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The Value of Life: A Basic Approach for Behavior Change in the Prevention of HIV/AIDS
Wednesday, 01 December 2004 00:00

The Value of Life: A Basic Approach for Behavior Change in the Prevention of HIV/AIDS: A Training Module for Secondary School Teachers to work with adolescents on preventing HIV/AIDS

By: Anne Devreux, Giovanni Galli, Lucia Castelli, Mary Ann Kerins, Esule Eunice Immaculate, Ringe Florence

Published September 2004.


AVSI, together with collaborators at the Meeting Point, Kitgum and with financial support from USAID, has recently published the latest module in a series of training manuals focused on supporting the work of people dealing with children and communities in war situations.

This colorful, information-rich publication was designed to train secondary school teachers in presenting an innovative, educational approach to HIV/AIDS prevention centered on understanding the value of life. Respect for one’s life, and therefore for one’s body and health begins as the child becomes aware of his/her own body and power to make choices. For this reason, AVSI addresses the spread of AIDS through an educational approach that awakens the child or young adult to the value of his/her life and the responsibility that comes along with such value, and thereby promoting behavior change.

To be lasting, behavioral change needs to be based on a thorough understanding of true facts, healthy attitudes and sound reasons which are related to values.  The training module incorporates a wealth of information about HIV/AIDS transmission, but gives emphasis to exploring the needs of a person and the meaning of love, freedom and sex. In addressing sexuality through a holistic view of what it means to be a person, young adults can better value their sexuality and develop loving relationships with awareness and responsibility. At the same time, young adults improve their ability to critically assess myths and false ideas prevalent in popular culture, a life skill useful beyond the realm of sexual behavior and HIV prevention.

The pedagogical approach taken by this training module relies on the active participation of the educators and a significant degree of student participation through brainstorming, role-playing exercises and energizer activities. Through the lessons and the relationship with the teachers, the young students are provoked to consider their own values, needs, and desires and to actively judge the ideas being presented as well as the culture in which they live.

Not only easy to read and follow, the training module is also full of resources, creative suggestions, and practical advice for how teachers can reach and engage young people. The collaboration among practitioners with years of relationship and educational work with youth in Uganda evidences itself in the richness and intensity of “The Value of Life” training program which values each young person as in irreplaceable being full of potential and worthy of a dignified life of love.