“HIV/AIDS Awareness and Reduction of Stigma: Training of Trainers” was held from May 12 to May 15, 2014. The objectives of the project were twofold: increased understanding of the science of HIV including myth vs reality and increased awareness of stigma attached to HIV/AIDS and developing ways to reduce it. The participants were chosen based on their motivation and their desire to help raise HIV/AIDS awareness in their respective villages. During the training, the participants pointed out many examples of the mentality and reasoning of people from their communities regarding HIV/AIDS. In light of these examples, several small discussions were held to develop ways to deal with these specific types of faulty reasoning. The cost of implementing small scale trainings in village is negligible but the women’s association mentioned they were willing to make trips to the villages to support and facilitate the trainings.
Throughout the four day training, the participants were engaged and readily participated, asking many pertinent questions. A skit made the participants aware of the different ways HIV positive people are stigmatized at the village level. A discussion following the skit allowed for participants to discuss ways they could deal with the stigmatization in their villages. Comprehension was assessed by a pre and post-test (in local language) which were administered at the beginning and the end of the training respectively. The pre-test average was 3/13 while the post-test average was 7/13, demonstrating an increase in understanding of the science of HIV. In terms of capacity, the participants have acquired an understanding of the modes of transmission, methods of prevention, and myths vs realities of HIV/AIDS; the post test results prove this information was better understood. In terms of skills, the participants are now able to distinguish myth from reality with regards to HIV/AIDS and, given the training on methods of communication, they are now able to transmit their knowledge to other people in their respective villages. The participants also developed ways to deal with the issue of stigmatization including ways to show people how to treat and morally support an HIV positive person. What I enjoyed most about this project was the fact that the participants knew the work that lay before them and they were fully prepared to tackle it. The president of the women’s association explained that the association would be the focal point of the network of trainers and as such they would properly gather and disseminate information regarding other trainers’ activities.