The non-governmental organization Action for Rural Education (ARE) has initiated a one-year project known as Health Education Awareness and Literature (HEAL 11) in the Central Region to address HIV related issues.
Funded by the Ghana AIDS Commission, HEAL 11 is designed to, among others, enhance knowledge on HIV contraction and prevention, reduce the number of youth who engage in risky sexual behavior, and enhance community capacity to take local action against HIV.
Nine implementing districts have been selected in the region for the project. These are the Twifo-Hemang -Lower Denkyira District (THLDD), Assin North District, Assin South District, Upper Denkyira West District, Upper Denkyira East District, Gomoa East District, Gomoa West District, Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese District, and Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abriem District (KEEA).
The Social Support Foundation, Ablaze for Christ, Rural Agenda, New Life Foundation, Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association (CEWEFIA) and New Nation Network are District Sub-Grantees that will be partnering ARE to implement the project.
At an induction workshop organized recently in Cape Coast for the District Sub-Grantees, Mr. Kofi Asare, Executive Director of ARE, explained that the project will employ a participatory and non-elitist approach to equipping communities to take local action against HIV in their communities.
He noted that the HIV prevalence rate of two percent in the Central Region is above the national average of 1.9 percent. He therefore stressed the need for a concerted effort to educate the youth on HIV contraction, prevention and the need to live healthy and responsible lifestyles.
The HEAL 11 project is being implemented in 50 communities and 18 private second cycle institutions in the Central Region. The project will implement community outreach activities using Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) methodology. It will employ Information Education and Communication (IEC) strategies through the production and circulation of HIV posters and radio outreach using district radio stations.
In the area of Capacity building, the project will form, train and support community and school HIV advocacy committees and school HIV peer education outreach.