May 15, 2009
Voices of Hope Pew Bulletin Story
What if nobody comes? If the chairs remain empty, then even the best educational workshop is a waste. In Mozambique, the educators at the Salama Community Health Association don’t wait for people to come to them. They take their life-saving HIV/AIDS educational programs on the road or, more accurately, on the rails. A crowded train is the stage for their presentation, and hundreds of people at a time never have to leave their seats to hear the message. Or, more likely, it’s a standing-room-only performance. Salama’s ingenious approach meets people in their daily lives. In one year the program made 192 mobile interventions on the train, animated 369 sessions in schools and organized 80 soccer games with HIV/AIDS sessions at halftime. Salama also uses the very popular community radio to spread the word. Educators have trained 10 young people in radio production and have broadcast 33 radio debate programs on health, sexuality and relationships. The impressive reach of Salama’s programs relies on constant training of educators and working in partnerships with community leaders. The goal of education is always change, and these leaders are seeing results, including the news that some nightclub owners have had to close due to lack of business. But more significant is the shift in people’s awareness as questions put to the animators are increasingly sophisticated. These educators on the move are building a movement for change, and they are gaining ground on the road to health for the whole community.
Education on the move (PDF)