FACES World Aids Day, 2011: ‘Getting To Zero’

This year’s World AIDS day theme was “GETTING TO ZERO”: Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination, and Zero AIDS-related Deaths.

Faces Participation:  UNAIDS strategy aims to advance global progress in achieving country set targets for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support; to halt and reverse the spread of HIV; and to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015. This strategy fits well within FACES’ Vision and Mission. For nearly seven years, FACES has worked to achieve the UNAIDS goal and MDG target. Each year, World’s AIDS Day serves as an important reminder of our collective goal and the tremendous progress made in the battle against HIV/AIDS.

FACES participation in World AIDS Day on 1st December 2011 spanned HIV education and mobilization, testimonials, participation in the Kisumu marathon and Rongo 11km run, HIV counseling and testing services, entertainment, and blood donations. Activities are described below.

Kisumu

The national celebration was held in Kisumu at Kenyatta Sports Ground on 1st December 2011. FACES participation included:

Banner: FACES donated a banner to the organizing committee of the event. The banner shared our vision, mission, and core values. It was used in the procession from Kondele ground to the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground and was on display throughout the day.

Procession: FACES staff, support group members, clients, and the public participated in a large procession from the Kondele ground to the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground. It was led by FACES Deputy Director Clinical Dr. Lisa Dillabaugh.

Entertainment: FACES Country Director, Dr. Patrick Oyaro, graced the day by singing his new album PATA PATA song, a song with a theme of eliminating Mother-to-Child Transmission. The song was very much in line with this year’s theme of Getting to Zero.

Mobilization: The national organizing committee charged FACES with sensitizing the public about HIV and mobilizing them to participate in the Worlds AIDS Day event.  Mobilization started on the 24th of November and lasted until 1st December, 2011 – World AIDS Day. The FACES Social Science department applied their expertise and used an accelerated mobilization approach involving visiting communities and using public address systems from vehicles.

Marathon: The marathon race started at 7 a.m in Kisumu. About 300 participants competed in the full marathon (42km) and the half marathon (21km). FACES was well-represented: 30 program members participated in the half marathon including 12 staff members, peer educators, peer leaders and clients from support groups. All of the FACES participants finished the race successfully. The program was led by the Deputy Director Systems, Charles Kibaara, and Human Resource Manager, Beatrice Omollo. Charles Kibaara summed up the experience nicely: “When I was running I kept on remembering the AIDS patients in the hospital and how they are fighting to keep the banner. This gave me the thrill to complete this race. The fulfillment of completing the race is so good. You feel that you have achieved and you have contributed in sharing your feelings with the HIV infected and affected people.”

FACES Display Stand: FACES set up a display at the Sports Ground that featured all the comprehensive services FACES provides. The display stand was staffed by a pharmacist to discuss care and treatment medication; a clinical team to address clinical and nutritional questions; and social scientists and support group members to respond to psychosocial issues. In the photo, the display had just been set up; however, as the day got underway, it was overwhelmed by visitors – including a minister who was the chief guest of the day.

Blood Donation: Many FACES staff members gave generously – they were philanthropists by donating blood. This campaign was led by the Deputy Director Systems, Charles Kibaara, who paved the way and was followed by many of other staff.

Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) Materials: The program procured t-shirts for the participants in the various events of the day. T-shirts were also given to the District Health Management Team (DHMT). The t-shirts had the day’s theme printed on them.

Other District Activities

Nyatike District: Held at Moi Nyatike Boys Stadium
Suba/Mbita Districts: Held at Onundo Mbita Township
Rongo District: Held at Rongo Primary School
Migori District: Held at the Migori Stadium Grounds

All of the celebrations were led by the District Commissioner in each district. FACES worked with the district organizing committees and was well-represented across the districts.

Inaugural Rongo 11km Run: For the first time in its history, Rongo District held its first World AIDS Day run! The race was 11km and attracted 150 participants. Several FACES program members participated in the event: 5 Social Science Department students, 3 peer educators, and 28 staff members. All participants were awarded with certificates. FACES was responsible for certain logistics such as demarcation of the routes, an escort team on motorbikes to lead the way, and staffing checkpoints providing runners with water and glucose and for stamping the racers.

Mobilization: All the districts took part in large scale mobilizing to alert the public about World AIDS Day.  Rongo mobilization started on the 21stof November and ran until the 1st of December and Nyatike started on the 29th of November and ran until the 1st of December. Suba provided transport and fuel to the organizing committee for mobilization.

Entertainment: There was a variety of forms of entertainment in various districts with an emphasis on HIV education and awareness. Live bands were sponsored by Nyatike and Migori for the celebration day. Nyatike, Migori, Suba and Rongo all had drama, skits, and poems by the support group members and children’s clubs. In Rongo, the Social Science Department performed a skit.

IEC Materials: All the districts procured t-shirts with the World AIDS Day theme printed on them. They were distributed to all the participating members of staff, support groups, peer educators, DHMT, and the organizing committee of the event.

Banner: Nyatike prepared a banner with the theme and World AIDS Day messages. The banner was used in the procession.

Testimonies: All the districts had client support group members give testimonials. Sharing their own story about learning their status, coping with the condition, accessing care and treatment, and living positively inspires others at risk or HIV infected to access prevention, care, and treatment services and it diminishes stigma. Testimonials varied from Maternal Child Health (MCH) mentor mothers who testified about how the interventions have enabled them to give birth to negative babies to how support groups have helped fight stigma, to the importance of family
planning services.

Procession: Each district had a procession from various points in the community to the event venue.

HIV Testing and Counseling: Migori District had trained counselors on the ground providing Voluntary Counseling and Testing services for HIV available for the community.

Speeches: Suba, Nyatike, and Migori had slots as an implementing partner to speak about our role, HIV experience, and World AIDS Day. Rongo’s participation was recognized; however, due to time and rain, FACES and other partners did not have the opportunity to speak.

Other support: FACES sponsored many items to facilitate the World AIDS Day events, including public address systems, refreshments such as sodas and water, chairs, and tents. There was also a celebration at Uriri and Rongo District and FACES provided refreshments, tents, public address system, and support group members from Rongo who gave testimonials to the public at Uriri.

In Suba, there was a display stand to show the services and products offered through the FACES program. Staff were on hand to talk about services and respond to questions. Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) services were offered in Mbita district at the celebration ground.

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