Empowering girls to fight HIV and AIDS
28 November 2008
On World AIDS Day, 1 December, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) spread the word: girls worldwide say “stop the spread of AIDS , malaria and other diseases”. This message is the new theme for World Thinking Day, linked to United Nations Millennium Development Goal 6.
WAGGGS is encouraging its members to start planning themed events in their communities in time for 22 February 2009. While being fun, inclusive and informative, these events will also raise money to contribute to the World Thinking Day fund and vital WAGGGS projects, including those aimed at addressing issues surrounding the spread of diseases.
WAGGGS has developed a number of resources to help girls and young women explore the issue of contagious diseases. Information is on the World Thinking Day website. In keeping with the fundraising aspect of the campaign, a special survey about the importance of money, developed with Plan UK is also on the site.
Call to action
Girl Guides and Girl Scouts are also encouraged to join the call to action for World AIDS Day: “Tell 10 girls 10 facts about AIDS” The fact card is available with an array of useful information and a quiz.
HIV and AIDS training toolkit
To help empower young women to protect themselves against HIV infection, to advocate in their communities and to fight stigma and fear, WAGGGS has introduced its innovative new HIV and AIDS training toolkit.
The toolkit, developed by girls and young women, combines case study material alongside activities that have proved successful in several countries around the world: Brazil, Peru, Malawi, Kenya and India. WAGGGS received funding from UNAIDS to develop this project. The resource has been distributed to all 145 WAGGGS Member Organizations and an international training programme is being developed. It is available for purchase on the WAGGGS online shop.
Focus on girls and young women
WAGGGS’ work on HIV and AIDS focuses on women and young girls as they are more physically vulnerable to contracting the virus. Also, in many countries they have limited control over their sexual health and less access to education and HIV information which puts them at greater risk. Armed with accurate and useful information about the disease and its prevention girls and women can protect themselves and help reduce the spread of the virus.
WAGGGS Chief Executive Mary Mc Phail, says: “We believe that education and empowerment of young people in formal and non-formal settings is a key approach to fight HIV and AIDS, with special attention paid to the needs of girls and young women.The toolkit is a great resource to increase our capacity to train girls and young women on HIV prevention and stigma reduction.”
TheAIDS Badge Curriculum provides background information and activities for different age groups in the three areas: prevention, care and support and Human Rights – changing attitudes.