Nelis @ CUAHA AIDS Competence Workshop. 3-5/5/2010

Nelis du Toit (CABSA Director) and Patrick Manzini (CABSA trained Churches, Channels of Hope facilitator) were privileged to attend the CUAHA (Churches United Against HIV & AIDS) workshop in Johannesburg from 3-5 May 2010.

Participating in the further development of a participating workshop programme on HIV and AIDS Competent Churches was stimulating and encouraging. The workshop was built around the ecumenical handbook published by CUAHA: Towards and HIV and AIDS Competent Church.

The candidates who attended this workshop came from many countries, e g Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Angola representing various denominations.

According to Mr Manzini the workshop was conducted in a participatory manner. “We were encouraged to share information, ideas, concerns and knowledge. Facilitators ensured that everyone got an equal opportunity to participate. Through active listening and good questioning, they demonstrated that each person’s contribution was valuable. Facilitators helped group members to communication skills by promoting discussion. Activities such as role play and case studies were used to explore different points of view. Facilitators used games to help people to get to know each other, to give participants more energy and enthusiasm, and to help people to work together.”

One of the highlights of the workshop was the sharing of her experiences of living with the virus as well as being stigmatised by her community, by one of the participants. Her story revealed how a community, even a church community, can stigmatise people living with HIV.

According to Mr Manzini he learned the following during the workshop:
§ “That Pastors must mobilize their churches to respond to the needs in the community particularly to the epidemic of HIV.
§ “That Pastors and church leaders are encouraged to carry out integral mission, and also to envision their congregations.
§ “That a church is supposed to be a place of safety, known by its love and support to people living with HIV and AIDS.
§ “The church must accompany people and communities living with HIV and AIDS on their journeys of faith, giving them hope.
§ “Stigma and discrimination was mostly originated in the church where people living with HIV and AIDS were condemned.
§ “The church should be continuously exposed to the realities of HIV and AIDS by informing them about what is happening in their area with regard to HIV and AIDS.
§ “Information sessions should be continuous in the church to keep the members enthusiastic and updated on HIV and AIDS, and how they can respond better.
§ “The church must have a deepened understanding of the disease; growing commitment to prevention, care and support, accompanied by members’ understanding of how and why they should get involved.
§ “The church must identify team leaders to implement HIV and AIDS elements.
§ “The church must identify infected and affected orphans and vulnerable children who might need support and developing strategy to help and support them.
§ “For prevention, the church must teach value-based education to the youth and must have pre-marital counselling support.”

CABSA thanks CUAHA for the opportunity to participate in their programme.


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