RACE Otjozondjupa aims to implement the National Policy on HIV and AIDS in the Educational Sector by promoting awareness among our entire community.
Namibia ranks as one of the six countries most affected by HIV/AIDS in the world with an overall prevalence of 19.7% among sexually active adults between the ages of 15 and 49. This means that one in five Namibians aged 15-49 is infected and likely to die within the next seven years. However, these numbers do not even come close to reflecting the number of people affected by HIV and AIDS.
As a response to this reality, the Ministry of Education created the Regional AIDS Committees for Education, otherwise known as RACE, to coordinate and expand HIV and AIDS activities within the education sector. Each of the 13 regions in Namibia has a RACE program that aims to promote a greater understanding and knowledge of HIV and AIDS among school staff, learners and community members. Additionally, RACE is actively involved in familiarizing school staff, learners, and community members with the many different prevention strategies that can work for the different people of any given region. RACE strives to link together all the organizations and members of the community that are focused on putting an end to HIV and AIDS.
The Otjozondjupa Region is a vast region in the heart of Namibia, with its own unique challenges in the fight against HIV and AIDS. We have two major international highways running through our region; the B1 which runs through Angola and Namibia into South Africa, and the B8, also called the Trans-Caprivi, which runs from Botswana through Namibia. These two major thoroughfares bring with them many things, including extra opportunities for disease transmission. Furthermore, Otjozondjupa has large military installations in its three major cities, Okahandja, Otjiwarongo, and Grootfontein. The transient populations on military bases and the associated activities that occur around these bases result in an increase of the risky behavior which encourages the spread of HIV. Additionally, these realities of life in the Otjozondjupa region add to the spread of HIV because they usually involve money, sex, and the marginalization of women. As we know women bear the burden of HIV, becoming infected with HIV at a greater rate and a younger age than men.
This is where RACE Otjozondjupa can make a significant impact on the community at large. By targeting learners, we can be a positive influence on their behavior and help them make the right choices about their bodies and lives. The purpose of education about HIV and AIDS is to prevent the spread of the HIV infection, to reduce excessive fears about the epidemic, to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS, and to foster non-discriminatory attitudes towards persons with HIV and AIDS. Educators should ensure that learners and students acquire age and context appropriate knowledge and skills in order that they may adopt and maintain behavior that will protect them from HIV infection.
It is the role of RACE Otjozondjupa to develop and promote the implementation of the National Policy on HIV and AIDS in the Educational Sector. In addition to the many universally mandated tasks that RACE performs, Otjozondjupa RACE additionally accomplished the following during 2007 >
- AIDS Awareness Week – In June we hosted a week long campaign to increase awareness in the community of the continued spread of HIV. One of the cornerstones of this week long program was a wildly successful event held on 22 June 2007. In collaboration with RACOC and other HIV and AIDS stakeholders this event was held at the Central Park in Otjiwarongo. This was an event that drew hundreds of community members to the celebration and helped to increase awareness throughout the community on the importance of voluntary counseling and testing.
- Day of the African ChildWindow of Hope Training – 23 new teacers were trained this year as facilitators for Junior Window of Hope.During the week of 23-27 July a second group of 30 teachers will be trained in the Senior Windows of Hope in order to build the capacity of trained counsellors in our schools.
- Strengthening the My Future, My Choice Program – The Ministry of Education worked closely with UNICEF and the MFMC Co-ordinator to move their offices to the MoE regional office inthe begiining of 2007. We hope that this will strengthen the program and allow for the continued efforts of MFMC in our schools and communities.Currently Ms C. Kuhanga is the MFMC Co-ordinator.During the week of 9-13 April seven new MFMC facilitators were trained in Widhhoek to facilitate the programme in the Otjozondjupa region. During the week of 4-13 June 2007 Mr J. Yisa and the Ms C. Kuhanga, the MFMC co-ordinator were trained as Trainer of Trainers at Harmony Centre.
- Condom Promotion Committee: – In March 2007 this committee was establish consisting of MoE, RACOC and the Ministry of Health and Social Service. The aim of this committee is to co-ordinate the distibution of condoms in the region. During the week 18-22 June they visited all the key areas in the Otjozondjupa Region for a condom awareness and distribution campagne.
- Beginning Counseling Skills and Bereavement Counseling – We trained teachers in Basic Counseling and Bereavement Counseling so that they may act as lay counselors at each school. The goal is to assist learners with emotional, behavioral, and learning difficulties. Two teachers from each of the 10 clusters were trauned as Cluster Facilitators for Counselling.
RACE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Mr. J. A. Yisa RACE Chairperson and Regional School Counselor
Vacant RACE Coordinator
Ms. C. Shikulo RACE Secretary and Hostel Inspector
Vacant; RACE Vice-Chairperson
Ms. A. M’Bai RACE Treasurer and Literacy Officer
Ms. E. Kotze TRC Manager
Ms. C. Kuhonga My Future is My Choice Coordinator
This committee will be restructured during the third term when the Education Officer for HIV and AIDS will assume duty on 1 August 2007.
|CONTACT INFORMATION |
Ministry of Education
Phone: 067 308000
Fax: 067 304871
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 March 2010 13:08