EI representatives visited teachers’ unions in Eastern and Southern Africa at the end of February to review the EFAIDS activities undertaken in 2006 and to plan for EFAIDS activities in 2007.
In Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia, EFAIDS action plans were finalised. All EFAIDS plans comprise activities in five working areas:
1. Research 2. Policy development 3. Advocacy 4. Publicity 5. Training
This is the backbone of the unions’ strategy to achieve the three major goals of the EFAIDS programme, which are:
1. To prevent new HIV infections among teachers and learners, 2. To mitigate the negative effect of AIDS and other illnesses on achieving EFA goals 3. To increase the number of learners completing quality basic education.
It is worth mentioning some of the major successes of the 2006 programme. In many of these countries, teachers’ unions are now considered as professional organisations with well developed education policies. Increasingly the unions are recognised by stakeholders and by ministries of education as valuable partners on policies related to education and HIV/AIDS. For many unions, the EFAIDS Programme has also contributed to an increase in membership as more and more teachers get unionised to benefit from the services provided by the union, and especially from training on HIV/AIDS and on education-related issues. The EFAIDS Programme has furthermore significantly increased unions’ visibility.
In March, similar meetings are to be held with unions participating in the EFAIDS Programme in Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.