HIV Youth Peer Educators Projects

CHABAHIVA Trust developed an HIV Youth Peer Educator programme through CABSA. This is implemented in cooperation with the Field Band Foundation to strengthen their life skills curriculum. Members of local Field Bands are the first beneficiaries while their families, friends and local communities also benefit.

While the Field Band Foundation is being supported by various businesses in South Africa and each individual Band also has at least one supporting local business, the CHABAHIVA Trust brings the support of the Waldensian Church to benefit band members and their communities. Relationships are also built with nearby churches and businesses with the aim to involve them. The local Department of Health is seen as crucial partner.

The projects aim to strengthen the local Field Bands and their communities in HIV prevention, diagnosing, treatment and care.

2016

The first year of successful implementation was during 2016 when the programme was put into practice in the Springs Field Band.

The Field Band leadership identified a representative member group from both Daveyton and Kwa-Thema to be trained as Peer Educators. In March 2016 they received a 4-day training from the Reality Wellness Group. To ensure that the leaders were competent to guide the Peer Educators, three of the Springs Field Band leaders received the CABSA Facilitator Training.

The 23 trained Field Band members were mentored for the rest of the year on a monthly basis by one external mentor (Wanda) as well as the Band’s own social officer (Vuyani Mukandi).

Complementary to the focus on the Peer Educators and their fellow members there were continues efforts to reach out to church leaders, businesses, other NGO’s involved in HIV and AIDS in the community of Springs as well as the Department of Health.

Performing during the formal launch event 10 September 2016

The Peer Educators and their leaders organised a successful HIV Family Day on 26 November for the community of Daveyton. Information, counselling and testing and health services were made available at the Chris Hani Sports Park, Emaphupheni. Teams from Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and Trucking Wellness provided counselling and testing to the individuals motivated by the Peer Educators to know their status and 113 people accessed HCT and other health screening services.

The first year concluded with an evaluation function, feedback and celebration event with the Peer Educators on 8 February 2017. The feedback was unanimous that the first year’s project helped everyone to grow individually and that there was observable impact on the level of all band members.

This first project was implemented under the leadership of Ms Judith Bester and Ms Wanda Olivier. With positive feedback from the beneficiaries CHABAHIVA Trust decided to continue with the programme.

2017

During 2017 the HIV Peer Educator programme continued in Springs and a similar project was initiated with the Hammanskraal Field Band leadership. To complement these projects, a Workplace Wellness Programme, focussing on the employees of the Field Band Foundation, was also implemented at the head office. Read more about this programme here.

Springs Field Band HIV Peer Educator project

The 15 Springs Field Band Peer Educators remaining from 2016, together with 8 new members, participated in the 5-day CABSA Peer Educator Training in April 2017. This training increased the focus on change in attitudes, reduced stigma and provided tools to share HIV messages.

Wanda Olivier continued to support and upskill the Band’s Social Officer and the trained Peer Educators were regularly mentored.

Band leaders and Peer Educators organised a Family Health Day in the Kwa Thema community in September to involve band members’ parents as well as to reach out to the community. Relationships with local government departments, NGO’s and businesses were re-affirmed. The Peer Educators received their certificates and 111 people accessed HCT and other health screening services.

Family members at the Family Health Day

At the evaluation function in February 2018 all Peer Educators indicated that the experience empowered them and wished for the programme to continue.

Hammanskraal Field Band HIV Peer Educator project

The leadership of Hammanskraal participated in a preparatory workshop for implementation of the programme in May 2017. One improvement from the project in Springs the previous year was that the leadership first informed the parents about the planned programme.

In July 2017, 25 band members and 4 tutors participated in the Peer Educator Training. Feedback received after the training was again very positive and confirmed the excellence of the CABSA Peer Educator training. A six months’ implementation plan was developed and all Peer Educators took responsibility for implementing the plan. Similar to the Springs project regular mentoring support was given to the Peer Educators in Hammanskraal.

Performing at the launch

The Hammanskraal Peer Educator Project launch took place on 10 September 2017. Peer Educators where formally introduced and they received certificates. This was followed by a churches and business discussion lunch meeting attended by 19 local leaders.

Hammanskraal’s Peer Educators had their evaluation meeting on 12 February 2018 where positive feedback was expressed. A majority of the Peer Educators indicated that their knowledge improved and that they gained new perspectives about healthy lifestyle choices and people living with HIV.

Their Family Health Day was hosted on Saturday, 17 February 2018. Attendees were entertained with music and dance from the Field Band as well as a traditional dancing group. Band members and community members had access to HIV counselling and testing. After a powerful testimony of two community members living with HIV and a talk by the auxiliary Social Worker from the community trauma centre, the Peer Educators had the opportunity to engage in conversation with attendees on HIV prevention using their HIV cubes.

KABP Survey

The positive feedback was underscored by the results of the HIV and Aids Knowledge, Attitude, Behaviour and Practices (KABP) survey done at the Springs band. A baseline survey in April 2016 (before the first Peer Educators training) was followed by a survey in December 2016 as well as a third survey conducted in November 2017. The surveys indicated shortcomings as well as positive trends. KABP surveys form part of all projects at Field Bands.

2018

With overwhelming positive feedback from both the Springs and the Hammanskraal Field Bands the CHABAHIVA Trust and Field Band Foundation decided to continue with the HIV Peer Educator programme in 2018. Projects were planned for Springs, Hammanskraal as well as Alexandra Field Bands.

Previous years showed the value of investing into the leadership of the Field Band through a comprehensive HIV Training. The CABSA Churches, Channels of Hope Facilitator training was again used to train 5 Field Band Tutors – two from Alexandra, two from Hammanskraal and one from Springs. The 6-day residential training empowered them to provide additional support for the HIV Peer Educators in their respective Field Bands.

Wanda Olivier (associate of Judith Bester) continued with visiting the Field Bands and to follow up on the trainings. Vuvu Mukandi (who was involved since the start of the projects in 2016) continued to guide and support both Jackina Baloyi from Hammanskraal and Phumzile Twala from Alexandra. General project activities continued in line with the previous year.

All the HIV Peer Educators of the 3 bands were brought together for a day of sharing and learning. This workshop day created opportunities to show their creativity, to recap the use of HIV tools, to compete in groups with their HIV knowledge, to listen to a motivational speaker, to picnic together and to give feedback about their experiences in different ways. The 51 HIV Peer Educators who participated on Saturday 22 September were unanimous in their appreciation of this opportunity. The day confirmed that the programme made a huge impact amongst the Field Band members and their families, and the highlight was to see how much these young people benefited personally from the programme.

Another new addition to the HIV Peer Educators programme in 2018 was Parenting workshops. Ms Anita du Toit (associate of Judith Bester) facilitated one workshop for each of the Field Bands. Parents of the band members were invited to learn more about being a parent and to share their challenges. The workshops were also utilised to help parents to become more comfortable to discuss sexual and reproductive health (including HIV) with their children. Feedback from Field Band leaders highlighted the value of these workshops to strengthen relationships with the parents of Band members.

Springs Field Band continued with the HIV Peer Educator project for a 3rd year. Three new HIV Peer Educators were trained with the members of Alexandra. The HCT Family Day was held on 29 September and the parenting workshop happened on 20 October.

At Hammanskraal Field Band a strong group of 15 Peer Educators continued from 2017. A 3-day refresher course was presented to them. The Field Band’s HCT Family Day happened on 24 September at Tsebe Ntlha Middle school. The achievement of the day was the involvement of community stakeholders, including PUMSA (organisation for school pastors), members from the local HIV testing facilities, members from the Trauma centre and members from the SAPS (police). Their Parenting workshop happened on 8 September.

At Alexandra Field Band 18 new HIV Peer Educators were trained in the April school holidays. The new HIV Peer Educators confirmed yet again the value and excellence of this scientifically grounded and faith-based training developed by CABSA. Their “project launch” was held on 18 August 2018 at the Ekukhanyisweni Primary School. A programme of music, speeches and a drama event built up to the introduction of all trained Peer Educators. They received certificates and a T-shirt to identify them. An invited group of church leaders and businesspeople gathered for a lunch and to discuss church and business involvement in the field of HIV. Alexandra’s HCT Family Day happened on 29 September and their parenting workshop on 3 November.

Photo: Newly trained HIV Peer Educators of Alexandra Field Band with their certificates.

The feedback from leaders of the 3 Field Bands at the evaluation meeting of 5 November was very positive. The personal as well as organisational growth that resulted from the projects were highlighted. It became clear that the success of the programme could be attributed to the excellent training programmes (developed by CABSA) as well as the continuous involvement and support by Judith and her associates.

2019

Due to financial limitations the budget allocation of CHABAHIVA Trust for the projects with the FBF had to be scaled down with 35%. However, the projects in the 3 Field Bands were continued.

From 25-29 March 2019 Wanda Olivier, Vuyani Mukandi and Shaun Malatji trained 27 participants from the 3 Field Bands. This was done to replace Peer Educators that had left the Field Band because they completed school. Two leaders of each Field Band also attend the Peer Educator Training. This training curriculum and material developed and licensed by CABSA were again used and highly appreciated. The Training concluded with a practical plan of how they would reach out to their Field Band members and other peers.

Photo: Thursdays in Black at the Peer Educators training

HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) Family Days

Field Band Hammanskraal’s HCT Family Day on 14 June formed part of their Youth Day celebrations. (Youth Day is on 16 June in South Africa.) Field Band Springs planned their HCT Family Day on 28 September. The community participation at the event at Tshipi-Noto Primary School in Daveyton was a good sign that the programme is reaching the community. The Alexandra Field Band also held their HCT Family Day on 28 September. These Family Days also served as opportunities to cooperate with the local DoH as well as other NGOs that could contribute to the aims of the day.

Combined HIV Peer Educators Workshop

This was the second year that a full day workshop was organised for all the Peer Educators of all 3 Field Bands. On 31 August, 55 Peer Educators participated in this workshop at the Sorex Estate in Centurion. It was the most exciting day for these young people. They could enjoy a beautiful venue while they were challenged to improve their knowledge. They participated in various competitive exercises and they had the opportunity to listen to the story of Ms Mandisa Dukashe’s journey with HIV. The feedback received from the Peer Educators and the leaders confirmed that the important objectives for the day were reached.

Parenting workshops

One aim of the day was to help parents and caregivers to be more comfortable to discuss sexual and reproductive health (including HIV) with their children. On 20 July, 18 parents participated in the workshop at Hammanskraal and on 24 August, 15 parents participated in the workshop at Springs. Alexandra’s parenting workshop was conducted on 22 February 2020.

World AIDS Day

Alexandra Field Band Peer Educators had their event at the Alexandra Hospice on 2 December. They interacted with the people at the Hospice and also shared HIV information with them. It was an enriching experience for the young people to meet people at the Hospice.

The Springs Field Band attended an event that was held at Etwatwa on the 28th of November. This event was organised by the Etwatwa Community Policing Forum. The Community Policing Forum volunteers marched behind the Field Band in a street parade through the community, giving out pamphlets with information concerning the 16 days of Activism against women and children abuse. Rolihlahla Primary School hosted the formal event where other organisations also participated.

The Hammanskraal Peer Educators and Field Band members hosted a World Aids Day Summer Pulse activity on 5 December 2019. This activity, that was also a HIV Counselling and Testing opportunity, was attended by members of the Arise and Conquer team, Community Policing Forum, Department of Health, Pulse team and School Teachers. The motivational speaker shared her journey on living with HIV and encouraged people to get tested. Despite heavy rain on the day all the organisations participated, and it was a successful day.

HIV and Aids Knowledge, Attitude, Behaviour and Perceptions and member (KABP) surveys were again used to determine the impact of the projects and to indicate risk for HIV infection together with stigma and discrimination towards HIV infected people amongst the three participating Field Band members. A mid-year evaluation meeting was held 24 July and a final evaluative meeting was held on 15 January 2020 at the FBF head office where al leaders involved participated in a critical reflection of the past year and emphasis for the new year.

Looking forward:

CHABAHIVA Trust started 2020 with plans to continue with the HIV Peer Educator projects in the 3 Field Bands mentioned above. However, the COVID-19 epidemic resulted in a strict lock-down situation that prevented the Field Bands to continue with their activities. The Peer Educator projects were also severely hindered. As the situation develops ways are explored to continue supporting these three Field Bands and their Peer Educators.

Please follow CHABAHIVA Trust’s Facebook page for regular updates!

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