On the 13th of June 2013 Africa Unite team of Human Rights Peer Educators participated on HIV and AIDS workshop held at 6 Spin street restaurant. The workshop was facilitated by the Metropolitan Foundation a non profit organization based in Bellville Cape Town which has their primary focus on HIV and AIDS education, awareness and training in the diverse communities of Cape Town.
The training was highly interesting mainly because the facilitator was a young and active female South African who stood her ground to show how youth and the community at large can be the driving engine and source of a positive paradigm shift in initiating behavioral change and addressing HIV and AIDS related issues within our communities. The facilitator used several methods such as questionnaires, pictures, games, tool kit to demonstrate what she termed a bridge of hope and others. This helped to unmask some of the myths, facts and realities that are related to HIV and AIDS and it also helped the participants to be more open and free to express their views without holding back or feeling uncomfortable.
The workshop covered from the transmission of HIV and AIDS, living positively and healthy, stigma, sexual rights and education and positive behavioral change in general. This made the session more inclusive and participatory as most people had something to share with the group. One interesting and relevant question was raised by one of Africa Unite’s peer educators on how best can parents teach their children sexual reproductive health especially in the African context where culture is a major limiting factor. She alluded that parents in most cases are not comfortable to discuss such issues with their children, and also some women tend to be at the suffering end due to the androcentric or patriarchal nature of most African societies which gives full authority to men to decide on safe sex or not.
The workshop proved to be significant to the Human Rights Peer Educators mainly because it came as a capacity building initiative in which young people can be active participants in addressing HIV and AIDS issues. It was also reiterated that there is a relationship that exists between the human rights and sex education because of the sexual rights and in general the respect and dignity that partners have to show each other in relationships and sexual encounters.