The Ministry of Labour continues to be in the vanguard of efforts to educate and sensitise Barbadians about issues related to HIV and AIDS.

Its "Training of Trainers" workshops seek to build the knowledge base of participants, so they may in turn educate persons about HIV and AIDS within their workplaces, communities and families.

The HIV and AIDS Project Unit of the Labour Ministry held another of its three-day workshops last week at the Savannah Hotel, targetting 16 persons from both the public and private sector.

Head of the Unit, Rhonda Boucher, said the latest session was part of the Ministry’s plans to continually keep its peer educators up-to-date on information related to the disease, and provide them with additional skills needed in their peer counseling sessions and outreach programmes.

"We are seeking to add some advanced skills to our peer educators. These are persons that we would have trained over the past three years from various workplaces within government and the private sector…we are trying to build those skills so that they would feel more comfortable in terms of doing presentations and sensitising their own staff," she pointed out.

Apart from the standard presentations on HIV and AIDS, participants also learnt about the Code of Practice on HIV and AIDS and other Life-Threatening Diseases for the Public Sector, Communication Skills, Understanding Behavioural Change, and Managing Stress.

Ms. Boucher noted such training would assist the presenters in tailoring their messages to their respective audiences.

The Official added that while the Ministry had made tremendous strides with its HIV and AIDS programme, she hoped to see more managers and department heads across the public and private sectors take part in the sessions, in particular the stigma and discrimination reduction workshops.

Ms. Boucher believed, this is vital, as they have to lead the way in terms of creating an enabling environment in the workplace for persons living with HIV and AIDS and other life threatening diseases.

Author: Andr?? Skeete

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