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Building knowledge, dispelling myths

Last Friday, August 20th, Kilimahewa Educational Center hosted its first HIV/AIDS seminar for the 35 students of Kilimahewa and over 50 members of the surrounding community, men and women alike. EdPowerment teamed up with the Knock Foundation to sponsor the first event of its kind in this community. Led by KNOCK’s leaders and Tanzanian peer educators, the program addressed a wide range of topics including self-esteem, healthy relationships, the reproductive system, safe sex and HIV/AIDS.

The Knock Foundation, which has presented well-received HIV/AIDS seminars for the last three years to increasingly large groups in Rau village, Moshi, provided a set of educational handouts which were welcomed by the participants, who also enjoyed a hot lunch of rice and beans. This marked the first time that KNOCK has brought its program to another village, and the need – and community desire – for this type of outreach was quickly apparent. Simple information such as which gender determines the sex of a child can be life-changing, especially for women who often bear the burden of harmful misconceptions. In group discussions and open questioning, other myths about HIV transmission and the practice of safe sex were dispelled as the teenagers of Kilimahewa gained critical information to help them make good choices in life. Not only did the teenagers benefit from this seminar, but adults also came away with new insights into basic well-being, including healthy eating and the need to limit alcohol consumption.

The positive impact on participants was most remarkable in the response by the village chairperson who asked that more such seminars be presented to the entire ward of Samburai (of which Kilimahewa is a sub-division). Ultimately the best education addresses the needs of the whole person and EdPowerment thanks the KNOCK Foundation for helping to provide this service to the community of Kilimahewa.