From the vault: PPI – SA learns it’s OK to be selfish! – A new approach to HIV/AIDS education

In April, PPI – SA International Fellow, Kristin Degou, wrote the following blog about her experience taking part in a HIV/AIDS capacity building workshop.

PPI-SA staff Nasiphi and Londa taking part in a hands on demonstration of how HIV/AIDS infects the body.


A simple, yet powerful statement!  But what does it have to do with HIV and AIDS?

On March 27th & 28th, PPI-SA staff took part in a 2 day HIV/AIDS capacity building workshop at Glenridge Church.  The workshop, run by PPI-SA partner Zoë-Life, was nothing new for most of our staff, as we have partnered and done similar workshops with them in the past. However, this year, Zoë- Life took a new, innovative approach to the HIV/AIDS issue by using content from Bridges of Hope and SABCOAH (South African Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS).

Phumlani , a Zoe- life facilitator, leads a group discussion on HIV/AIDS transmission on day 2 of the workshop

Before delving into the HIV virus itself, Zoë-Life facilitator Christy-Joy Webster focused the session around the general idea that each of us as individuals has value, and the importance of appreciating our value. PPI-SA staff were asked to think about the future, and to create goals for their futures. The  focus was on what we needed to accomplish these goals, and also what might get in the way. Zoë-Life showed us that creating goals for yourself is one of the best ways to realize your own value and what you can accomplish in life.

Another activity we did to show importance of self value was in creating identity statements. We were asked to finish the sentence, “I am..” This was one of the most challenging exercises, as Zoë-Life pushed us to not just answer what we already think we are, but rather what we want to be, but still don’t believe about ourselves. It was an inspiring activity that helped everyone realize where we are now, and more importantly, what we want to be in the future.

You=Me may be a simplistic phrase, but it is deep in meaning.  You must not see yourself as lesser or better than any other individual. Seeing people as people, will allow us to realize our own value, while still seeing the value in others. It is the hope of Zoe-Life that people will embrace this idea, the concept of having self value. If you value yourself, and are selfish in the right aspects, you will be less likely to engage in risky behavior that will put your value in jeopardy.

As PPI-SA is primarily focusing on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention in its life skills programmes, this workshop was a wonderful opportunity for our staff to get a refreshing take on the HIV/AIDS issue. Empowering our own staff to understand the importance of self value and individual goals will enhance their ability to be positive role models and teachers to the most important people in PPI-SA- our participants.

Zoë-Life will soon be offering free counseling and HIV testing to all of our PPI-SA staff. Words cannot explain how grateful we are for this opportunity, as it is so important to “know your status.” Thank you to our facilitators Christy-Joy and Phumlani, and to Zoë-Life, for continuing to innovate their curriculum and host these incredible workshops!


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