Tourism Ministry Continues Peer Educators??? Workshop On HIV/AIDS

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A group of??peer educators??participating in the workshop.

Peer educators from within the tourism sector have received further training in HIV/AIDS.

The Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), Associates Internationals Development, (AID Inc.) and Community Health Action and Transformation (CHAT), recently hosted a half-day workshop at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Tourism Development Officer with responsibility for HIV/AIDS, Madge Dalrymple said the purpose of the session was to update persons trained last year about the current thinking in HIV and AIDS. She added that it was also designed to hone new skills; to answer any questions that might have come from interaction with peers and assist them with the design of future programmes for their own organisations.

In commending the initiative, Mrs. Dalrymple explained: "Peer education is an essential tool for HIV/AIDS initiatives within an organisation. It is quite effective, because as the name suggests you are dealing with someone at your level, persons of like mind and of a similar age and that has the tendency to make one feel more comfortable."

Meanwhile, Project Officer with AID Inc., Martine Chase, noted that it was "used globally and recommended as a best practice approach to sending information."

Explaining that it was a regular aspect of training, she stated: "When we have new workers come in [to an organisation], they shadow someone who has been in the organisation for a long time and peer education works because that person can relate to you."

She reminded participants that when they returned to their communities and educated their co-workers, they too should see themselves as setting another example for others to follow and to be part of "that global best practice".

The workshop targeted a wide cross section of individuals from the industry, ranging from human resource managers to kitchen assistants and gardeners. The informal sector was also well represented, including lifeguards from the National Conservation Commission and members of the United Gays and Lesbians Association of Barbados and Comfort, Assist, Reach out Educate (CARE).

At the end of the session, an activities booklet, a teaching manual and a flip chart were presented to participants to be used in the educational programmes at their workplace.

jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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