At the beginning of January all the Anti-SIDA (Anti-AIDS) club members gathered for a General Assembly to discuss the activities of the club over the coming months as well as making some decisions in relation to the club's structure and procedures. There was a lot of talk about the upcoming workshops, quiz events and sports events and which to prioritise as we enter the final stretch of the project.
Previously these meetings had been led by Azafady staff, however on this occasion the members of the club took on this responsibility. We are slowly handing over responsibility for the running of the club to its members, however we will continue to be on hand to them support as they build their capacity for these tasks.
Throughout January the peer educators have continued to deliver a series of workshops in their classes with the support of Pierri (Community Liaison Officer). In each of the workshops (up to 30 minutes long) they introduced their fellow students to the main themes of the project, held a small quiz and distributed over 250 vouchers for STI and HIV testing and family planning services. It was encouraging to see teachers being so willing to accommodate the workshops and to see the students being really attentive and asking lots of questions!
Teachers have played a core role throughout the project, supporting the student members of the clubs and helping greatly with logistics; it certainly would have been impossible without them. The involvement of the teachers is also going to be crucial if sexual health is to stay on the agenda at the school so that the good work started by Safidy can be continued. Pierri from the Safidy team led an engaging and participatory workshop with the teacher members of the club to help them to explore their role and to develop some further skills that they will need. Together they reviewed the aims and objectives of the Safidy project and explored the knowledge and communication skills they will need as they continue to support the student members and talk to students about sexual health in class.
January also saw the welcome return of Loes Loning who was with us from May to July last year conducting baseline research within the CEG (middle school). Loes has rejoined the Azafady team to support the development of our sexual health programmes across the organisation, the first stage of which is the comprehensive evaluation of Safidy. This has started already with the peer educators completing a questionnaire assessing changes in their behaviour, beliefs, skills and knowledge. This process will continue into February when we will conduct interviews with teachers and peer educators and a focus group from a sample of students from across the school. Only by carrying out this in-depth process can we evaluate our approach and methods and make decisions about the future direction of Azafady's sexual health activities.