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Privileging literacy: Methodologies Developed and used in the Caribbean and South Africa to teach HIV prevention and catalyse community empowerment to low and non-literate populations

Nesha Z. Haniff, MPH Phd, Center for Afro-American and african studies, University of Michigan, 4666 Haven hall, 505 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1045, 734-763-4520, nzh@umich.edu

The original base of this project was developed with family planning agencies in five countries in the Caribbean. Using a methodology developed for non and low literate populations, cadres of 10 community activists were selected by family planning agencies and were taught 3-10 modules on women’s reproductive health. One was on HIV. This module has met such great success and has been embraced by many community groups, due to the growing epidemic of HIV and the need for sustainable prevention tools. Over a period of two years, these grassroots groups on their own taught over 40,000 people the reproductive health modules, but most consistently the HIV module. The success of this module was then tested through a University of Michigan Study abroad program to South Africa. University of Michigan students taught the module to communities in the townships areas, schools, traditional healers, LGBTI groups, home based care groups, and to HIV positive people as well. This paper will address the limitations of traditional prevention programs that are literacy based and their inability to reach low literate and non-literate populations. The elements of the HIV methodology will be discussed, delineating the ways that little or no resources are required. The experiences of teaching in these various populations will be discussed and the difficulties and successes analyzed. Theoretically, this work represents a progression of Freire’s pedagogy and combines elements of Mao Tse Tung’s barefoot doctors, Ela Bhatt’s self-reliance model in the Self Employed Women’s Association, and other theoretical works which require praxis.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Activism, Poverty

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

From Prevention to Care: HIV/AIDS Issues in High Prevalence Countries

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA