Planning Awareness Activities for the next 3 weeks
Trip Start Feb 02, 2007
18Trip End Mar 30, 2007
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Despite the fact that we had an outline of agenda items for that meeting many new agenda items and things to do were added just moments before by all sorts of people. This was fine, but it reduced the time we had available to plan out the activities with our subgroups. This is when the real challenges began, once in our subgroups it was quickly apparent that the youth had very ambitious plans. Some suggested plans of repeating the entire training that was done with us over 3days within 1 day. Some wanted to do a lecture on what is HIV/AIDS, modes of transmission, modes of prevention and a how to use a condom within 1 hour. Dana's subgroup wanted to deliver a conference/lecture to over a 1000 students at some point in the next two weeks however they hadn't considered any of the logistics or the fact that the activities are geared towards small groups.
The following Wednesday we had another meeting with the peer educators, this time Isabelle attended and did a mini training on how to design an activity. After this we got into our groups and tried to put together an activity that followed the structure that had just been presented and stay within the guidelines (time, group size, topic, etc.) Although this was useful there wasn't enough time to determine all the details, the required supplies, the duration, which PE would speak when..
One of the biggest challenges in working on activities with the PEs is that the concept of planning an activity is somewhat foreign. Repeatedly we hear, "it's all in my head" but when they start writing it out they realize there are many things they haven't thought of. Due to this we thought it was necessary to create an intensive guide for the PEs including everything from information from the training, facilitation tools (videos, games, debates, music, demonstrations), how to plan an activity, preparation checklist, icebreakers and evaluations. We also included a code of ethics created by the youth as well as a definition of what is a peer educator.
The past week and a half we have been busy working on the guide and working with the peer educators. First we meet with the with the PEs and go over all the details of their activity- right down to preparing the room and seeing if they need chalk or tape (its necessary to bring your own). Then we accompany them to their activity and for the most part observe, but step in if they need further clarification or help with certain questions
Yesterday we attended a great presentation done by two members of the Anti-HIV/AIDS club. These two are very motivated, know the material and work well with the youth. It's great to see this kind of energy here as it is so often lacking. Afterwards we had a chance to speak to these PEs and we learned that neither of them are in school because they can't afford the fees; they have the choice between eating or going to school! Hopefully projects like this will educate and empower Beninoise youth.
Dana & Cindy