A delegation of Brazilian experts is to visit Botswana soon to help produce and promote classroom HIV/AIDS learning materials aimed at making it easier for teachers to discuss the sensitive issue.
According to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) statement, the southern African country, which has one of the world's highest HIV infection rates, hoped to copy the manner in which Brazil had implemented its awareness and education programmes in schools. Statistics from the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS indicate that more than one-third of Botswana's adults are infected with HIV, as opposed to less than one percent of Brazilians.
"As in Brazil, school offers a critical opportunity for young people in Botswana to learn about HIV/AIDS and how to protect themselves. The new project, scheduled to start in February, aims to widen that opportunity by enhancing teachers' ability to talk to students about sex and sexuality comfortably in the classroom," the statement said.
It said the project would see the development of interactive television programmes to help teachers facilitate classroom discussions on potentially sensitive HIV and AIDS issues. "It will help break down cultural barriers preventing teachers and parents from talking to children openly about sex and sexuality," the statement added, saying that the project would be funded by The African Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Partnership, the United Nations Foundation and UNDP.
According to UNDP, the first phase of the project - set to begin in February and to last for about 15 months - would see Brazilian experts help produce the television programmes and other support material. Botswana Television would broadcast the shows in Setswana and English and would make copies of the shows available for those who missed it live.
Commenting on the project, which took a nine-member Botswana delegation to Brazil to examine its successful strategy - UNDP Resident Representative in Botswana, Macharia Kamau, said: "In our work with Brazil our return on investment has been phenomenal. The fascinating thing about broad-based South-South cooperation is the extra benefits that both parties enjoy through cultural and interpersonal exchange."
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