A four day EFAIDS training of trainers workshop took place from March 19-22 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The meeting brought together teachers from across the country and engaged them with EFAIDS issues which will then be communicated to wider audiences of teachers and learners in their workplaces and regions.
The workshop was coordinated by a team of facilitators including Scott Pulizzi, Educational Development Center, Odette Cossa, WHO Regional Technical Officer, Emmanuel Fatoma, Coordinator in the EI Africa Regional Office, and Abdul Rahman Sesay from the National AIDS Secretariat.
While the EFA aspect of the integrated programme was readily accepted by the participants, the HIVAIDS component met with initial opposition from some who were reluctant to openly acknowledge HIV/AIDS. This was overcome by open and courageous leadership from the President of the Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union, Abdulai Koroma, who stressed the irrefutable reality of AIDS and publicly pledged to get tested.
This initiative, together with the interactive programme of activities and discussions undertaken through the course of the workshop, convinced participants of the merits of an integrated EFAIDS programme. By the close of the session, teachers expressed their commitment and intention to address the joint issues of HIV and EFA in their schools and communities.