Saturday, September 6, 2008

HIV/AIDS Training

September 2, 2008

I held my first HIV/AIDS training yesterday and despite all my fears it was a smashing success.

Cabricán has 7 básicos (middle schools) in the municipality and, with funding from a grant Peace Corps received, I was able to plan a training for all the teachers and directors that work in these schools. More than 90 people were invited.

Needless to say, planning a training of this size requires more than a little leg work. There were materials to prepare, snacks to order, extra funding and donations to find, etc. Running the budget was more than a little stressful, especially because PCVs were coming in to help out from all over the country. As things in Guatemala almost never run smoothly I was constantly running back and forth between my house, the library and our CTA’s office checking and re-checking that everything had been completed as planned.

Luckily I was fortunate and had the support of my community. The local health center donated condoms for demonstrations, the Muni donated color diplomas, and the library helped me out with materials and labor. I also had the added benefit of my FOG fund (donations from all of you, my family and friends at home), which allowed me to print off and bind 7 copies of the program so that each básico will have a copy. This is essential to sustainability, because if they don’t have access to the program they will never attempt to recreate it.

Despite some bumps in the road, things worked out for the best. When two PCVs who were going to help lead the training fell sick and were unable to make it, my new sitemates stepped up to the challenge and helped fill their positions. This was crucial as it is hard to lead the training with more than 30 people in a group and we had more than 85 teachers attend.

In the end we had almost 100 percent attendance rate, which is unheard of in these trainings. In most cases PCVs get about 50 percent. I attribute this to the hard work of our CTA who put the full force of his authority behind the event.

In addition it seems the event was very well received, one of the básicos has already approached the library for help in implementing the program with their students before the end of September. As for the remaining 6 schools, we will visit each of them before the end of the school year in October to discuss how they can put this program into practice.

A special thanks to all those who helped out: Kutner, Katy, Andrea S., Andrea P., John, Rose, Michael, Aaron, Lic. Osorio Lopez, Neptali, Irvin, Hugo, Magdaly, Beatriz and Mary.

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