What’s the Issue on HIV and AIDS?
It is estimated that two thirds of the world’s population living with AIDS are located in sub-Saharan Africa, including Tanzania, with a large majority of those affected being women, young adults and children. People impacted by HIV and AIDS often experience poverty, homelessness, school drop-out, discrimination, loss of life opportunity and early death.
Tanzania has one of the highest national HIV and AIDS prevalence rates in the world. As the largest country in East Africa, it bears a large share of the global epidemic.
The estimated HIV prevalence rate is 8.6% among adults aged 15-49, and 65% of new infections occur among youth aged 15-24 years.
In Tanzania, lack of awareness and education, as well as gender inequality, are some of the main drivers of the epidemic.
Moreover, women and girls are disproportionally affected, influenced by factors including low educational attainment, early and forced marriage, fertility expectations, sexual violence and economic inequalities.
As a result many females as well as men do not have a basic knowledge about how their bodies work, sex or sexuality, and do not know how to prevent HIV infection. In many instances, poor family relationships and strong religious beliefs make these kinds of subjects very taboo within the family unit and so for many adolescents there is nowhere to learn about these sensitive issues. Consequently, social expectations and economic necessity mean that adolescents and women comply with sexual demands despite the lack of protection.
What is CASEC doing?
CASEC is providing fundamental information to youths, both within and out with formal education, through partner schools and their own Youth Centre, on the topic of HIV/AIDs, STIs, reproductive health and life skills. Youths are engaged in workshops, lead by peer educators, that give them the opportunities to discuss and explore such taboo topics.
- Create awareness of HIV and AIDS-related issues through schools – sensitising youths from 10 schools, from form 1 to form 4, on HIV and AIDS, and enabling 1,000 students to participate in educational workshops organised by CASEC four time per year.
- Empower youths – by identifying and training ‘Student Peer Educators’ who will help implement the project; by supporting 1,000 students in skills development, self-confidence building and assertiveness training; and by establishing and strengthening school ‘health clubs’ and libraries at each school, as a base for implementing the project.
- Develop learning materials – producing leaflets, brochures and posters, to increase awareness and understanding of the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS; and producing reports and case studies relevant to the project, to be presented to teachers, school boards, government and other NGOs.
- Talent Development – enable up to 1,000 youths to participate in various inter-school games and sports competitions, music festivals, arts and craft activities, thereby providing an additional arena in which HIV and AIDS issues can be discussed with new groups of youths.
- Training Peer Educators – empowering youths by identifying and training 120 ‘Student Peer Educators’ to facilitate sessions on HIV/AIDs and STIs within schools.