2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Since 1988, the face and response to AIDS has greatly changed. While many of these changes are positive, this anniversary offers us an opportunity to highlight how much more still needs to be done. the latest UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic indicates that the epidemic is not yet over in any part of the world.
Together with its partners, the World AIDS Campaign set this year’s theme for World AIDS Day as “Lead – Empower – Deliver”, building on last year’s theme of “Take the Lead”. Scouts around the world have been playing a key role in the fight against HIV/AIDS for a number of years, leading the way in their communities through peer education programmes, awareness campaigns and activities, aiming to halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, which is also in line with Millennium Development Goal 6.
Experience has demonstrated that significant advances in the response to HIV have been achieved when there is strong and committed leadership in all levels of live- in families, in communities, in countries and internationally. In 2007, people around the world offered their leadership – now it is time to deliver. Promises must be kept, and people must feel empowered to act.
What is Scouting doing?
The Africa Scout Region is running an excellent 'Red Ribbon' AIDS awareness badge programme, taking inspiration from the established programme in South Africa and based on original material from Zambia. Topics covered include basic facts on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health education, other sexually transmitted diseases, peer education, the role of Scouting in fighting HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS and Human Rights.
'Africa Scout Radio' programmes are another way of educating communities on issues related to HIV/AIDS, as radio in Africa remains the communication tool with the widest reach. Four programmes have already been produced on HIV/AIDS and can be heard by Scouts in even the most remote of villages via dry cell battery powered transistor radios. These programmes can also be heard by hundreds of thousands of non-Scouts, thus giving them a better understanding of Scouting and its role in the development of African society, and its role in fighting the pandemic that is HIV/AIDS.
Now in its second year, World Scouting has a strong partnership with World Community Grid. World Community Grid's mission is to create the world's largest public computing grid to tackle projects that benefit humanity like FightAIDS@Home. Scouts with access to the Internet can sign-up as members of the new 'SCOUTS' team created on World Community Grid, contributing their computers' unused processor cycles to the global effort.
Worldwide there were 19 National Scout Organizations leading major projects focusing on HIV/AIDS as part of Scouting's Centenary 'Gifts for Peace'. The majority of the projects were running in Africa, however there were also projects in Oman, Barbados and Malaysia. Given the success and response to many of these projects, a number of them are still running and are being readapted to continue as long-term prgrammes.
How can you 'keep the promise'?
1. Education International: One Hour on AIDS
Start by taking one hour to talk about HIV and AIDS on 1 December! Get the activity kit and more information at http://www.ei-ie.org/efaids/en/campaigns_wad.php
2. Take a look at the resources below for more information and activity ideas.
3. Share news of your activities on or around 1 December 2007 for World AIDS day.
Please send your stories and photos to: email@example.com
You can also register your events on the World AIDS Campaign Event Calendar
Resources and links
Image: © www.worldaidscampaign.org