Sylivia Karen Rutagumirwa and Milka Akoth - 2011

The Education outreach program is a wonderful experience. It is creative, unique and great Program. It was refreshing to interact and hear from young students from different culture’s way of thinking. It was equally refreshing to hear the ideas of young students on HIV/AIDS and sexuality in general. As a sociologist this was an opportunity to put the sociological aspects against the places I was able to visit.

The second day in Ireland, 10th February Joe Clowry took us to Boyne Community College, in Trim. The school is partnering with St. Andrews senior seminary school in Uganda. The school was working on a project for the Young Social Innovators. The students were giving workshops to younger students in the school and were encouraging them to get involved in understanding the issues involving the developing world. I was so impressed with the presentation made by young students. The students were well informed, however many students find hard to understand the problems and realities of fellow students in Africa.

The workshop on HIV/AIDS for secondary school students was an amazing experience. The workshop was conducted in Carlow by Joe Clowry together with the team of East Africans fellows (Kenyan), (Ugandan) and I (Tanzanian). The entire workshop was excellent. I really enjoyed hearing the experiences from students in Ireland and from my fellow East Africans. From this workshop I learned that although students were involved in risk behaviors they do not see AIDS as a personal threat. One of the schools at the workshop was the Presentation College, Carlow. They are working with a school in Zambia and they are hoping to do a joint project on stigma around HIV/AIDS. They are entering their project for the Young Social Innovators competition.

My sincere appreciation and thanks to the CDPC team. I thank them for what I am able to see in my work. Participating in the CDPC Fellow Program was one of the best experiences I have had in my academic and professional life. The learning environment, the facilities and expertise afforded me an unparalleled experience I will never forget. I will always utilize the knowledge and experience I gained to improve my performance

 

Titus Legundo and Michael Abila 2010

On Monday 18th October we traveled to Boyne Community College, Trim in County Meath to facilitate a workshop with students that are linking with a school in Uganda. It was a great opportunity for us to meet young Irish students and to chat with them about their ideas of development. The workshop was part of the Worldwide program that is supported by Irish Aid. It is a linking and immersion scheme and its aim is to raise awareness of development issues among Irish students. Worldwide funds second level schools to link and travel to partner schools in Africa.

The workshop explored many issues but the students were active in the learning process. They looked at the world as a village and tried to work out where the consumption and production of resources are, they worked out where the wealth is based. They then unpacked the term " development" and showed their outcomes by a diamond ranking activity. It was an opportunity for us to tell students about our work in Ireland and the road we traveled to get our education back in Tanzania. Also presenting were Patsy Toland and ?Jim Kirwan from Self Help Africa.

We also traveled to Carlow where we gave a workshop on HIV and AIDS to students from St. Wolstens, Celbridge, Colaiste Mhuire, Clane and St. Mary’s Academy, Carlow. It was very informative to have discussion with young 15/16 years old Irish students  on the issue of HIV and AIDS. It seem most of the students do not think too much about HIV. Their level of knowledge was very low but hopefully we had informed them about the risks involved and how the virus can have such devastating effects on communities. We compared the situation in Tanzania, where students had to become very aware of the disease from primary schools to secondary school.

The outreach program is definitely very beneficial and the students were very responsive and thankful for our visits.

 

Phoebe Kajube and Madina Nyanjojo 2010

We facilitated a workshop on HIV/AIDS on Friday, 26th November 2010 at Cathedral Parish Centre, in Carlow.

Other workshop facilitators included Self Help Africa and Concern.

Schools that attended included:  Cross and Passion College, Kilcullen and Knockbeg College, from Carlow.

The students from each of the 3 schools were mixed up and then divided into 3 groups.  Each of these groups of students had a chance to participate in all the presentations conducted by CDPC, Self Help Africa and Concern. Each presentation took about one and half hours.

Students were very active throughout the presentations and they made attempt to respond to questions being asked. It was observed that some answered the questions correctly.  In one of the groups, students  confidently and without being embarrassed told us the activities that youths in Ireland are involved in that could expose them to STI/HIV infection and these included weekend concerts such as Oxygen and Electric Picnic, binge drinking/drug use at weekends which eventually resulted into engaging in unprotected sex.  However, only a few of them could tell us where one can go for an HIV test in case s/he required to take it i.e. at a Health Facility or GP.

In addition, a few students asked questions. For example, one student raised a question concerning the African culture, wondering what was so special about it that  subjects a woman to the state of total submissiveness to a man, without questioning, a situation which exposes her to the risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS.  He wanted to know if it could be changed for the better.

Most important to note is that the students were green about HIV/AIDS.  They were actually surprised to hear about the HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in Africa.  What we don’t know is whether they took it seriously when we told them that the prevalence rates in Asia and Eastern Europe are rising at a high speed.

It was observed further from the expressions on their faces that HIV/AIDS is as abstract or a disease that was far from them as winter or snow is unknown to many Ugandans/Africans.  This was observed right from the beginning of the presentations whereby none of the students from the 3 groups could define or explain in full AIDS and HIV. In addition, none of them had any idea about the symptoms. This is alarming and needs to be addressed.

 

Stephen Gikuru: Autumn 2010

 In addition to my involvement in learning science, I also participated in outreach education programme for second grade transition students. Thank to Joe Clowry the coordinator of CDPC Outreach programme. My first outreach workshop was in CBS, Portlaoise on Thursday 18th November 2010, which was by facilitated CDPC, Schools Across Borders and Self Help Africa.  Joe, Sylvia and Patsy and I presented three workshops to the transition high school students from four schools namely; Presentation Portlaoise, Colaiste Bhride, Carnew and CBS Portlaoise. I was very excited to meet and interact with these high school students and their teachers who were also happy to interact and learn more about Kenya and African issues especially in on HIV AIDS.

In addition, this was also my great opportunity to visit and see the country side. Joe, Sylvia and I did 3 workshops of 70 minutes each on HIV AIDS. The other workshops were on fair trade and conflicts resolution. I was very impressed with this program since it exposes the student to developmental and global issues at very early age. This program exposes the student to various issues in the world such as trade, equality, cultural differences and respect for humanity. Indeed, I thought this kind of program would have a very great impact if introduced in Kenyan high schools and could accelerate national development as it promote innovativeness and developmental knowledge unlike our Kenyan education which emphasizes more on examinations. However, unlike in Kenya where students as young as primary school, majority of the high school students in Ireland we met for the workshops from these schools were not too conversant with HIV AIDS information. The students were interested in learning how Kenya has coped with issues of HIV AIDS mainly on awareness, testing and stigma. There is need therefore for support of such workshops in other schools in Ireland in future to create awareness on HIV AIDS.