This past week, Jun 11 – Jun 14 2012, PPI-SA staff were fortunate to be trained as facilitators for the award winning Bridges of Hope curriculum. Bridges of Hope (BoH) is unique from other HIV-AIDS curricula in that, rather than just giving information, it puts strong focus on behavior changing techniques. The course includes interactive training activities that touch on HIV-related issues and promote behavior change for healthy, positive lifestyles that help people make and reach their life goals.
Bridges of Hope activities and methodologies are designed to ‘touch the heart, not just the head’ -they actively engage and involve participants in a way that enables them to internalize the messages, and apply them in a practical way to their own personal situation.
Previously, all PPI-SA staff went through a two-day HIV/AIDS capacity building workshop run by partner Zoë-Life. On the first day, facilitator Christy-Joy Webster led various BoH activities, making us think deeply about ourselves, our value, and our dreams and goals in life. Having already been exposed to the BoH activities as participants, many PPI-SA staff members were able to use that experience to learn how to facilitate these activities themselves.
The three-day facilitation workshop was again run by Christy-Joy Webster, a familiar face around PPI-SA. Christy has done a lot of wonderful work for PPI, and as one of only three Master Trainers of the BoH curriculum in South Africa, she agreed to train PPI-SA staff to be facilitators. Christy puts a personal touch on everything she teaches and it was an honor for us to learn from her.
On the first day of the training, Christy brought us through some activities we had already done in previous workshops. Seeing these activities for a second time brought some clarity on how to effectively facilitate them and obtain the desired outcomes.
On the second day, we did more hands on practical training. We chose activities that we enjoyed or were powerful to us, and then practiced facilitating those activities in small groups. We realized that facilitating takes a lot of practice! It requires guiding the group to come up with their own thoughts and ideas on a subject, rather than just telling them information or the “right answer”.
The third day was very exciting, as we took our new facilitating skills out to the field. PPI-SA staff headed out to Addington Primary, a partner school of PPI-SA, to work with 40 7th grade school children. We broke them into small groups and each group had 4 PPI-SA staff leading BoH activities. Overall, the day went very smooth. Though many PPI-SA staff members were at first a bit hesitant to be in front of a group as facilitators, they ended up confidently and successfully facilitating their sessions. It was a great day for everyone involved, and showed us how much these activities really can change participants’ lives.
For over a year, PPI-SA has been trying to find a way to train its entire staff in facilitating the BoH curriculum, so we can then integrate it into the current PPI-SA life skills programme. Thanks to the dedication from former PPI-SA fellow Taylor Brown and Zoë-Life employee Christy-Joy Webster, it finally became a reality to make this wonderful training happen. Thank you so much to them and to Zoë-Life for continuing to do amazing things for PPI-SA and the lives we touch.