12 certified to enhance HIV fight among municipal staffersMonday, May 18, 2009 – 8:04 am
Source: Guyana Chronicle
The HIV fighting capabilities of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) have been strengthened with the recent training of 12 employees of its clerical staff as peer educators. They will now play a lead role in spreading the message of HIV/AIDS among staff within the municipality.
The participants – eleven women and one man, were presented with certificates at a ceremony in the Mayor’s chambers last Friday. Mayor Hamilton Green did the honours.
The training, made possible through a collaborative effort involving the M&CC, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention Programme II (USAID/GHARP) was executed by the Guyana Volunteer Council (GVC).
USAID is one of the funding partners responding to HIV/AIDS in Guyana.
The GVC has been funded by USAID to work with 24 major companies in Region Four, and has resources available to give them the support.
Mayor Green, who delivered the charge, complimented the participants, noting that the programme was part of a greater cultural experience which would hopefully equip them to play an important role in the construction of a wholesome society.
He also complimented Mr. Dale Beresford, M&CC Focal Point Person and Occupational Health and Safety Officer, for his role in mobilising the group and organising the training under the auspices of USAID.
Stressing to participants the importance of understanding the significance of the certificates they received, Mayor Green said it should be able to influence their interaction with others in the wider society, ultimately impacting and bringing about change for the better.
To this end, the Mayor, concerned about the way many persons in society conduct their moral lives, had a word of advice for the peer educators.
“You need to concentrate your efforts on the religious community, to tell them to transmit to young people, particularly our men, the need to conduct themselves in a responsible way, and to concentrate on the cohesion of the family unit,” he said.
Mayor Green is of the view that the way to save this world from imploding morally and otherwise, is to ensure the integrity of the family unit.
“If you secure the integrity of the family, then you secure the integrity of the community, the country and the world of which we are a part,” he posited.
The mayor commended that component of HIV education which teaches persons to be kind, caring, compassionate and tolerant with those infected with HIV, adding, “The idea is that we must not treat those persons infected as being evil or ‘touched by the hand of Satan’,” he cautioned.
In conclusion, Mayor Green admonished the peer educators, within the context of the City Council, to think about the concerns he raised. He urged them to help others to see the programme they did beyond the confines of HIV-AIDS, while translating the new-found knowledge into the wider social spectrum – living proper lives generally.
“This knowledge you now have should not be confined to a medical issue, it’s also a moral issue,” he contended.
Meanwhile, Director of the GVC, Ms. Goldie Scott, stressed the importance of peer educators being committed, persistent and consistent, promoting the goals and objectives of the project, and sharing their newly acquired knowledge of HIV-AIDS among fellow employees, friends and family.
“All of us here are very optimistic that you, as peer educators, will be able to take what you have learnt to the next level,” she said, urging them to use the tools and skills they gained in the workshop sessions to relate to their peers in a manner as this would get the message effectively over to them – be it within the workplace, at home, at church or in other settings.
She also stressed the importance of reporting their progress of work to the M&CC Focal Point person and Occupational Health and Safety Officer, Mr. Dale Beresford.
Urging the peer educators to keep reading and be open to continually acquiring new knowledge, she assured them that the stakeholders in the partnership are committed to the fight, and that the GVC is committed to working with the M&CC and supporting them as peer educators.
The next peer educator training session is expected to commence at July month end. This phase will target the City Constabulary and persons from the Drainage, Mechanical Workshop, Cemetery and Vector Control.