The East African Standard, 23 November 2002, School HIV/Aids Project Gets Sh3.6 M Aid

Nairobi - Trans-Nzoia district HIV/Aids school project has received a big boost following a Sh3.6 million Australian Embassy donation that is expected to complement existing programmes in the district aimed at curbing the scourge among primary school going children.

The money will primarily fund a two week head teacher workshop designed to update them on knowledgeable information that will help them in managing the disease.

The cheque was donated to Trans-Nzoia based Handicap International, an HIV/AIDS non-governmental organisation, which also gives family life counselling programmes. It was started in 1997.

Njoki Mwangi, the NGOs Assistant Director toldThe Education that her organisation was started in response to demands by Trans Nzoia residents affected by the increasing cases of HIV/Aids and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in the district.

Njoki said the programme is unique in the sense that it will leverage on the existing HIV/Aids curriculum by the Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) through the District Schools Aids Committees (DSAC).

She said the diseases had been rampant in the area with school children being prime victims thus the need for the project.

"Students especially those in primary schools are sexually active but with the introduction of the HIV/Aids in the syllabus they have adopted a behavioural change attitude about their sex life," she said.

After the initiation of the syllabus by the Kenya Institute of Education (KIE), in 2001, the district received free services by KIE staff to ensure the syllabus was well received and inseminated nation-wide.

The teachers' progress will be monitored by the District Schools Aids Committee (DSAC) and will assess the schools progress and behaviour change after the teachings.

An exchange programme in schools is also in progress where the different schools will participate in competition talks and plays to ensure that the information sinks in.

After the introduction of sex education in schools in the district, the number of students infected has drastically dropped with those going for check-ups rising from 100 to 450 per month.

The Australian High Commissioner Paul Comfort pledged continued assistance for the project.