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PACIFIC AIDS/HIV REPORTS Durban, South Africa 2000

P.S. Cokanasiga The AIDS Task Force Of Fiji

Issues: The AIDS Task Force of Fijoi (ATFF) is a community based NGO implementing HIV/AIDS Education programs throughout Fiji and the Pacific.

HIV/AIDS is rarely discussed in many Pacific countries but through ATFF's Regional NGO Capacity Building (RCB) Project, sex, sexuality and HIV/AIDS are being discussed openly and explicitly for the first time amongst communities in Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, especially by young people.

Description: The RCB Project is based on a Peer Model, which has young Pacific Island Trainers training other Pacific Islands Educators. The project focuses on building the skills of educators to respond effectively to HIV. This is achieved through five weeks of intensive training in Fiji, sensitizing individuals from NGOs as well as Pacific Islands government representatives, to HIV/AIDS-related issues. Experiential Peer and Community Education Outreach is also part of the Training. On return to their countries, individuals implement culturally appropriate HIV activities, supported by an ATFF trainer during a three-week follow-up.

Conclusion: Since project commencement in January 1998 more than 90% of the educators trained are still actively involved in HIV/AIDS work in the region.

This accentuates the fact that the transference of skills from ATFF Trainers into the eight countries has been very successful. In addition, the project also gives opportunities for inter as well as intra-country networking between NGO's and governments, which is imperative for a coordinated response to HIV in the region.

Throughout the evolvement of the project, a major focus has been the involvement of youths. The empowerment of youth ultimately holds the key to containing the spread of HIV in the Pacific.

Presenting author:

P.S. Cokanasiga The AIDS Task Force Of Fiji PO Box 12718 Suva, Fiji Islands Tel.: +679 313 844 Fax: +679 313 844


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