If you read the story Partnering With Communities to Reduce HIV Transmission, you’ll know Flying Mission sought applicants from local churches to train as Peer Educators. So what happened from there? Read on to see how these trainees will become agents of behaviour change within their communities, as Flying Mission teaches them to deliver HIV outreach programmes.
Having been successful in the application process, 30 trainees recently attended a five day workshop presented by FM Care Ministry staff. This workshop equips Peer Educators to deliver a life-skills programme called ‘Smart Choices.’ The Smart Choices workshop is an evangelical tool designed to help combat the HIV epidemic using Christian values to educate adolescents and young adults about relationship choices and their consequences, HIV infection and transmission.
When I attended one of these training days, Pastor Emanuel Nwako of Flying Mission told me “We are taking the message further with the mandate of Christ. The Smart Choices programme connects people with the biblical truth emphasising a better way of abstinence and faithfulness so they can make the right choices in relationships. Through this we can transform communities with hope, life and truth.”
The trainees were involved in group discussion, role play and presentations about the issue of HIV, making good choices, and biblical guidelines about love and relationships. Peer Educators put forward ideas, insight and discussion based on a shared desire to reduce HIV transmission in Botswana and see people living Christ-like lives. It was so encouraging to hear the desires of some of those training as peer educators- “To live to serve the Lord faithfully”, “To shepherd my brothers in the faith,” and “To win souls to Christ” were some of their aspirations.
Once trained, Peer Educators take the Smart Choices outreach programme to churches, youth groups, schools, villages and gathering places in the surrounding areas. The educators target people in the 15-49 year range, as this is the group with the highest prevalence of HIV in Botswana.
Our goal is for the Peer Educators to reach 2000 people by the end of the year, with information about HIV transmission, and the biblical message about love and relationships.
If you would like to support this important ministry or want more information about it, please contact the Flying Mission office, or you can donate via the How To Give page.