Channels of Hope in World Vision

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.

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World Vision Engages Faith Communities In HIV/AIDS Response. 6/12/2016

Published by MALAWIVOICE

As the world commemorates this year’s World AIDS Day, World Vision Southern Africa is bringing to the fore its accomplishments in mobilizing faith communities to become part of the response to HIV and AIDS. The theme for this year is ‘HIV prevention’.

Over the years, through support from World Vision, faith leaders have actively played a key role in providing physical, spiritual, psychological and other forms of care and support to both people affected and infected with HIV and AIDS.

Previously, some saw faith leaders as barriers to efforts to respond to HIV and AIDS, arguing that they were contributing to stigma and discrimination. But today World Vision believes that this perception has largely changed and faith leaders are now perceived as part of the solution.

Using the well acclaimed Channels of Hope model, that uses Bible teachings to inspire and motivate faith leaders and their communities, World Vision has been able to effectively mobilize and involve the faith community in HIV prevention care and support interventions and to tackle stigma and discrimination.

In many instances, faith leaders now live by example, share their HIV status openly and motivate congregations to rise up and get involved in HIV prevention, care and support programs.

World Vision Southern Africa director for Health, Nutrition and HIV, Dr Steven Malinga believes the role of the faith community in fighting stigma and discrimination is particularly vital if the 90-90-90 UNAIDS targets are to be achieved as stigma and discrimination are among key barriers to achieving these targets. The targets refer to ensuring 90% of people living with HIV are diagnosed by 2020, 90% of diagnosed people on are antiretroviral treatment by 2020 and 90% of people in treatment with fully suppressed viral load by 2020.

“In World Vision-supported programs the faith community has been instrumental in uniting discordant couples, families affected by HIV related gender based violence and supporting vulnerable children.                                                  It has been very fulfilling to partner with and to see the results that have been accomplished through faith leaders and their communities,” says Dr Malinga.

In addition to its work with faith communities, World Vision’s efforts with other stakeholders have seen levels of mother to child transmission drop, more people put on antiretroviral therapy and the reduction in the number of HIV related deaths

aidshopeinmalowiHe says that the end of AIDS is now considered feasible by 2030, a scenario that was unimaginable some years ago. However, he believes there is still more work to be done.

“The theme for this year –  HIV prevention – is very critical if the world is to realize the end of AIDS hence  World Vision is proud to reiterate its continued partnership with governments, communities and other stakeholders to actively engage in the response to  HIV and AIDS and improve access to HIV prevention and care and treatment services,” Dr Malinga says.

Looking forward to the years running up to 2020, World Vision is set to continue working with communities, governments, faith leaders and other partners to achieve the 90-90-90 targets.

In line with World Vision’s strategy, efforts will particularly be targeted towards elimination of new infections among children; ensuring children affected by HIV survive and thrive.  Focus also remains on adolescents as well as tackling stigma and discrimination.

In Malawi, World Vision joins Her Excellency Madam, Dr. Gertrude Mutharika, First Lady of the Republic of Malawi during the commemoration and national launch of the 2016 – 2017 World AIDS Campaign which will be held on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at Dedza Stadium. 

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World Vision, Channels of Hope and life-giving partnerships. 29/06/2015

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PDF icon WV and CABSA re CoH_v2.pdf226.86 KB

Published by World Vision
June 2015
Attachment on WV and CABSA: 227KB


WV, Channels of Hope and life-giving partnerships

Channels of Hope (CoH) lies at the very heart of World Vision’s (WV) mission – to meet the needs of the world’s vulnerable children through an integrated approach: World Vision is child-focused, community-based and Christian.

As such, the organisation is committed to working with Christian churches and other faith communities as essential community partners to collaborate in its community-owned programmes for the wellbeing of children. CoH is a catalyst that transforms and motivates faith leaders and their congregations to respond to tough development issues that affect their communities. The CoH process directly addresses faith leaders’ perceptions about especially volatile or taboo community issues, and gives them practical tools and opportunities/networks to engage.

Since WV started using the CoH methodology in 2005, more than 400,000 faith leaders and faith community members have participated in more than 17,700 workshops reaching every region where World Vision operates.  The CoH methodology now includes curricula to address child protection (CP), maternal newborn and child health (MNCH), gender and Ebola. 

 

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Becoming a Channel of Hope. 2/5/12

Thailand mission worker helps shed light on stigma of HIV/AIDS

2 May 2012

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.

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Channel of Hope Responds to Minister for Special Programmes in Kenya. 8/2/2011

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!

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Channels of Hope Study Summary Report. 4/09

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.

Contents:
-Description
-Executive summary
-CoH Rollout
-Community-Level Mobilization and Implementation
-Inputs to the Channels of Hope Program
-Impact of Channels of Hope
-Stigma
-Theological Change
-The Channels of Hope Curriculum

 

You can find this summary attached below (85pg)

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Faith, Hope and Clarity. 17/12/09

Kenya: Religious groups leading the way to safer sex in a new spirit of openness and acceptance

New Statesman

By Sholto Byrnes
17 December 2009

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.

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MEER Channels of Hope Project Evaluation. 9/11

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.

Contents:
-Executive summary
- Evaluation background
- Findings, best practices and recommendations

You can find this document attached below (27 pg)

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Channels of Hope in World Vision Videos. 11/2010

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:

 

And more: 

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. "

 

 

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Ana van Eck – Feedback on Channels of Hope.

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.   

I am most grateful for the manner in which the World Vision staff welcomed my presence and readily agreed to contribute to my task.

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.

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World Vision – Channels Of Hope Training – Johannesburg – February 2010

 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!

Logy Murray
CoH Master Trainer in World Vision.

 

 

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Report on a Christian/Muslim CoH Facilitator Training. 02/2010

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 fusirepm4@gmail.com or cell +263772385261.

 

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Candra Wijaya, World Vision Indonesia

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.

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Carrie Jones, SIL, Papua New Guinea

The (Channels of Hope) training ended yesterday, and was VERY intense but really excellent. At first I thought we wouldn’t be able to use a lot of the material in our context because so much of it is personal and highly sensitive, but Christo and the other facilitators proved that those activities are a necessary part of the process of change that must occur internally before we can be effective at helping others to recognize where they need to change to effectively love and care for infected and affected people, as well as protect themselves and others from HIV infection, be it via blood contact, mother-to-child or sexual contact. I liked the fact that the authors, facilitators and materials openly acknowledge the complexity of issues contributing to HIV spread, and help us to identify the vulnerabilities and obstacles in our area and brainstorm about possible practical solutions via the church and others in the community. It’s very adaptable, therefore, to each unique community and culture. They don’t have a “one size fits all” approach, and they seem very keen to hear what our particular challenges are. They told us what’s being done in other areas of the world, especially sub-Saharan Africa.  
I have my Masters in Public Health and completed all the course work for my Doctorate in Public Health in Epidemiology, but I learned things I never knew before about how the virus and disease work. They even gave detail on the intercellular level! As I said, this was very intensive, and on the 7th day, after our 3 hour exam in the morning, I was absolutely done in. We had afternoon sessions that day, though, and by 5:30 I was almost whimpering with exhaustion and information overload. My biggest concern, therefore, is that few people would be able to learn all that is taught. I had such a head start due to my background and English being my first language. However, I don’t know how other students did – they may have been fine and I’m underestimating their abilities. It’s just a HUGE amount of material in such a short time, although it’s quite well broken up by interactive, energizing, frequently controversial activities. It sure made us examine which of our beliefs are in-line with Scripture and ethics, and which are merely cultural or learned in our background.
... I certainly feel well-equipped, including with a beautiful “toolkit” of super helpful aids, to facilitate workshop when the time comes. We’d like to do it with pastors in our area, the church that meets on our Centre, and our employees (a condensed version, since they are not church leaders), to start with. I am also traveling to the easternmost tip of the country in 12 days to do a HIV and AIDS workshop for some PNG co-translators who are preparing to translate HIV and AIDS materials, and I will definitely apply what I learned and use some of the Channels of Hope methodology and materials for that.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this training for others throughout SIL, but I would advise they be very sharp, well-educated people as it is so intense. The more people we can equip to run workshops, the better and more effective will be our outreach, obviously.
My one other (ever present!) concern is funding as the training isn’t cheap, and running workshops will not be cheap, either. I don’t think SIL can just leave HIV and AIDS ministry to others, though, and this is an excellent way to work through existing churches and community resources, not reinventing the wheel.
Thanks again, to all who helped this happen!
Blessings.
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Pastor Patrick Siabuta Western Kenya

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.

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CoH Training in Armenia. 06/08

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A Report by Logy Murray in June 2008.

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World Vision Guatemala Report and Testimony. 06/07

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Report by Alba Castillo on work done with the Channels of Hope programme

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Channels of HOPE Connects World Vision and Logos Hope

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Read the attached report from one of the facilitators

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Faith Leaders fight Ebola

 World Vision used the Churches Channels of Hope Methodology to develop a programme on Ebola, which also played a significant role to strngthen interfaith collaboration.

 

 

 

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Channels of Hope: Golden Door To Interfaith Dialogue. 6/2011

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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