LIBERIA: Over 40 Public Teachers Benefit From HIV/AIDS Awareness Training
Over forty (40) Public School Teachers in Rural Montserrado County have benefited from a two-day Capacity Building Trainer of Trainers (TOT) Workshop on HIV/AIDS Awareness at the Workplace.
The workshop was held from March 18-19, 2021 at the Hawa Inn Conference Hall, in Rural Brewerville, Montserrado County. The TOT workshop was organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the HIV/AIDS at Workplace Division of the Ministry of Labour.
Speaking during the opening of the workshop, ILO Country Manager, Mr. Salif Massalay said that the general goal of the workshop was to provide teachers with the knowledge and competencies that would enable them transfer HIV/AIDS awareness campaign messages to other teachers and students both in their respective schools at work places.
Mr. Massalay also said that the specific objectives of the workshop are: To give teachers the clear knowledge on awareness and prevention of HIV at the workplace and schools; to educate participants that HIV/AIDS is a labour issue and development challenge and that the impact of such issue on employees and employers; to help employees including teachers understand and apply the ILO code of practice on HIV-AIDS at the world of work at their various work places; and to examine the links between HIV and AIDS with particular reference to occupational safety and health.
The ILO Project and Country Manager, welcomed participants and informed them that the Training of Trainers (ToT) Workshop was gear towards building their capacity to promote awareness intended to reduce HIV/AIDS to a minimum. He said that though the COVID-19 hindered the implementation of the project, but hoped that as it is being implemented this year, participants will build a strong network to spread the awareness campaign.
Also speaking during the workshop was the District Education Officer (DEO) for the Right Bank-3 of Montserrado County, Mr. Marcus Gonletwo, he praised the ILO and partners for organizing such a workshop for the teachers who will further impact the training through awareness and educational programs at their various schools in the Rural Montserrado County. DEO Gontelwo used the occasion to call participants to take the training serous as they look forward to them to passing on the message to students in the classroom and their respective communities.
“We expressed appreciation to the ILO and UNAIDS for the opportunity afforded teachers in Rural Liberia to acquire knowledge on HIV/AIDS.”
For her part, the Director of the HIV/AIDS at the Workplace Division of the Ministry of Labour, Mrs. Emma Lawson Benson, said that considering that HIV and AIDS is a critical social and labour issues that why the Ministry of Labour had reactivated the HIV/AIDS in Workplace Program.
She said that the program was first established at the Ministry prior to the outbreak of the Liberian Civil War, but was referred to as the “Family Welfare Program for Workers and Employers in the Workplace”. She further that after the civil war, the name of the program was change to “HIV/AIDS in Workplace Program” and the government commitment was to develop the HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy and the first Policy was developed in 2008. She said that the policy is currently being reviewed noting that regional consultations were held, desk review went through and it is set for validation. She said following the validation process, the policy will be printed and disseminated across the country.
Mrs. Benson thanked the UNAIDS and ILO for sponsoring the two-day TOT Workshop for Public School Teachers and the National AIDS Commission for sending Facilitators as well as the Ministry of Education for the participants. She praised the partnership with UNAID, ILO and the Ministry of Labour and said that she look forward to more collaboration between the partners and the Ministry in creating awareness on HIV/AIDS in the Workplace.
The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Zubah T. Mulbah, Sr., Partnership Director of the National AIDS Commission (NAC).
In an interview with reporters, Mr. Zubah said that the training went very well and timely because of the knowledgeable level of participants of the workshop noting that “Especially with the level of Teachers I saw around the table, I was very impressed because they were qualified and competent.”
Mr. Zubah noted that he’s confident that the Teachers are capable of creating HIV/AIDS awareness at the level of their schools and communities; though the training was short, but we ably provided them the knowledge that is required to undertake awareness and education programs in the schools and communities of their assignment.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Madam Jenses Martians appreciated the training and challenged their colleagues to be agents of change to disseminate the knowledge and competencies acquired.
The funding for the intervention was provided under the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS.