"We, the Anglican Communion across Africa, pledge ourselves to promise that future generations will be born and live free from AIDS". "Over 35 leaders, among them Provincial Secretaries and AIDS Co-ordinators from all the 12 African Provinces and the Diocese of Egypt, attended the weeklong workshop at the Ankrah Foundation in Mukono [from 26 January to 1 February 2003]."
"Something is eluding us in the fight against AIDS. When travelling through southern and eastern Africa it is impossible to dodge the dour reality of how AIDS is annihilating the community life of village and neighbourhoods, once the cornerstone and strength of the African way of life". Young men and women who are exposed to the facts about HIV and AIDS from skilled educators are still becoming infected. The author visited and spoke with community workers in South Africa. She also visited SALAMA a PWRDF partner in Nampula, Mozambique, with very explicit education and awareness programs. "Program Coordinator Yolanda Napoleao was quite candid in saying information and knowledge is not enough, Stopping AIDS is about a personal journey that includes changing behaviour. Educators find it hard to know what triggers the change". In Nairobi, Kenya, the author visited Crisis Pregnancy Ministries of Kenya (CPMK), a small faith-based NGO which emphasizes abstinence. "Secular NGOs and governments are doing a great job as they focus on the technical aspects of the problem: treatment, use of condoms, protected sex, rights of women to negotiate safe sex, etc. But as many educators assert, it is behavioural change, specifically young men's behaviour, that will ultimately have a greater impact in the battle against AIDS. CPMK puts the onus on teens to change their behaviour. And an answer to what is eluding us in the fight against AIDS among youth might just be there. Given all the information and options, young teens might be better equipped to choose a life path that leads to change because they respect life and know that AIDS kills".
"This article is the first in a series". The author is "Development Program Coordinator: Africa, Primate's World Relief and Development Fund. She recently returned from a PWRDF partners visit to South Africa, Kenya and Mozambique."
"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.