Training of Trainers on HIV/AIDS and Young People’s Sexuality
An Overview of the “Training of Trainers on HIV/AIDS and Young People’s Sexuality”
Held on the 19th and 20th of February, the Training of Trainers Programme (ToT) on the 19th began with a presentation done by Dr. Sujatha Samarakoon, Director, National HIV AIDS and STD Control Programme, Ministry of Health on the topic biological and psychological effects of HIV/AIDS.
Having much experience in the health field, especially on HIV/AIDS, she was the ideal resource person to present on the biological and psychological aspects of HIV and she drew on her vast experience to speak of the Sri Lankan situation while her many case studies and presentation was geared to educate the young students on the effects of HIV/AIDS as well as its causes.
An introduction to Beyond Borders was made before the 2nd session, and Guruparan (a CGM) explained how Beyond Borders operated, our themes and the future for BB, as well as possible linkups between schools/individuals and BB. He invited the students to consider working with us and offered all possible support to them in their projects.
The evening saw a very popular AIDS activist working again with the Beyond Borders team, recreating his dynamic session, talking about sex, sexuality and HIV/AIDS in a very open manner, speaking of his experiences, doing group activities to further the students’ knowledge, getting the message through to his young audience with what can only be described as a punch to make sure that they remember the experience.
20th March saw Mr. Bradman Weerakoon speaking on rights based approach to HIV/AIDS with his vast experience both in the field and as one of the longest serving civil servants Sri Lanka has ever had, touched on various issues led by questions asked by participants. On the issue of youth participation in policy making Mr. Weerakoon went on to say that although there is some consideration of youth in policymaking lot of the initiatives border on what he called ‘tokenism’. He went on to elaborate that politicians engage in certain initiatives for only symbolic purposes and nothing else. He also touched on sex and its impact on culture which paved way for an interesting debate once the session was over.
A great deal of the learning of the programme did happen through these unplanned spontaneous sessions conducted based on the issues that come through the formal sessions.
The final component of the TOT was of course the Action Planning sessions, where all the learning will be put into a plan which can be carried out through their respective schools.
The session was facilitated by Roshan Peiris, a young grassroots activist who was kind enough to come from Nuwara Eliya to facilitate the sessions.
After a few exercises, Working on this, he asked the participants were asked to come up with time-specific plans on how they will reach their peers to promote better understanding of HIV/AIDS. He also had a role-play in an endeavor to show the students how simple decisions in their day-to-day lives can have unforeseen repercussions and how to take responsible decisions.
The Action Plans the students came up with were well thought out and practical enough to ensure definite follow through and the students must be commended for their commitment to carry the project further. An Idea was proposed to
One salient fact as pointed out earlier was that the two-day programme changed their attitudes towards Sexuality and HIV/AIDS as well as people living with HIV/AIDS, while instilling in them the desire to be active in their schools on this issues and hopefully carryout some solid work.