"In the Nigerian city of Lagos, home to almost eight million souls, WACC [World Association for Christian Communication] works with Hope for HIV/AIDS International (HFA) to promote acceptance of people with HIV/AIDS. 'Mainstream society tends to ostracize whole families because of HIV/AIDS in violation of their rights', says Dr. Sarah Macharia, WACC's Kenya-born program manager for HIV/AIDS communication and stigma. So WACC is helping HFA sponsor a communication training program for Christian and Muslim clergy to combat the stigma. Upon completing the joint training program, Christian pastors receive a wooden cross tied with a red ribbon. Muslim imams get a wooden crescent tied with a red ribbon". "After training, clergy return to their congregations and act as communicators to challenge the stigmatization of affected people and their kin. The clergy remain the principal purveyors of information in their regular ongoing interactions with congregants. But at the same time, there's a 'knock-on effect in the congregations, a snowball effect', Macharia says".
Four page insert (1-4) with December 2012 issue of Anglican Journal. Special Report: Communication and Human Rights.
"The theme of this year's International AIDS Conference was `Access for All'. Special attention was being given to the role of communities in combating the AIDS epidemic. A significant dimension of community response was found in the work of faith-based organizations and the growing forms of collaboration among them". Prior to the International AIDS Conference, "the Christians, Muslims and Buddhists organized separate pre-Conference meetings for their own communities. The Pre-Conference meetings focused on workshops, sharing and discussions in the light of their particular religious teachings, principles and experiences." "The presence and involvement of faith-based actors at this particular Conference was the largest and most active to date."
Author is Manager of St. John's Cathedral HIV Education Centre in Hong Kong.