Partnering with FBOs and church leaders to promote mutual monogamy in the Eastern Cape Province
Presentation at 3rd South African AIDS Conference, Durban, 5-8 June
Sohaba,Nathi; Esu-Williams,Eka; Tun,Waimar
Publication date: 2007
While mutual monogamy is a key behavior for preventing HIV infection, implementing programs that promote faithfulness pose several challenges, particularly for faith-based organizations (FBOs) and churches.
The Population Council, in partnership with the Eastern Cape Provincial Council of Churches (supported by the South African Council of Churches), initiated a pilot program to promote mutual monogamy (MM) for HIV prevention in five churches in Eastern Cape. A curriculum on MM was developed and used to train 48 FBO/church leaders, including 35 volunteers, to lead group workshops and provide peer counseling to church members. Activities included:Three-day training educating leaders on HIV, MM, and communication/counseling, and developing work plans.Setting up a center to offer counseling related to HIV, alcoholism, gender-based violence, and family/marital problems; referral for HIV testing; and HIV prevention information to church and community members.Conducting group workshops on MM and related issues for church members.Developing messages to ensure a common understanding and clarify misconceptions about MM.Strengthening existing ministries (men's/women's/couples' fellowships, minister's fraternal) to incorporate MM in their programs.Developing interchurch activities to promote joint action toward a common goal of promoting MM.
MM is well received by church leaders and members and resonates with church values.The intervention brings diverse church denominations, leaders, and groups to work together.A participatory process facilitates the development of FBO/church leaders' skills to confidently address sensitive issues.Wide interest in the program from other stakeholders, including Trinity Broadcasting Network and departments of health and education, has generated greater commitment among churches and FBOs.
This pilot has been well received by stakeholders. The program is being expanded to additional churches in the Eastern Cape.
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