PEPAIDS and our Zambian partner NGO, SAPEP, use peer education to empower and mobilise communities to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. In the absence of television and the internet in many of the areas we work in, theatre is the best and most effective way of sensitising whole communities to the issues around HIV and AIDS.
Our project officers and peer educators, whose main role is to equip community members with knowledge about HIV/AIDS as well as showing people how to engage and mobilise their communities through outreach work, have trained our AIDS Action Clubs in Theatre for Development so they can sensitise communities to HIV/AIDS issues as part of our prevention programme. Everyday situations that the audience might find themselves in are enacted in order to illustrate the choices that community members have when it comes to protecting themselves against the disease.
Performances take place in a variety of settings from schools to anti-retroviral clinics and are always well attended. Common subjects include how to prevent mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and where communities can access their voluntary, counselling and testing (VCT) services. Importantly, the plays not only serve to keep the community informed about HIV/AIDS related issues but can also be utilised as a forum through which sensitive issues, such as child abuse, can be discussed. AIDS Action Clubs also use theatre for development to reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS in the community.
See our case study about the MARS Theatre Group, which highlights how theatre for development is used with great effectiveness in the community.
Due to circumstances, we are unfortunately not able to offer volunteer placements in Zambia at Present!