A leading United Kingdom (UK) and Irish development agency, Christian Aid, has explained about a multi media HIV exhibition that will commence in Freetown on March 10.
Addressing journalists yesterday at the National AIDS Secretariat (NAS)’s head office at Kingharman Road in Freetown, Christian Aid’s country manager Linda Kerley said, “the exhibition is actually a multi media road show that features the work of our partners and explores some of the challenges of working on HIV”.
She added that the exhibition would also highlight some exciting Information Education Communications (IEC) materials that had been developed by young people from the Methodist Youth Resource Centre (MYRC) in Bo.
The country manager noted that, “the exhibition is a fantastic opportunity for Christian Aid partners to share some of the highlights of their work and to discuss best practices with other HIV practitioners, programme volunteers and the general public”.
Linda Kerley maintained that the highlight of the day would be the premier of her organisation film titled ‘HIV: A Virus, Not a Moral Issue’ and the award nominated computer animation ‘Stigmatization’.
Each of our partners, she stated, would have a stall and would be available to talk about different aspects of their HIV work and to answer questions.
Explaining about Christian Aid, the country manager said her organisation had been working in Sierra Leone since the late 1970s and that in 2002 “we were one of the first international Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the country to introduce an HIV programme through our national partners”.
She pointed out that, “HIV/AIDS is a major thrust and priority of our country programme”, adding that our programme with Methodist Church of Sierra Leone (MCSL), Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD), Association of Rural Development (ARD), and Rehabilitation and Development Agency (RADA) was a broad based, focusing on prevention, care and support.
The country manager accentuated that Christian Aid also supported the work of HIV networks including Network of HIV Positives in Sierra Leone (NETHIPS) and Sierra Leonean Network for Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV/AIDS (SLENERELA).
Alie Fornah from the Association of Rural Development (ARD) said, “the work of Christian Aid is unique since they do not implement their programmes but work through development partners”.
He added that the exhibition would carry a unique way of transferring messages to the public particularly in the area of stigmatization.
The acting project officer of Network of HIV Positives in Sierra Leone (NETHIPS), Alpha Harry, said Christian Aid had created an initiative for people living with HIV/AIDS to come out and “say they are living with the virus”.
He stated that, “Christian Aid has funded our organisation with the tune of 300 Million Leones to implement their programmes”.
The acting project officer disclosed that people normally passed on wrong information about the disease which made people living with it paniced and found it difficult to live in the society.
He underscored the importance for people to know their HIV status.
Charlotte Walker, Christian Aid’s HIV/AIDS programmes officer, said on Monday 10 and 11 in Freetown the exhibition would take place at the British Council, the 14th in Bo, the 15th in Kenema and on the 20th in Makeni.
She explained further that the exhibition would showcase their work other HIV practitioners and the general public.
By Abibatu Kamara