Sustainable Development Report 2010 Sustainable Development Report 2010

Making effective and sustainable HIV education a reality

In February and March 2010, and with the support of Harmony's corporate social investment (CSI) programme, HIV&Me delivered its HIV & AIDS Prevention and Management Teacher Training programme to 10 schools in Welkom in the Free State province and to 10 schools in Randfontein in Gauteng. The distance of these schools, primarily those in the Welkom district, from urban hubs means that they are often not accessible to locally based NGOs and are usually not included in NGO interventions, making HIV&Me even more of an imperative.

HIV&Me is an initiative which empowers schools and educators with the tools, language and content to improve learners' psycho-social skills and scientific knowledge of HIV & AIDS. The aim is to enable learners to make informed choices about their health and sexual behaviour, to enable them to prevent HIV transmission and to manage their status if they are HIV-positive.

The programme focuses on a gap within the education sector to develop a sustainable framework for HIV & AIDS lessons within the school curricula. HIV&Me strives to fill this gap by equipping school educators with an education programme that targets at-risk groups within a classroom environment.

Induction meetings are first conducted to reinforce programme requirements with school management and educators and to assess the specific needs of the school concerned. The latter determines whether any specific challenges need to be explicitly addressed during the training sessions, such as gender violence or teenage pregnancy.

Teacher training workshops follow, during which educators receive experiential training on eight HIV&Me lessons as well as an HIV & AIDS knowledge transfer component. Open dialogue sessions are also carried out to promote each educator's comfort and confidence level and, as teachers co-teach sessions, educators are given the opportunity to practice teaching an HIV&Me lesson to their learners in the presence of an HIV&Me facilitator. Support and feedback is provided by this facilitator using coaching techniques and lesson delivery implementation plans are agreed upon and signed off.

Harmony worked hard with HIV&Me around the challenges presented by the initiative during the year under review. When poor year-end results at three Welkom schools forced a request by the Department of Education that the lessons be rescheduled out of school hours, a programme was arranged which fitted within these parameters. At a fourth school, HIV&Me provided remuneration for cover teachers to enable the lessons to continue during the school day.

“The response to the programme in both Welkom and Randfontein,” says Jackie Mathebula, Executive: Corporate Affairs at Harmony, “has been excellent and educators have found it informative and beneficial to both themselves and their learners. The creation of a safe, open and informative environment where misperceptions are dispelled and factual information disseminated has resulted in requests for the programme being made available to additional grades and other learning centres. Harmony is proud to be part of this valuable initiative and looks forward to its future successes.”