03 Aug 2012 Project Faith – Fostering AIDS Initiatives That Heal
More than 3,000 members of faith communities, media, government and local civil society organisations benefitted from the project. They were provided with up-to-date information, knowledge and regular access to voluntary counseling, HIV testing and referral services for sexually transmitted infections. Majority of the project beneficiaries were from the Christian and Muslim communities, which are the predominant faiths in Lahore. Despite measures to increase security for Sikh and Hindu communities, few participated in the project activities due to fear of attacks often directed to minority faith groups.
The project learned the following important lessons. Poor and most marginalised groups look up to religious leaders for compassion and care. Religious leaders are eager to learn more about HIV and AIDS in order to have correct information to disseminate to worshippers. Religious leaders with accurate basic knowledge about HIV/AIDS tend to have a more positive attitude towards people living with HIV and AIDS than those who do not. Religious leaders in rural and remote areas tend to regard AIDS as a divine punishment, while those in urban area are more prone to accepting the scientific explanation of the virus. Very few religious leaders engage with young people and children on HIV prevention, however, they are willing to learn how.
A training manual Teaching adults to communicate with youth from a Christian perspective was produced. Download the manual here— (PDF).
The project began in 2010 and is now complete.
* Based in Lahore, the Ecumenical Commission for Human Development Pakistan is a Christian relief and development agency working with marginalized communities in Pakistan.
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