THE AIDSWEB PROJECT
The AIDSWEB project which was supported by World Links was designed to promote the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to enhance HIV/AIDS education and prevention activities. The underlying hope was that AIDSWEB youth participants would be empowered with the knowledge and skills to become proactive stakeholders in the development process and correspondingly to recognize that they can control their reproductive health destinies and positively contribute to peer prevention efforts in their local, national and global communities.
AIDSWEB Project Partners
The AIDSWEB project partners included: ICT for Education (part of the World Bank Institute), World Links, iEARN (International Education and Resource Network), Schools Online, Education Development Center (EDC), Knowledge Economy (part of the World Bank), SchoolNet Uganda, The United Negro College Fund’s Specials Projects programme, US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational Cultural Affairs and Microsoft.
AIDSWEB Project Components:
The AIDSWEB project had five components:
(i) The HIV/AIDS Online Collaborative Project.
(ii) The Teacher Exchange Program.
(iii) The AIDSWEB Social Action Website Competition.
(iv) The HIV/AIDS and ICT Workshop
(v) The Online HIV/AIDS Counselling services.
(a) The HIV/AIDS Online Collaborative Project
In 2000, working with the “ICT for Education” program, the World Banks’ AIDS Campaign Team for Africa (ACTAfrica) and with the support of WIRED Magazine, World Links developed and supported an online collaborative project on HIV/AIDS prevention and care in Africa which involved students and teachers in a number of African countries
In 2000, students and teachers from fifteen schools in four African countries of Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe signed up to learn more about HIV/AIDS through the project’s educational activities. In Uganda, three schools of Kings College Budo, St. James SS (Jinja) and St. Henry’s College Kitovu participated.
In 2001, students and teachers from Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa and Ghana participated in the project. In Uganda, three schools of Kings’ College Budo, Namilyango College and Mengo Secondary school participated in the project.
In 2002, the participating countries were Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. In Uganda, four schools of Kings College Budo, Mengo Secondary school, Namilyango College and Makerere College School participated in the project.
In 2000, the AIDSWEB project mainly consisted of a HIV/AIDS Online Collaborative project designed around four educational goals. In each goal activity, participants answered questions on the topic, went into their communities for in-depth information and then presented their results to everyone else via an email list serve.
Teachers and students participated in the HIV/AIDS online collaborative project because they wanted:
- To learn more about HIV/AIDS and the global epidemic.
- To help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
- To inform people about the virus and disease.
The four educational goals of the HIV/AIDS Collaborative learning project were for students to learn about.
- Basic facts on HIV/AIDS.
- The importance of HIV/AIDS.
- Challenges to HIV/AIDS prevention.
- Social Action.
Educational Goal 1 Questions – Basic Facts about HIV/AIDS
The first goal of the AIDSWEB collaborative project was to ensure that students and teachers understand basic facts about HIV and AIDS. They addressed issues like definition of HIV and AIDS, difference between HIV and AIDS, transmission, symptoms, prevention, some myths about how it is spread and statistics.
Educational Goal 2: The importance of HIV/AIDS
After understanding the Basic facts about HIV/AIDS, students and teachers discussed why HIV and AIDS are important in their schools, communities, countries and the world. They discussed issues like whether HIV/AIDS affects men and women differently, who is the most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, importance of testing for HIV etc.
Educational Goal 3 Questions: Challenges to HIV Prevention.
Under this goal, participants discuss as to whether it is easy to talk about HIV/AIDS with parents, teachers, fellow students etc. Students and teachers took a look at their cultural practices that prevent spread of HIV/AIDS or promote its spread.
Educational Goal 4 Questions: Social Action.
The last pilot project activity engaged students and teachers in thinking about steps their schools could do to address HIV/AIDS in their communities. The goal was to focus on what the teachers and students themselves could do –not OTHERS or the GOVERNMENT. After answering the questions, each school was asked to present an Action Plan for an activity that they would do in the months which followed.
The students were linked with a Reproductive Health Specialist who provided framework and guidance for the online discussions about HIV/AIDS which took place over several months and calumniated in the participation at the 13th Annual International AIDS Conference held for the 1st time in Africa in July 2000 in Durban, South Africa. One teacher and a student from each of the four participating countries attended the weeklong conference. A teacher from St. Mary’s Kisubi and a student from the same school attended.
(b) Teacher Exchanges component.
The AIDSWEB project partners organized two teacher exchange visit workshops: one in Cape Town (July 2001) and one in Washington D.C (2002) between Africa and US classroom teachers.
On July 6-8 2007, a workshop on HIV/AIDS educational material and Electrical material was held in Cape Town. Twenty-one out of the thirty-two participants who attended the workshop were teachers from Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, US and Zambia. For Uganda, three teachers from Namilyango College, Kings College Budo and Mengo Senior Secondary attended.
The teacher exchanges visits had several objectives:
- To bring educators from different countries to share cultural experiences and experiences with HIV/AIDS classroom education, including their participation in the AIDSWEB online collaborative project.
- To collect and disseminate locally used and/or produced print-based HIV/AIDS educational material.
- To develop a common set of criteria by which to select material for adaptation into and dissemination by electronic platforms (e.g. CD-ROM or web), to show examples of electronically produced material and to select an initial set of material for electronic adaptation.
- To develop HIV/AIDS subject-oriented material for electronic adaptation.
- To discuss next steps and action plans.
AIDSWEB African-US HIV/AIDS educators exchange was held in Washington DC, USA (14-28) Feb 2002. Moses Kafeero, a teacher from Mengo Senior School attended the Teachers conference in Washington D.C.
The African educators stayed at host families, had group and individual cultural activities and school visits. They visited four Washington D.C public schools: Eastern High School, Ballou High School, Cardozo High School and Techworld Charter School.
African educators had the opportunity to learn about how HIV/AIDS and other subjects they teach are taught in USA.They also had the opportunity to speak in the schools about local culture and current education and health issues in their respective countries.
(c) The AIDSWEB Social Action Website Competition
In 2002, one hundred fifty students from 60 schools in Botswana, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe were sponsored to participate in week-long website design workshops. The website design workshops were aimed at giving students technical skills to participate in AIDSWEB Social Action website competition. The competition was supported by the World Links Program through a grant from the World Bank’s Knowledge Economy Program.
The AIDSWEB Social Action Website competition had the following objectives.
- To encourage students to be socially active in their communities by promoting positive youth involvement in gathering information concerning the impact of HIV/AIDS in their communities, highlighting exemplary activities of activities designed to combat the spread of this epidemic, strengthening school linkages with local institutions working on HIV/AIDS issues.
- To encourage greater student and community understanding of the implications of HIV/AIDS to the social, economic and political development.
- To raise awareness regarding the need to care for those affected or infected with HIV/AIDS.
- To develop the capacity among students to create and design effective websites for peer communication and information dissemination.
- To build and strengthen student research, communication and presentation skills.
- To enhance the partnership between schools, communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders in addressing HIV/AIDS.
- To promote student team work and creativity among African youth.
Details of the AIDSWEB Social Action Website competetion (objectives, rules and guidelines, schedule, evaluation criteria etc ) can be dowloaded using the link below
The websites not only demonstrated the creativity and quick learning of the teachers in website design but they also revealed through information collection, interviews and original art, poetry and drama, a wealth of information on African youth and community perspectives on HIV/AIDS.
The websites were evaluated with the following criteria: Social Action/Website content (35%), website design (20%), simplicity of web navigation (20%), overall quality (20%), recognition of team members and community contributions (5%).
Three Uganda schools; Namilyango College, Bishop’s Senior School Mukono, King’s College Budo were among the best ten sites overall with Namilyango College having the best layout and best social action content overall.
Namilyango College: http://www.geocities.com/ngoaidshot/index.htm
Bishop’s Senior School.
King’s College Budo.
(d) The HIV/AIDS and ICT Workshop
In Sept 2002, the AIDSWEB program with the support from the Education Development Center (EDC) organized the first international workshop on HIV/AIDS and ICT. The Workshop was held at Colline Hotel, Mukono and was coordinated by SchoolNet Uganda.
The workshop included representatives from Botswana, Rwanda, Uganda, US and Zimbabwe. The AIDSWEB program provided support for international travel cost for winning teams of the AIDSWEB Social Action Website Competition.
The workshop explored ways in which School-Based Telecentres (SBT) and ICT in general could enhance and support HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.
(e) Online HIV/AIDS Counselling services
An online counselling service was launched on May 29, 2003 for 3 School-Based Telecenter (SBT) sites of Ndejje SSS, Lango College and Duhaga SS with the training of teacher and student-peer counsellors at Rider Hotel, Seeta Uganda.
The main objectives of the workshop were to help young people appreciate Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) problems and how these problems relate to HIV/AIDS, acquire basic counselling skills to support their peers, develop basic ICT skills required for on-line counselling and also develop action plans for the project.
The Online Counselling service was initiated jointly by SchoolNet Uganda, ICT for Education Program of the World Bank Institute and Straight Talk Foundation with the support from Education Development Center (EDC) and Academy for Education Development (AED).
The objectives of the Online Counselling service included; demonstrating the integration of ICT in HIV/AIDS prevention and caring services, expand and diversify opportunities for access to Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) information and services for young people in and out–of-school and promote the creation of HIV/AIDS Information and Education Communication initiatives for and by the young people to enhance behaviour change.
More information about the HIV/AIDS on-line counselling services can be obtained by downloading the file below