day-to-day basis with these topics, I have come to realization that CABSA are on standard with the protocol measurements to have a strongly, visibility and legally operating financial system.
Facilitator had emphasized the impotency of reporting to Funders.
For me personal I have learned that you need to refresh your skills in order to improve your abilities to do your work more sufficiently.
The workshop were attended by 20 participants, from different NGO which have either an operational or management function at their organization. Facilitator shared with us that 75 registrations were received, from which they can only selected 30 people to attend this training.
Written by Meloney Goliath
Report (in Afrikaans) by Estelle Heidemanof a breakfast held for Tsepo House in 2006. Click here.
Report by John Jatta in August 2006.
News from John Jatta – Churches, Channels of Hope facilitator in The Gambia. (The Gambia is in Western Africa, and is the smallest country on the African continental mainland.) As I am seated on the computer now, I am just from a facilitation from a place called CAMPANT, a town about 115Km away from where I live.
A camp was organised by ‘Youth For Christ’ and the camp was married with lots of empowering programs on evangelism, Christian response to HIV and AIDS, culture and gospel in sports. Youth leaders and youth pastors attended the camp from 33 different churches around the country. 78 people attended the camp from different churches. The program was hectic but very educative. From my part two of us where invited to facilitate HIV and AIDS. My partner is a staff of International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) who was also trained in Nigeria. We where given two days to facilitate, so we divided the participants into two groups. I handled 39 participants of whom 11 of them are youth pastors and the rest are in the youth leadership of their various churches.
For the first time I applied the highly confidential questions. I also used the ‘hypothetical scenario’ and also the ‘agree or disagree’ questions which were very interactive and exciting. With the highly confidential questions, I felt it was really difficult for participants to be sincere with themselves despite the high security surrounding the exercise. But I thank God that the exercise achieved something. It made us dwell on ourselves rather than talking about others. With the exercise everybody felt that we are all part of the problem so the church must take her position in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Some people really find it difficult to accept that sex must always be talked about on pulpit. But at the end of the facilitation today most of them agreed that we must break the silence in talking about sex on pulpit.
My co-facilitator and I together with some of the youth leaders see it as a strong need to organise a workshop inviting even church pastors to attend. They acknowledged that we have good stuffs for the church of the Gambia so it must be put into good use. Please do pray for us that this will work well. We believe it is possible. I really appreciate God for the privilege to be part of CABSA facilitators. Your facilitation manual is rich in information and exciting in presentation. May God continue to bless you and your team in your endeavour.
Report by Ian and Anita Rushton in August 2006.
"It always amazes us how, after weeks ... no months of build-up, the training weekend just flies by. We look back over the past weekend and thank God for His sure and constant faithfulness."
This document describes Jewels of Hope train-the-trainer workshop, displaying photos of the event.
View the attached document below
Report by Ian and Anita Rushton in May 2006.
HIV/AIDS workshop report, Ladybrand, 19th – 21st May 2006
The workshop was organized primarily for trainers and peer educators from the various Jewels of Hope projects in Gauteng, the Eastern Free State and Lesotho. It was a full weekend workshop, commencing with registration on Friday afternoon (17h00) and an evening session, then all day Saturday (up to 17h00) and again on Sunday, following the church service, from 11h30 up to 17h00.
See the full report attached below.
Read a few short response of participants in the Churches Channels of Hope Facilitators Training. More comprehensive feedback from a few facilitators is available below:
In October 2012 I took the CABSA "Churches, Channels of Hope" Facilitators Training course, which ended up exceeding my expectations. Seven years ago I'd taken my first (basic) HIV training, but I quickly realized HIV education is a field which has changed much in the past years. Thankfully, CABSA has kept their material up-to-date and extremely relative. The trainers gave excellent feedback during our facilitation training sessions and created a safe environment where we could learn and ask questions. We were pushed out of our comfort zones some days and had our world-views challenged on others. The CCOH is a comprehensive course that I highly recommend to anyone. Thank you, CABSA!
“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called." (Eph.4:1)
By: Faith Cassim
To fulfil the high calling which God has placed upon us in creating us and redeeming us, we must have the right inner substance or character. We must come to grips with who we really are, inside and out. For we will do what we are. So we will need to become the kind of people who routinely and easily walk in the goodness and power of Jesus our Master. For this, a process of "spiritual formation"—really, transformation—is required.
I was one of the very blessed participants by the grace of almighty God, to attend the “Channels of Hope” workshop in Heidelberg with the focused on HIV/AIDS! I came out humbled! When I came back to the office I presented at our feedback meeting. I shared with the team how this workshop made me realize that I still have a long way to go as a child of God in being transformed, to be fully equipped to facilitate transformation in the lives of others! Spiritual formation for the Christian is a Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self –our "spiritual" side—in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself. In the degree to which such a spiritual transformation to inner Christlikeness is successful. The outer life of the individual will become a natural expression or outflow of the character and teachings of Jesus.
This has been a week of learning the true importance of drawing people unto Christ. What stood out for me clearly for me as an individual was the emotional and psychological pain WE sometimes as the body of Christ inflicts on Gods people and how much it grieves God! Christlikeness of the inner being is not a merely human attainment. It is, finally, a gift of grace.
Nevertheless, well-informed human effort is indispensable. Spiritual formation in Christ is not a passive process. Grace does not make us passive. Divine grace is God acting in our lives to accomplish what we cannot do on our own. It informs our being and actions and makes them effective in the wisdom and power of God. Hence, grace is not opposed to effort (in actions) but to earning (an attitude) and that’s what we (the body of Christ) really need to serve in this utmost important HIV field.
May we never forget that it is "By the grace of God that we serve in this area and he has called us for a time such as this. The supernatural outcome that accompanies grace-full actions should stand out at all times. Spiritual formation in Christ is the way of rest for the weary and over-loaded, of the easy yoke and the light burden (Matt. 11:28-30), of cleaning the inside of the cup and the dish (Matt. 23:26), of the good tree that cannot bear bad fruit (Luke 6:43). It is the path along which God’s commandments are found not to be "heavy." (1 John 5:3)
Christian spiritual transformation in the various dimensions of the human being, need to be clear about the general pattern that all effective efforts toward personal transformation, not just Christian spiritual formation—must follow. Because we are active participants in the process, and because what we do or do not do makes a huge difference. Our efforts must be based on understanding. Jesus indeed said that without him we can do nothing. (John 15:5) But we can also be sure that if we do nothing it will be without him. So he commands us to "abide in the Vine." (15:1-7). Often it is so important to Christians to speak the truth (according to our perceptions) when we deal with HIV… but do we do so in love drawing all men unto Christ? This seems to be an area where the church needs healing. We must find a way to do that. Christ died for all of us including our HIV infected brothers and sisters!
“Since we stand before so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, with our eyes set on Jesus, who initiated our faith and will bring it to perfection."
"There is no good tree which produces bad fruit….
The good man out of the good stored up in his heart, brings forth what is good."
I am going to try and explain to you why I did the training.... My training with CABSA is just the beginning of a journey for me, actually the FOUNDATION of my journey...
Just more than 5 years ago I was horrified to find out I was HIV infected by my husband.
I had so many questions at the time, I was on an emotional roller coaster. Given the circumstances, I was very angry with God. I spent many hours crying before the Lord, asking Him why me??? I do not want to expose my husband, so I prefer not to discuss the circumstances around it.
I started searching for answers and healing, especially looking for "validation" as my family and friends became almost non existent. I then attended a spiritual retreat with Rhetha McPherson Ministries and while listening to her talking, I heard someone say "HE STRIPPED YOU, TO EQUIP YOU:" At that moment I realised that our Father actually gave me a very powerful tool to use and decided to change my thoughts of dying of aids, around to thoughts of living with aids for God, and I know as long as I have the Fathers heart and my relationship with Him is alive, HE WILL keep my body healthy for me to be able to be a small part of His Hands and feet......
Sadly I realised that none of our churches in our community, has a support / care centre for HIV infected people, because this topic is not addressed in church and people still distinguish between "innocent" and "guilty" and because of this, people are afraid to reach out for help, for love - because they fear rejection. I myself needed support - I also wanted to feel "validated" as my close friends and most family pushed me aside because I chose to stay with my husband, rather than leave him.
I now believe and know that AIDS is the single greatest opportunity the church has today to show the size of its heart and to demonstrate the unconditional love of Christ.
I want to change the world around, so that everybody, regardless of race, sex, illness will experience the love of Christ.
So I started phoning around and searching the Webb for an organisation that could provide me with the skills and information, to get me started, but nowhere did I find the "compassion" and "hope" in the program when looking at the course outlay. The most training provided is informative and factual...it is all about abstinence and safe sex and healthy life styles.
A friend in our prayer group put me in touch with the CABSA website! She said I would find all I need there and more on the website....I started reading through various topics on the website and realised that the foundation of their training was based on Christianity and the love of Christ towards others! I immediately knew this was it!!!! I had to attend this training - this was almost 2 years ago. When I enquired it was already held that year in some country in Africa and they were not sure when the next one was to be held. I completed the necessary documentation and ensured they received it! Almost a year had gone by, and in the meantime I have been visiting aids orphanage on Saturday's to play with the children and extend loving arms to them - by doing this I could give them what I had so much of and receive what I needed so much of - UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!.... it became therapeutic for me.
Few weeks ago when I received the e-mail from CABSA I was overwhelmed, anxious to attend, but I was financially restricted and had to pray and ask Father to provide for me - which HE did without any effort ! When the sponsorships came in, I knew the Lord has opened this door for me - there was light at the end of the tunnel for me, I knew that I knew that I knew, THIS IS THE OPPORTUNITY FATHER IS GIVING ME TO SHINE HIS LIGHT OF LOVE in this dark world of war and hatred and judgement. Once again, once we started the training, one of the very first topics we discussed was to "be the light" of the world and to shine for HIM - to me this was confirmation again that I was where I had to be. Then one of the facilitators, an awesome man of God,by the name of TUNDE spoke to us and said "You are all here because God intended it for u to be here" - well, at that time I felt like falling flat on my face before the Lord and crying out to Him and thanking Him for the opportunity, for entrusting ME, MY LIFE me, my life, in the loving hands of these facilitators.
The foundation of this training is LOVE, the unconditional LOVE of GOD. When I started searching for training on/in HIV and AIDS I asked myself the question, what is it that I as an infected person wants to know or hear when attending a course like this? What do I want to hear from people who teach on this topic??? I want LOVE, I want ENCOURAGEMENT and I want HOPE!!!!!! I found these components in the training CABSA provides.
1. My impression of CABSA
Very well structured, comprehensive and reliable love based, non discriminating, informative, endless resource of HIV and AIDS related topics. CABSA to me, for me is the "mother ship" of information, the structural "base" of my HIV and AIDS knowledge, and a trustworthy and reliable "hand" at any time if I might need one.
2. Am I going to implement what I have learned?
Yes mam!! The training has given me the extensive knowledge and skills on facilitating - now its up to me to put those skills to work. I will start by stepping out and extending my arms and hands to those who are needy of such and encourage to be the voice for those who are afraid to speak - I will take the first step - I will encourage the youth thru school visits, support groups that there is hope for all of us and that we as Christians need to be aware and sensitive to the ones around us - one of our friends might be fighting a battle of his own knowing he/she is infected but afraid to reach out for help due to the stigma attached.
3. How I benefited from it?
Wow, the fruits of this training will be endless - this training was the "pushing hand" I needed to enable me to step out and admit my status in front of all the participants after the training and at the same time experience the unconditional Love of God surround me - there was no judgement, no condemnation. It felt like coming home after a being away from home for a very long time......
There is so much work to be done in the midst of this HIV and AIDS pandemic - the harvest is big, but the workers are few, We as the church should embrace AIDS, the way Christ embraces us.
My God Hour – CCOH, 5 March 2011
Walking around La Verna and following the Stations of the Cross, God spoke to me in the following ways, through things I picked up or saw along the way.
The creeping flower – the creeper may be weak on its own but if it holds onto a bush, it grows well and flowers beautifully. As channels of hope, we can “hold onto” the CABSA family and flourish.
At this point there was a cross showing Christ falling, carrying the cross. Our journey will not be smooth – there will be times when we might stumble but we must persevere.
I also kept hearing doves calling from different trees – these are the calls for help from the many communities around us.
Fallen leaves – these represent the many lives that have been lost to Aids. The big leaf represents the adults we know, and the small leaf represents the children lost to Aids.
Here was also a cross showing Jesus comforting the women in Jerusalem. The pain of losing people we know and love to Aids is heavy, but we can draw our comfort from Jesus
Networking – these seeds are each growing out in a different direction, but they all start from the same stem.
In the same way, we need to network and stay connected to each other through CABSA, so that although we may be in different parts of the world and do different activities, we remain connected in purpose.
Blooming flower – this symbolizes our successes and triumphs along the way. We should not be shy to celebrate these, as this is what motivates us to keep going.
The dogs came to bark at me through the fence as I walked past the staff quarters – this made me think of stigma and how society “barks” at people they see as different.
Broken twig – symbolizes Christ’s crucifixion. He died for us all. It also reminded that me that we are the broken body of Christ.
Throughout the walk, I could hear the long repetitive call of the Crested Barbet. This reminded me that God is always with us, we can hear Him all the time if we stop to listen.
Pine buds and a feather– the pine buds symbolize new life, the feather symbolizes hope (just as Noah found hope in the olive branch that was carried back to the ark by the bird), and I picked these up just after the cross that showed Christ’s resurrection.
We have new life and hope in the risen Christ.
As I ended my God hour, I came back to the training room walking alongside the Vaal River. In Psalm 23 God “leads us by the quiet waters” and He promises to stay with us throughout even the valley of the shadow of death – His rod and His staff shall comfort us.
What a promise and what strength we can gain from that!
Namane (also known as Simon) describes this training as follows: "It was like God took us aside for a week just to change our attitude". Read the rest of his feedback in the attached letter
One of the licensed presenters of Churches, Channels of Hope is WorldVision.
The co-founders of CABSA, Christo Greyling and Logy Murray, are both now with World Vision and use Channesl of Hope (as it is called in WV) extensively in many of the countries where WV operates.
Thailand mission worker helps shed light on stigma of HIV/AIDS
Editor’s note: Brett and Shelly Faucett, members of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, Calif., were sent to Chiang Mai, Thailand, in August 2007 as part of the Mission Initiative: Joining Hearts and Hands campaign of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Though the Joining Hearts and Hands funding expired at the end of their first term, they continue their service in Northern Thailand. This is the first of two articles about their work.
Brett Faucett, Presbyterian, registered nurse and amateur photographer, is more comfortable being behind the scenes than the point of focus. It was that type of behind-the-scenes role that he initially sought out in his ministry as a mission co-worker with the Church of Christ in Thailand’s AIDS Ministry (CAM).
“At the beginning I focused more on helping the staff with their English correspondence, report writing and overall documentation of the work that they are doing, both with photography and with video,” Faucett said. He also built and maintained the organization’s website and updated its blogs.
“When I was made aware of a facilitators training seminar on HIV and AIDS, called Channels of Hope, that was being held down in Bangkok, I was encouraged by the CAM staff to attend it,” said Faucett, who was reluctant.
Run by World Vision, Channels of Hope trains facilitators to lead three-day HIV and AIDS workshops for religious leaders.
“I attended the training really out of obligation and peer pressure,” Faucett said. “I liked being more behind the scenes — not the one out there doing the facilitating.”
But he went — and was transformed by the experience.
“When I went through the facilitators training course I was forced to think over the tough questions that we ask our participants when leading the workshop — I had to question what do I really believe, and how do I live my life and follow those beliefs?” Faucett said.
The workshops focus on religious leaders, who have a significant influence not only in their congregations, but also in the community. It is often within the church that those living with HIV and AIDS encounter some of the worst stigma and discrimination.
“I’ve seen people going from being inadvertently judgmental to having compassion and understanding for those living with HIV,” said Faucett. “It is beautiful and touching to see that transformation.”
One of the key components of Channels of Hope, according to Faucett, is moving participants away from an ‘us and them’ mentality toward a mentality of ‘us.’
“We are all part of the problem, and we are all part of the solution,” he said.
Throughout the course, participants are involved in role play, confidential questionnaires and other activities designed to coax out conversation about what can be very delicate subjects — AIDS, sexuality and the Christian faith.
“We tell the participants on the first day that we are going to be talking about very uncomfortable topics and that their ideas will be challenged,” Faucett said.
Participating in the training and now facilitating it himself has brought a shift in Faucett’s understanding, challenging him to be more aware of how he speaks of those living with HIV.
“It really challenged me in how I wanted to be treated but was not willing to treat others,” he said.
One particular activity brought this point home. In it, three questions are asked, and participants are urged to write down their immediate, honest, gut reaction.
“In the first situation, a man comes up to you at the mall and taps you on the shoulder and says, ‘I have AIDS.’ My reaction was, “Why are you telling me? I’m sorry,” Faucett said.
In the second situation it is one’s partner who makes the statement to the participant, and in the third situation it is the participant that is in the position of having to confess this information to their partner.
“What I realized, in going through this, was how ashamed I was and embarrassed that I didn’t treat my loved one the way I wanted to be treated,” Faucett said.
His hope is that others, especially church leaders, can experience a similar transformation through this training.
“I hope that the church community can see that HIV is a symptom of broken relationships and that they can be instrumental in building up those relationships with love and understanding — and less judging,” Faucett said. “I hope that we, as a community, can love our neighbor as ourselves — even if that neighbor has HIV.”
To make a donation to the Faucetts’ work in Chiang Mai, visit Interserve and indicate ‘Faucett Family’ under partner support.
Late in January 2011, Kenyan Minister for Special Programmes caused otrage when she said:
"In Cuba, when President [Fidel] Castro was still very strong, anybody who was tested with HIV and AIDS was actually locked somewhere and once you went in, you did not come ou,". Esther Murugi, minister for special programmes, added at a meeting with members of parliament on HIV/AIDS. "I don't know whether we should be that drastic or what we should do. But sometimes I think, maybe that is what we should do so that those who are ill are locked in."
Many of us were upse about this, but a World Vision trained "Channel of Hope" did not ony complain to friends, he was an advocate for those who do not have a voice, by writing to his local press. Abdulrahman Khatete was trained as facilitator in World Vision's combined Christian Muslim CoH training.
Thank you for being a Channel of Hope!
|Newspaper response from Muslim CoH facilitator.jpg||865.11 KB|
Published by World Vision April 2009
Study Purpose : To identify the strengths and weaknesses of CoH within different contexts in Africa in order to inform and guide WV’s future CoH programs to mobilize and strengthen faith-led, community based and child focused responses to HIV and AIDS across Africa.
Study Objectives :
1. To document the ways that the CoH process has been operationalized in various contexts and its role and performance in mobilizing faith communities in responding to HIV&AIDS.
2. To analyze findings of qualitative outcomes of CoH in various contexts (cultural, urban/rural, different congregations) and the influence CoH has had on enhanced integrated ministry focus of WV Africa.
3. To produce a set of recommendations for WV’s future CoH programming.
4. To use findings to change policy and practice in faith organizations and partners of such.
You can find this summary attached below (85pg)
|Channels of Hope Synthesis Report final lm.pdf||1.09 MB|
Kenya: Religious groups leading the way to safer sex in a new spirit of openness and acceptance
The rate of HIV infection in Kenya is one of the highest in the world, but safer sex is at last being adopted – and it is religious groups that are leading the way, in a new spirit of openness and acceptance
Brenda Rague was 28 and about to get married when she found out that she was HIV-positive. Her fiancé tested negative, and, although shocked, Brenda knew exactly how she had been infected. A few years before, she had been working as a waitress in a hotel in the rural town of Mumias, in Kenya's Western Province. Each day a particular man would come in and leave a big tip. "He was very kind and he asked for nothing in return. So I trusted him." After six months, Brenda allowed him to take her out for a day. Six months later, she says, spreading her hands in an innocent, open gesture, "I gave myself to him. In my diary I wrote, 'I went with a man with no protection.'" But Mumias was known to have high levels of HIV. Worried, Brenda broke off the relationship.
When she discovered her status, she confronted the man from the hotel. He knew he was positive. Why had he had unprotected sex with her? "All of us will die!" was his only response. Brenda found out that he had groomed at least three other young women in a similar manner. Her fiancé is now married to someone else. Overwhelmed at the prospect of a life stricken and shortened by HIV, Brenda attempted suicide. "I thought I was good enough not to get it," she says in a small voice.
We are sitting in a cramped, bare room next to the Deliverance Church in the little village of Lumino, near Mumias. Outside, the sun beats down on the red earth road where children play, stopping to stare intently at the occasional agricultural truck lumbering past. Inside, at the regular Thursday HIV support group meeting, it is dark but calm. "We live positively," says Washington Ochieng, in his forties and the only man present. "We are healthy. We try to teach others how to live."
As the meeting breaks up, Washington, Brenda and the others mill around the church premises, along with leaders from Camp, a remarkable multi-faith organisation that consists of Catholics, Anglicans, Muslims and Pentecostals. It is a happy scene as the Deliverance pastor, Daniel Mandila, a tall, grave man, bids his guests farewell. But it is not one you would have observed a few years ago, for all sorts of dark and violent reasons.
Combat the stigma
In Mumias, nearly one in ten carries the virus, which is above the official national average. The actual average, however, may be higher than is thought. Kenya set a target of having 80 per cent of its population tested by 2010, but so far only 41 per cent of women and 25 per cent of men have done so. And the consequences of infection go far beyond the illness. Children are left to fend for themselves (there are 280,000 orphans in Western Province alone). Property they should have inherited is misappropriated by other family members. And, above all, there is stigma. It's a word you hear again and again.
“If a child tested positive," explains Hawa Omar Juma, the district superintendent of St John Ambulance in Western Province's capital, Kakamega, "the family were very uncaring. They would talk ill in front of him. 'You're a burden to us, you went away and did bad things. Now you're infected.'" Women would keep quiet if they found out they were positive. Otherwise, says Hawa, "people would say, 'She got it because of the immoralities.'" Never mind that the means of infection could have included the cultural practice of wife inheritance, whereby a brother must marry a dead sibling's widow - during which the widow may have to be "ritually cleansed" by having sex with a young man. Men have refused to wear condoms for reasons as bizarre as that they might "suffocate", or that women will then not receive nourishment from the withheld semen. Women, meanwhile, have had little power to negotiate, or even discuss, sex.
In parts of Kenya, however, this is beginning to change. I sit with Hawa, a 48-year-old mother of nine, in an office adjoining the mosque she attends in Kakamega. Next to her is the local imam, Sheikh Idris Mohammed. Hawa is discussing how most of the young people she talks to now accept that they "must do the safe sex". Suddenly she turns to the imam. "Do you do it with condoms?" she asks. Sheikh Idris looks a little embarrassed. "Yes," he answers, prompting roars of laughter from the group.
Such an exchange would not have occurred until very recently. Neither would Brenda and the others I speak to in this poverty-afflicted country - 40 per cent are unemployed and the average wage is just $400 (£245) a year - have felt able to talk openly. When Brenda told her congregation that she was HIV-positive, she says, "I expected people to say 'sinner'. But they showered me with hugs."
What has made the difference for the people I meet is a programme called Channels of Hope. Developed by Christo Greyling, an HIV-positive Dutch Reformed minister from South Africa, it aims to mobilise and sensitise faith leaders to deal with HIV education, amelioration, testing and, crucially, acceptance. Christo is a haemophiliac, so when in 1991, four years after being diagnosed, he informed his congregation in Namibia of his status, they were supportive. "They said, 'You are innocent'" - but only because they knew he had been infected by a blood transfusion. "I don't know how they would have reacted if it had been through sexual contact," he says. "It alerted me to how stigmatising the church can be."
The Christian development agency World Vision has subsequently adapted Channels of Hope for other continents. One of the biggest and most successful projects has, however, been in Kenya. By this year, 4,506 community leaders had undergone sensitising workshops lasting up to 12 days, during which they are given the tools (including a doorstopper of a manual) to help train others. The leaders are also asked to take an anonymous survey about their own sexual behaviour. The questions are startlingly frank, as are the answers. "Whoever we ask, whether it be bishops, Christians, Muslims, the results look similar," says Christo. “It makes them realise that this is not about people who are promiscuous versus 'us'. They understand they are also at risk. Once they learn about their own vulnerability, all theology flies out of the window."
Sex with wisdom
An example of this is how the Channels of Hope-trained leaders deal with extramarital sex; it is, after all, frowned upon by nearly all faiths. Do you, I ask Hawa, say that it is khalwa ("impermissible seclusion" between a man and a woman), but if you must do it, use a condom? "Yes, like that," she replies. Sheikh Idris leans in. "It says in the Quran that if you suspect something will harm you, don't do it," he says. "But if you have to, then do it with wisdom."
Some question why theology should have anything to do with development work. Why do faith-based organisations have to be involved? President George W Bush, in particular, was criticised for supposedly favouring Christian agencies, and World Vision is an example of that benefice: in 2008, it received $281m in US federal funding (as well as nearly £3m from the UK government). It is explicit about its religious mission: "Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, World Vision serves alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God's unconditional love for all people." But the organisation also insists that it "does not coerce nor demand that people hear any religious message or convert to Christianity before, during or after receiving assistance".
Michael French, director of advocacy for World Vision UK, admits that sometimes there might be "unavoidable witness": someone is impressed by the work a Christian is doing and wants to find out more about this faith. The fact is, however, that World Vision's 40,000 staff are there in 100 countries, and 80 per cent of its funding comes from private sources. Who will do their work if they do not? Besides, in Kenya at least, it is otiose to complain about faith intruding into a secular sphere. This is a highly religious country: some 85 per cent of the population of 39 million are Christian (25-30 per cent are Catholic), around 10 per cent are Muslim, a small percentage follow traditional beliefs and the numbers of those with no religion are tiny. Asked about the latter, one Kenyan development worker looked perplexed: the question simply made no sense to her.
From Kenya's capital, Nairobi, to the western borders, the roadsides are dotted with churches, often no more than corrugated iron shacks but still proudly bearing slogans advertising their purpose. From Nyanza Province's capital, Kisumu, I spot countless such signs on the journey inland from Lake Victoria to Kakamega. There is the Jesus Healing Centre, the Christ Miracle Church, the Seventh-Day Adventists and, most simply, a board declaring: "This land is the property of Jesus."
When violence broke out after the presidential elections in 2007, the churches were not spared, but they were among the first to respond. "The rioting and skirmishes were everywhere," recalls Pastor Daniel. His family fled. While he is Luhya, the dominant tribe in the area, his wife is Kikuyu, the same as President Mwai Kibaki, whose alleged vote-rigging sparked protests that led to more than 1,000 deaths and 600,000 people being displaced.
“Five times people came to burn down my house," recalls Pastor Daniel. "Even members of my own congregation said that they couldn't guarantee our safety." Father Blaise Masumbuko, the local Catholic priest, was also threatened by a marauding gang. "They said, 'You're a Kikuyu, you're not a Kenyan. You're not even a human being.' " He managed to escape only after promising to bring them money and then jumping into a passing car.
But, says Pastor Daniel, just as "this place was the first to have problems, it was also the first to have peace". He and the other leaders of Camp went to see the district commissioner to argue for immediate action. The DC, Samuel Laboso, acknowledges how vital their role has been. "Luos, Luhyas, Kikuyus - Camp draws from all ethnic groups," he says, when we meet in his office. "Intercommunity action is very important in bringing peace." Pastor Daniel nods. "We are going to ensure, through God's grace, that we are reconciled," he adds.
Learning to live together
Camp has been able to use the Channels of Hope training because great care has been taken to adapt to the teachings and strictures of non-Protestant faiths, with special material for Muslims and a sensitivity towards Catholic teaching on condom use. Emphasis is placed on information, rather than overly firm guidance, and a distinction is made between using prophylactics for birth control and to prevent HIV. Especially so, for instance, in marriages where one partner is positive and the other negative.In front of a group of these so-called "discordant" couples, gathered in a wooden bungalow just outside Mumias, 51-year-old Joseph Sitech gives his testimony. Already married with five children when his brother died in 2001, Joseph had to "inherit" his brother's remaining wife. "It was not my wish," he says, but great pressure was put upon him, and after drinking the local brew he "found" himself with his brother's wife that night. It was only after his third child by his new wife became sick that they were tested: both wife and child were HIV-positive.
“The community stigmatised us, even in church," he says. His first wife had left him when he inherited his brother's wife; the family was fraught with despair and anger. Joseph's local priest, sensitised in the Channels of Hope programme, spent lengthy sessions counselling the first wife. "And then," says Joseph, "the love came back into the house." He and his second wife are now regulars at the group, learning how to live together as a discordant couple.
As well as "working hard on her salvation", Brenda is studying for a certificate in catering and hopes one day to be a hotel manager. Although she was knocked down by a tractor last year and must walk on crutches, Hawa continues to visit widows, orphans and others affected by HIV. As one of her assistants, Abdallah Maende, says: "It is about how to break the silence with love and compassion."
In the face of such stories and statements as these, cavils about clerics and conversions appear irrelevant. In Mumias and Kakamega, it is religious groups that are healing divisions in communities where neighbour turned upon neighbour less than two years ago, and they who are removing stigma and ignorance about HIV. It takes no faith to see that, here, they are channels of hope indeed.
Published by World Vision September 2011
Abstract: Subtitle: "Russian Federation, Romania and Armenia Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon, Georgia and Afghanistan. Abbreviated report: Findings and recommendations"
The main purpose of this evaluation is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the CoH methodology within the different contexts and sub-regions/countries in MEER, in order to inform and guide WV’s future utilisation of CoH for mobilisation and strengthening of community-based and child-focused responses to HIV across MEER.
You can find this document attached below (27 pg)
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See more about the exciting work of World Vision with CABSA's Channel of Hope Programme:
Rev David Richards and his wife from Edinburg visits a programme they support in Kenya:
Logy also shared information about another video:
"I have just seen this short video clip (Spanish) which was produced by a few pastors who attended a Channels of Hope workshop, and decided that they want to let people know that they are available for counselling. Even if people do not understand the language - the story is striking. The men in the video are the pastors. The lady is acting. "
I was responsible for revising and editing the latest Portuguese edition of the CoH Facilitator’s Manual, and for translating new materials, and I also had the privilege of accompanying Logy Murray to Maputo recently. As an interpreter, my obvious role was to ensure the easy flow of information between Logy and her team of trainers and trainees. I also took the opportunity to consolidate my written work, making certain that the guide’s terminology follows the guidelines set by World Vision Mozambique.
As an academic with extensive teaching experience, both at UNISA and the University of the Witwatersrand, and as an external examiner at the University of Cape Town, please allow me to express my opinion on the CoH structure and content for I have seldom come across a course that is so solid and well conceived for its rigour and thoroughness.
Only the creative incorporation of techniques that are varied and dynamic allows for the flow and logic sequence of several topics that, under normal circumstances, would require a much longer period of time to be covered and properly understood.
The fact that the different components (from scientific detail to human and religious content) are so well interwoven and supported by a most enticing PowerPoint has ensured clarity throughout the presentations. This is further backed up by a very well conceived Manual and a Facilitator's CD!
Assessment and evaluation also impressed me and are very much in line with the general approach of the CoH programme which gives full attention to detail. The evaluation sheet is very well planned and complete, and takes into account, in total fairness, a variety of aspects and possibilities. I can only imagine the time and effort involved in its design - very much a reflection of the level of commitment of all parties involved.
CoH is, without a doubt, one of the best teaching/training tools that I have encountered and I have no hesitation in recommending it. I congratulate its authors and contributors heartily. May all very effectively harness their experience and resourcefulness to ensure the successful completion of their tasks.
A group of 23 participants enjoyed the journey of the “Channels of Hope” training in Johannesburg. Coming from various countries in Africa, as well as two participants from Romania. Twelve of the participants were World Vision staff, working in communities as Health and HIV development workers, and nine of the participants were coming from communities, serving there as faith leaders.
As with all the CoH trainings, this was once again a deep transformational experience – opening hearts and minds to consider “us” as being vulnerable, stigmatizing, and rejecting people living with HIV and AIDS. Durnig the stigma session, the session about “Living with HIV participants had the opportunity to listen to one another, learning from experience of brothers and sisters.
Two very special factors made this training unique: (1) We had two brother from Romania, from the Orthodox Church, of which one is also a priest. Costel Naclad shared with us some of the traditions and songs from the Orthodox Church, and Gabriel Mitroi about the children in Romania living with HIV in a country with low HIV prevalence. These two brothers helped us to embrace the rich diversity within our Christian faith.
(2) One of our trainers, also not a World Vision staff member, was Danford Mwaba. A pastor from Zambia, trained in CoH and with a unique life story – he shared with us his talent to write and compose songs. His song “This is my life story” became a hit amongst participants.
Durnig our “special evening”, we enjoyed the cultures from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Uganda, South Sudan, Ghana and Lesotho.
As an organization and as participants coming from various countries, we thank CABSA for sharing this wonderful tool – the “Channels of Hope” materials and training – with us!
CoH Master Trainer in World Vision.
Lyn's Comment: As many of you know, World Vision present a Christian/Muslimversion of the Channel of Hope training in countries with a large Muslim representation. This co-version adds interesting new dimensions to the impact of Channels of Hope. Peter wrote the following report about his experience. We would like to thank him for permission to share this and I would encourage your feedback and comments!
Demystifying Christian/Muslim Relations:- HIV and AIDS as a Unifying Factor - The Kenyan Experience.
By Pete Fusire
Recently I attended an Interfaith Channels of Hope Facilitators Training at Jumuia Beach Resort in Mombasa, Kenya where, beyond my normal comprehension Christians and Muslims spend 12 days staying together, sitting together and sharing information and experiences on HIV and AIDS. Everywhere, the two religions have lived in contempt of and conflict with each other to the extent of declaration of Fatwa and Jihad. I shall not write on behalf of the Muslims but make important comments on the experiences I learnt from this training. Furthermore, this article has been written to solicit debate and discussions on how best these two religions can best work together to fight HIV and AIDS.
Fanaticism has reared its ugly head in both religions with suicide bombers taking a toll of many lives the world over. Christians view Muslims as being violent and extremist and in my view this has created a defensive attitude by Muslims towards Christians. If people concentrated on the teachings of Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) without comparison of the two, this world would be a better place to live in.
The purpose of the training was not to convert one another to the other’s religion but to work together for the good of those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. This was to remove stigma that is rife between Muslims and Christians. This helped to create an atmosphere of mutual co-existence. The guiding principles from the Bible and Qur’an were read and reflected upon by all the participants and areas of synergy found which could foster Inter-faith partnership in the fight against stigma and discrimination with regards to HIV and AIDS. From these reflections we realised that what Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) preached was similar though from different perspectives. Both religions emphasise the need to show compassion, love and forgiveness to our neighbours. Muslims and Christians are neighbours hence there is also need to show compassion, love and forgiveness to each other as human beings. The parable of the Samaritan is a good case in point.
Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad used stories (parables) and the direct teaching from the Bible and the Qur’an respectively to help people of their time understand their messages, therefore, the Channels of Hope Training, every morning started the day with reflections on the guiding principles from the Bible and Qur’an. A Christian and Muslim perspective would be given respectively to reflect on the Biblical and Qur’an guiding principles. One of the issues that Christians and Muslims struggle with a lot is the use of condoms. More often than not most Christians and Muslims associate condoms with promiscuity. You cannot find a verse in the Bible or Qur’an that talks about condoms but as a Christian you use “Wisdom from Heaven” and as a Muslim you use “Wisdom from Allah”. It is here that we as people who are endowed with the power of thought use that wisdom endowed on us by God/Allah to do good to protect one another in a healthy way. In Islam there is a Hadith of the beloved Prophet Muhammed which says, “Don’t harm yourself and don’t harm other people.” The Bible says in Hosea, “My people perish because of lack of knowledge.”We need to make a reflection of the scriptures and use the wisdom we acquired from above.
Muslims and Christians have a lot in common when it comes to compassion, love and forgiveness. The following guiding principles used in the training programme would lend credence to the above statement.
Muslim Guiding Principles;
- We are compelled by Allah’s love.
- We should accept as Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) accepted.
- Serve Allah in the practical aspects of love and compassion.
- Utilise the wisdom from Allah.
- Break the silence by speaking the truth with compassion.
- Be Allah’s Ambassadors.
- Uphold the value and dignity of human life.
Islamic religion has been viewed with scepticism and more often than not associated with violence. From the Channels of Hope Training I came to realise that Islam is not about violence but compassion, love and forgiveness. The guiding principles above give credence to the religion’s endeavour for people to love one another for the benefit of mankind. When they talk of upholding the value and dignity of human life they do not segregate between the healthy and those infected by HIV and AIDS. For example, they support the use of the condom as a preventive method as long as it is used to protect one another from harm and to maintain a healthy sexual relationship between couples. There has been a lot of stigma from the Islamic brotherhood because people could not use wisdom from Allah to discern what was good and bad.
Christian guiding principles;
- Our actions are compelled by the love of Christ.
- Accept others as Christ accepted you.
- Perform practical deeds of love and compassion to your neighbour.
- Speak and act with wisdom from above.
- Break the silence and challenge stigma as you speak the truth in love.
- Live a life of hope.
- Identify with the suffering body of Christ.
The statement below from the Southern Cross summarise the Christian perspective on HIV and AIDS that was incorporated in the training.
“A Theology of AIDS will make it clear that God did not send AIDS as punishment, it will reveal the compassionate dimension of our Christianity, and it will seek to give us a spark of hope in the darkness. Crucially, that will reflect that AIDS concerns all Christians, a notion that is neatly encapsulated by the analogy: The Body of Christ has AIDS (The Southern Cross, February 26-March 4, 2003).
All Churches teach that the Church is the Body of Christ. If you analyse the practices in these Churches, you might find other models for being church that are incompatible with the Body of Christ model, for example informed by consumerism or tribalism, actual suppression of women or misuse of children, or stigmatisation of the sick and the poor. As Christians, let our minds be of things that are eternal, as it is said in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “Three things will last forever-faith, hope and love-and the greatest of them all is Love.” Jesus Christ never discriminated against anyone in his time, hence his confrontation with authorities at every turn.
Inter-faith meetings like the ones being held in the coastal region of Kenya will help people reflect and more often than not change attitudes that Christians and Muslims might have of each other. HIV and AIDS has made Christians and Muslims in Kenya to realise that after all they are drinking from the same bowl, only using different utensils.
The coastal region is predominantly Muslim but there have been partnerships with Christian communities especially in Marafa Region in an effort to combat the effects of HIV and AIDS. A lot of interfaith meetings have taken place were religious leaders share information on best practices. Pregnant mothers from both religions meet at antenatal clinics to get information on PMTCT funded by World Vision. Interfaith partnerships are now very common in Kenya. I wish this could translate to our Zimbabwean scenario.
As a concluding remark , the following statement made by the World Council of Churches in 2001, in my view sums up the need to network with other people of good will regardless of their religious affiliation including Muslims in the fight against HIV and AIDS;
“The Church is an influential and powerful institution, with the potential to bring about change. The intention is that its activities become more effective, efficient and sustainable as a result of greater coordination, better networking, strengthened communication, and mechanisms for working together, building on each other’s experience and success, and avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort”.
Therefore, the official message of Christians should not contradict what people are reading from their actual life. Lets speak with one voice for the good of mankind, after all HIV does not discriminate on religious lines.
Peter Martin Fusire is the National HIV and AIDS Coordinator with Assemblies of God PMU Inter-life (Sweden) Projects but writes in his personal capacity. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or cell +263772385261.
The workshops processes themselves are always very dramatic. They are usually begun with very stigmatize and discriminative situation, shown by the pretest, hypothetical scenario and agree or disagree session, but changed drastically after 3 situations, stigma and story from PLWH session, shown by the post test. I think this is one of the best workshop model that not only reaches participant's cognitive but also touches the deepest part of their heart to understand what other people really feel in their utmost sorrow and give response in more positive way.
It is 14 months now since I was trained as a facilitator. I am using channels of Hope Facilitator’s manual of which you and Logy Murray are authors. I have been involved in HIV and AIDS trainings, counseling, advocacy and Home based care programs since the year 2000, but I should confess that this particular manual that you compiled has both challenged me to give myself more to HIV and AIDS programs as well as making me a better and effective facilitator. The presentation compiled in this manual is excellent. Allow me to say;THANK YOU FOR THE JOB WELL DONE; God bless you and your family. Our news letter has stories on how Bishops, pastors and many other Christians and the rest have been transformed by our teaching we present in the HIV and AIDS workshops. Many churches are now involved in advocacy, care and support of the OVC.
A Report by Logy Murray in June 2008.
Report by Alba Castillo on work done with the Channels of Hope programme
Read the attached report from one of the facilitators
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Report by Sheikh Hassan Kinyua Omari
Channels of Hope (COH) teachings on HIV and AIDS have been an important channel to interfaith dialogue as it has been to HIV and AIDS lessons. Although the Channels of Hope are designed to train and educate people on HIV and AIDS, of late it has connected between Muslims and Christian by the fact that both religions face HIV and AIDS as a problem which must be countered with cooperative efforts with the recent Muslim Christian Manual which is an important asset to all the stakeholders.
Before beginning of CoH participants always share brief teachings of both religions (Islam and Christianity). This helps a lot especially to those who know nothing about the other faith.Infact it encourages participants of different faiths to dialogue with the others for deeper understanding. For any difficulty the faith leaders in the workshop or training give guidance on whichever matter which needs to be addressed. Every morning there must be two guiding principles (from each faith) this forms basis for dialogue in the entire day. At the end of the workshop or training the participants become transformed from whatever they were to interfaith advocates.
But what motivates interfaith dialogue? One of the motivating factors is that HIV and AIDS do not discriminate on basis of religion, colour, race or gender. It affects anyone as long as conditions of infection are met. In addition, when we study the teachings of the religious founders we realize that they advocated for interfaith dialogue. This motivate to us share our faith experiences with other believers and shape one another in one way or another.
Prophet Muhammad used be the custodian of peoples’ valuables (hence his title Al Amin-The trustworthy) many of whom were non Muslims. In fact during migration from Mecca to Medina he left his Cousin and son in law Ali bin Abi Talib for no other reason but to deliver the valuables to the owners. This is one way of his practical teaching of interfaith cooperation. If he was not part of interfaith advocates he could not agree to be custodian of other people’s valuables but for only Muslims.
On the other side Jesus tried his level best to dialogue with the Jews despite their arrogance and enimity.It is for this reason that Pope John Paul during the course of his pontificate met with Muslims over 50 times, much more often than all the previous Popes in history. In his speeches, he repeatedly underlined several important themes. One his most referred to statement on interfaith “we both worship the One and Same God and that both communities seek to do God’s will in all things.” Although we may disagree on many points, the fact that Muslims and Christians are grandsons of Ibrahim and come before the same God gives a depth of importance to the effort to live well together on this planet.
The Second Vatican Council document Nostra Aetate presents key points of contact which ought to be the basis for mutual trust and respect. The document notes the importance that Muslims give to prayer, concern for the poor, and fasting as a spiritual discipline, and refers to the great respect that Muslims have for Jesus and Mary as elements of Islamic faith that should form a sense of fellow-feeling between Christians and Muslims. In Islam, Mary is considered the holiest and greatest of all women who ever lived, a sinless virgin who gave birth to Jesus Christ.
The holy Qur’an calls for interfaith dialogue when it says, “You will find the nearest in affection to those who believe [the Muslims] are those who say, ‘We are Christians.’ This is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant.”
Finally, in his many discourses, the Pope elaborates on the “common mission” given by Nostra Aetate to Christians and Muslims that they should work together, for the benefit of all, in the four key areas of social justice, moral values, peace and freedom.
I have had occasion to facilitate in The Channels of Hope workshops and training In Turkey, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, Somaliland and Tanzania where Muslims and Christians sit together, share a lot. At the end of all the trainings and workshop the participants testify that ignorance is the greatest enemy. In the trainings we always ensure that trust is established. With trust interfaith dialogue is not only possible, but is very rewarding.
In Kenya I have had chance and privilege to teach in Christian universities, to stay in their homes and to welcome them to mine, to share meals together, and to discuss at length what is deepest in my life and in theirs, that is, our personal experience of God in our lives, how we pray, what it means to do God’s will, and our response to God’s loving and forgiving
We (Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims) advice Christians and Muslims in dialogue to recognize that the problems of our world are of such complexity that the two communities are often pitted one against the other and, moreover, that many of the troubles arise not from external factors but rather from those who identify themselves as Muslims or Christians. Therefore interfaith dialogue should be a continuous process despite the tensions and conflicts of our time.
Just to show how CoH can also change attitude: Between 22nd May and 27th May 2011 World Vision Somalia organized CoH workshop for Muslim Religious leaders where I was the lead facilitator. There was a lot of suspicion on what World Vision was doing in Muslim land. But after a brief introduction of how World Vision and Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims engaged each other on HIV and AIDS program, all the participants appreciated the presence of World Vision in Somalia and pledged their support and cooperation with WV. In fact Pastor Alex Njukia became a good friend to the sheikh some of who preferred calling him “Ali”
On HIV and AIDS you can imagine at the beginning of the workshop someone saying "we sheikhs don’t need to be tested because we are clean."
I told them HIV and AIDS is not all about being clean....At the end of the 5- day training the 25 sheikhs agreed that everyone is at risk.
About women, we taught them that all reproductive decisions should be made by women! This was unacceptable to them. But after going through the “tough stuff” question which challenges our views and attitude the participants agreed that women must be consulted in anything pertaining their bodies.
In one testimony an 18 year old girl explained how she was infected by her husband whom she was forced to marry by her parents 3 years back when she was only 15 and the man was 27yrs old!!! This was an opener to many sheikhs who had never seen a positive person. They also agreed with us that HIV and AIDS is not meant for any particular person like the unmarried or promiscuous but can also infect the married!
In conclusion I must thank madam Eulogia Murray and Reverend Christo Greyling both from World Vision who introduced us to this worthy Channels of Hope.CABSA will never be forgotten for their continuous support and their efforts towards Channels of hope which have really boosted interfaith cooperation in communities. Lastly my definition of Channels of Hope is that it is magic which change the unchangeable and which transforms the world to a better living place while instilling hope to the hopeless.
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What is SAVE?
CABSA, INERELA+ and many of our partners promotes the ‘SAVE’ approach to HIV, a response that was originally formulated by the leaders of the African Network (ANERELA+). The SAVE approach provides a more holistic way of preventing HIV by incorporating the principles of the ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful and Condom use) as well as providing additional information about HIV transmission and prevention, providing support and care for those already infected and actively challenging the denial, stigma and discrimination so commonly associated with HIV.
The SAVE prevention methodology has been used and taught by INERELA+ for eight years and is finally available as a comprehensive toolkit. This toolkit systematically tackles the stigma, shame, denial, discrimination, inaction and misaction around HIV and AIDS, and comprehensively gives information related to HIV and methods of HIV transmission and how to mitigate these. A major challenge for faith leaders on HIV has been the lack of skills in addressing sex, sexuality and gender in their faith communities. This toolkit gives users a step by step methodology of addressing sensitive issues in an open, informative and non-stigmatising way which does not avoid otherwise difficult issues. (more info and a download link for the Toolkit can be found here)
CABSA and INERELA+ now have the opportunity to offer a three day training for churchleaders involved in HIV on the use of the toolkit.
Treaining will take place in Gaueteng and the Western Cape over the next few months, and in KwaZulu Natal in partnership with KZNCC.
More information will be provided in the announcement section of this website and in social media.
AIDSLink is a partner of CABSA licensed to present Channels of Hope facilitators training.
"This is, as far as I know, the first time in the history of Myanmar that a local church has paid for a workshop conducted by foreigners", said Pastor Go Chin.
Over 50 pastors and Christian leaders attended a two day workshop hosted by New Life Church and conducted by CABSA partner AIDSLink International.
They had invited the team because they realised that HIV was an issue in Myanmar which they were increasingly facing but didn't know how to deal with. During the workshop they heard first hand testimony from someone living positively with HIV, they grappled with difficult issues about the response of the church and came to realise that HIV was not a problem "out-there", but also in the church itself.
One participant remarked, "I am quick, too quick, to pass judgement and like to hide from difficult subjects".
Story Updated: Oct 8, 2011 at 12:38 AM ECT
Young men had been becoming ill, deteriorating rapidly and dying. But by the time his body was wheeled into the last room of a corridor at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital there was a name for the mystery illness. It was 1984 and his was Barbados's first HIV diagnosis.
"Fear and panic broke out among the staff," retired nurse, Hilda Thompson remembered. "I put on five pairs of gloves, four gowns, three caps, three pairs of overshoes, two goggles, many masks."
The flow of facts about HIV followed—that it is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate and breast milk but could not be passed on through a hug, a touch, a kiss, a talk. Thompson moved from a place of fear to one of empathy and action.
"I began to experience guilt. I thought about how I would feel if I was that person on that bed and nobody came to spend time comforting me and showing they cared," she recalled.
Paediatrician Maria Dillon-Remy was at the Port of Spain General Hospital in 1985 when the first HIV positive babies were being born. With no treatment or testing system in place the only way to tell whether a mother was positive was when her baby became ill.
"I remember the specific case of an 18-year-old mother whose baby passed away at six weeks. The doctor literally threw her hands in the air. She was expected to give compassion and hope to her patients but was herself devastated," Remy recalled.
From 1993 to 2004 Thompson would go on to head the national clinic for people living with HIV in Barbados and develop a compassionate model for their care, treatment and support.
"By the time I retired the government had been able to give antiretroviral therapy (ART) to clients for two years. When we first formed the support group by the time you worked through the process with someone and gave them a sense of community there would be just a few months before they passed on. Now they are living long and strong," she reported proudly.
In 1999 Dillon-Remy helped pilot the Prevention of Mother to Child Treatment (PMTCT) system in Tobago before it rolled out to Trinidad the following year.
"In the beginning medical personnel didn't believe women would want to be tested for HIV but once they understood what it meant for their babies—that it was possible to treat them and so reduce the chance of passing it on—women agreed. I'm hoping to reach the stage where we eliminate mother to child transmission," Dillon-Remy said.
Thompson and Dillon-Remy have learned through time and commitment that strides in the HIV challenge are possible. They also share the conviction that it isn't enough to contribute to the response in their professional capacities. Both were among the contributors to the Channels of Hope HIV/AIDS Facilitators Training Course hosted by Operation Mobilisation Caribbean (OM Caribbean) in partnership with AIDSLink International and OM T&T.
Held in Trinidad last month, this was the first time that the global Christian HIV sensitisation programme was conducted in the region. Participants from eight Caribbean countries took part in an intensive week of workshops on HIV, gender, prevention, stigma and discrimination and Christian doctrine. Channels of Hope is based on the premise that the Christian community has a duty to educate about HIV and help eradicate stigma and discrimination.
Organiser Merle Ali, a Trinidadian, who participated in the course with her husband in India several years ago, had been pushing to give people from the region the experience. Her own introduction to HIV took place during her years as a nurse in wards in the United States and England.
"I was able to interact with a lot of HIV positive patients. I felt deeply moved by how stigmatised they were and the way they were treated," Ali said. Among Channels of Hope's approaches are interactions with people living with HIV/AIDS. Like these medical professionals, participants are able to put a human face to the virus while confronting their own fears, misconceptions and intolerance.
Participant and Jamaican University of Technology lecturer, Janice Wissart, called for a shift from denial and judgment to realism and compassion in the Christian community.
"In my eyes I think it is very difficult to say you are a Christian and not know the element of love," she said. "I don't see how you can love and say that HIV is not your business. People living with HIV are our brothers and sisters. If we move away from the idea of punishment and judgment we have a better chance of controlling what is happening through awareness and responsibility for our actions and the consequences of our actions." Dillon-Remy added that Christians must become an "HIV competent community".
"We must speak the truth," she insisted. "But we must do it in love." For these women the HIV challenge is every bit the Christian assignment: what would Jesus do?
A key aspect of that response is sharing messages that speak to both Christian ideals and life's realities.
"Condoms have a place. Not everyone is going to abstain or be faithful. Yes we do have our guiding principles but what is the reality that exists?" challenged Ali.
Thompson said: "Of course we talk about abstinence but we also know that in our churches and in the country there are people who may also be infected. We have to let people understand the need to be responsible for their own sexuality and protect themselves and others."
The prevention assignment is urgent. By 2015 the region must reduce its new infections by 50 per cent. Ernest Massiah, Director of the UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team pointed to new research which proves that early treatment reduces the risk of transmitting the virus by 96 per cent. He also noted that if the Caribbeam is to reduce its one percent adult HIV prevalence, all hands are needed on deck. (T&T's adult prevalence is 1.5 per cent.)
"Religion involves large segments of the population. We need to see what opportunities there are to speak with religious leaders to find out where they have been involved and where they feel they can contribute," he said "Respect, dignity and love are what we require as human beings and as Caribbean citizens. These core values are shared in our churches, temples and mosques."
In June our governments signed on to a Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS in which they committed to "create enabling legal, social and policy frameworks in each national context in order to eliminate stigma, discrimination and violence related to HIV". Massiah stressed that governments can't accomplish these goals on their own. The buy-in of all communities is key.