Using the Auntie Stella Training Toolkit to increase Levels of Knowledge on HIV and AIDS, Sexual and Reproductive Health Issues among OVCs

Category 1

The CWGH has several programs focused on youth empowerment and health. The OVC program offers OVC youth an opportunity to express and share their emotions. After training, the youth come up with psychosocial support groups that meet at least once a month to share experiences. CWGH facilitates network linkages for young people nationally and in the region through exchange visits. The Auntie Stella toolkit is one of the tools they use to empower and educate youth peer educators.

Auntie Stella is designed to allow youth to work on their own in small, mixed-gender groups. Young people read a letter and discuss the problem through guided questions called 'Talking Points'. Users then turn to Auntie Stella's reply. This is followed by several activities called 'Action Points.' These points help students explore how the issue in the story affects their lives, and what they can do about it. These activities include role-plays, drama, quizzes, research projects, and creating songs, stories, maps and diagrams. All have been designed to encourage critical thinking and reflection. The informal small groups allow young people to honestly discuss their beliefs, concerns and fears.

The kit also includes a Facilitator's and Adaptation Guide that gives ideas for using the cards. Other helpful tools include a glossary of relevant terms and suggested themes (such as love and sex, gender relations, forced sex, changing attitudes, etc) to focus discussion.



Goal of the Practice
  • CWGH's goals are to improve the health and well-being of youths, including OVC, through the creation and strengthening of reproductive health initiatives. The program strengthens youth participation in decisions and actions related to their Reproductive Health. Youths are empowered with life skills such as communication, assertiveness, interpersonal relationships and self esteem.
Core Components
  • Youth are trained to use the Auntie Stella toolkit to disseminate HIV and RH information to their peers.
  • Trained peer educators disseminate HIV and RH information at the community level using talk shows, debates, quiz shows and youth education through sports. Theatre was also used to reach out to the community. Activities are conducted in schools, community halls, youth centers and youth.
  • Some trained OVCs set up psychosocial support groups. The support groups provide OVCs with a platform to discuss issues affecting them and allow them to share experiences and best practices.
  • Exchange visits between peer educators to share ideas on how best to implement activities on Reproductive Health and on how to work together in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The exchange visit created a platform for peer educators from different districts to exchange and document lessons learned.
Noteworthy Results
  • Three Training of Trainers (TOTs) workshops were held on Auntie Stella facilitation. At least 60 trainers were equipped with skills on facilitation, home based care and counseling.
  • The trainers cascaded the Auntie Stella trainings at community level reaching 658 OVCs, youths and programmers.
Lessons Learned
  • Communities need information and there is need to reach those in remote areas who do not have access to information especially the girl child. Young people have the ability to bring about a positive change in the community as long as they have the information. More information on RH needs to be given to young people. To target the girl child especially in remote areas.
  • Peer education is an effective tool for information dissemination. Skills and information taught to young people can be easily passed to other people but more peer educators need to be trained.
  • Implementation of program that involve children should try and target school. Hold more program over the school holidays if they are long and visit schools.
  • A sense of ownership is a strong motivational factor for young people and the community as a whole hence it is important to involve community and youth participation in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation as well.
  • There is need to provide vocational skills training to OVCs so that they have a means of livelihood.
Focus Areas
Gender
OVC
Implemented By
Community Working Group on Health (CWGH)
Participating Organization
Training and Research Support Centre (TARSC) developed the Auntie Stella toolkit and maintains a website about the toolkit
Region
Africa
Country
Zimbabwe
Environment
Community/Household
Setting
Other/Non-specified
Target Population
Adolescents (ages 13-17)
Scope
1000 - 5000
Implementation Years
02/2006 - ongoing