Over forty (40) Public School Teachers in Rural Montserrado County have benefited from a two-day Capacity Building Trainer of Trainers (TOT) Workshop on HIV/AIDS Awareness at the Workplace.
The workshop was held from March 18-19, 2021 at the Hawa Inn Conference Hall in Rural Brewerville, Montserrado County. The TOT workshop was organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the HIV/AIDS at Workplace Division of the Ministry of Labour.
Teachers are targeted for the training on grounds that they are interacting with a huge youthful population whom they have control over. The facilitating group, therefore, believes that the teachers can better disseminate the information to the students and can be a fast channel to spreading the message of HIV/AIDS.
Speaking during the opening of the workshop, ILO Country Manager, Salif Massalay said that the general goal of the workshop was to provide teachers with the knowledge and competency that would enable them to transfer HIV/AIDS awareness campaign messages to other teachers and students both in their respective schools and workplaces.
Mr. Massalay added that the objectives of the workshop were to give teachers clear knowledge on awareness and prevention of HIV at the workplace and schools; educate participants that HIV/AIDS is a labor issue and development challenge; to help employees including teachers understand and apply the ILO code of practice on HIV-AIDS at the world of work at their various workplaces, and to examine the links between HIV and AIDS with particular reference to occupational safety and health.
The ILO Project Manager informed them that the Training of Trainers (ToT) Workshop was geared at building their capacity to promote awareness intended to reduce HIV/AIDS to a minimum. He said that though the COVID-19 hindered the implementation of the project, he hoped that as it is being implemented this year, participants will build a strong network to spread the awareness campaign.
Also speaking during the workshop, the District Education Officer (DEO) for the Right Bank-3 of Montserrado County, Marcus Gonletuo, praised the ILO and partners for organizing such a workshop for the teachers who will further impact students through awareness and educational programs in their various schools in the Rural Montserrado County. DEO Gonletuo used the occasion to call on participants to take the training seriously as they look forward to them passing the message to students in the classroom and their respective communities.
“We expressed appreciation to the ILO and UNAIDS for the opportunity afforded teachers in Rural Liberia to acquire knowledge on HIV/AIDS.”
For her part, the Director of the HIV/AIDS at the Workplace Division of the Ministry of Labour, Mrs. Emma Lawson Benson, said HIV and AIDS is a critical social and labour issues and that is why the Ministry of Labour had reactivated the HIV/AIDS in Workplace Program.
She said that the program was first established at the Ministry prior to the Liberian Civil War, and was referred to as the “Family Welfare Program for Workers and Employers in the Workplace”. She said after the civil war, the program took its current name, and the government committed to developing the HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy. The first Policy was developed in 2008, which she said is currently undergoing a review. Following the review, the policy will be printed and disseminated across the country.
The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Zubah T. Mulbah, Sr., Partnership Director of the National AIDS Commission (NAC). Mr. Zubah noted that he’s confident the teachers will create HIV/AIDS awareness at the level of their schools and communities. Though the training was short, Zubah believes that they provided the requisite knowledge that is required to undertake awareness and education programs to the schools and communities of their assignment.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Madam Jenses Martins appreciated the training and challenged her colleagues to be agents of change to disseminate the knowledge acquired.