Turning the Tide: Increasing Access to HIV Prevention and Care for Men Who Have Sex with Men in Ghana
Kim Green, Deputy Country Director for Ghana, FHI 360
Las Manos de Apá was a program FHI 360’s early childhood experts created and piloted with a grant from the Office of Head Start. We created a curriculum and materials that childcare workers and administrators in Head Start and Early Head Start programs could use to help the Latino fathers in their schools improve their parenting skills and better understand the early literacy needs of their children. The materials were used in Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs in Michigan and New York.
We wanted to reach out to fathers because research shows that fathers are generally less involved in the Early Head Start and Head Start programs than other family members. In the migrant and seasonal programs, a lot of the dads are farm workers, and many are illiterate. We found that many dads who participated in Las Manos de Apa had very negative memories of their school experiences and didn’t understand the different stages of child development or how to engage with their children in early learning activities.
It was very important to us that we engaged the fathers where they felt most comfortable. Many of the fathers fondly remembered the oral storytelling traditions in their culture, and many were exposed to these traditions in their early childhood years. So we used oral storytelling in the lessons to gain the fathers’ trust, build their confidence and engage with them in a way that would be comfortable and familiar. We were simultaneously building their parenting skills and teaching them how to relate to a three- or four-year-old child.
In one activity, the fathers learned how to make a book with their children. Even if the father could not read, he could encourage his child to draw pictures and teach his child to look at the book from the left to the right. Another activity the fathers did together was make bookshelves for their children. Some of the dads went all out and engraved their children’s names in the bookcases or added intricate details. That was a culminating activity for them. We also had speakers come to the fathers’ groups to talk about different issues. In another activity, the fathers gave presentations to the mothers.
There was an opportunity over the three-year period for the program to have different mix of families. There were always new families added to the mix. Migrant and seasonal programs open and close according to the growing season of the area. But we tried to engage them all in social activities as well as the lessons. Things like soccer games and cookouts fostered the community the participants built.
Many fathers told us that initially they weren’t sure how to engage with their children, and they lacked confidence about how to interact with their young children. They said that because of the skills they learned in the program, they now talk with their children more and participate in more activities with their pre-schoolers. Overall, they said that they are spending much more quality time with their families. Many of them didn’t have father figures in their households growing up, so they didn’t have role models to follow. Now, they want to be role models for their children. They told us that this project gave them a lot of the tools to do that.
For more information about the education work FHI 360 does in the United States visit our website.
There are many issues that the oceans face, including pollution, over-fishing, unregulated and illegal fishing practices, and habitat destruction. Oceans are also very susceptible to climate change, and ocean acidification is a serious issue. Not only are the oceans at risk, but the millions of people who live in coastal communities around the world are at risk as well.
The Global FISH Alliance (G-FISH) is an alliance of companies and organizations working to manage fisheries worldwide in order to preserve biodiversity and support communities that depend on oceans for their livelihoods. G-FISH has worked with hundreds of local stakeholders in each country where we work — Cambodia, Honduras, and Mozambique — to improve the safety and management of the fisheries. We work throughout the value chain to promote long-term, sustainable fisheries. G-FISH also developed the “Know Your Source” campaign to ask consumers to be more informed about where their seafood comes from, which helps promote responsible fishing practices.
Everyone — and not just because the oceans provide much of the air we breathe. It’s not just an environmental issue. Fish supply the greatest percentage of the world’s protein consumed by humans. Ocean tourism is one of the largest industries in the world, and products worldwide are transported via international shipping lanes. We also enjoy ocean reefs when we’re on vacation. Whether it’s becoming an advocate or just being more informed about the ocean’s issues — everyone should play a role.
For more information about the work G-FISH is doing around the world, visit www.globalfishalliance.com.
We talk so much about reading and literacy in global education, but that is just one part of a child’s life. If we want to look at development in a holistic way, we have to look at a child in his or her entirety, not just his or her academic ability. There is plenty of evidence out there that shows that schools with better sanitary conditions attract more children. Parents vote with their feet, and if they see a school that is clean, has food and has hand-washing facilities, they are more likely to enroll their child in that school.
My dream is that we can inject health messages into teachers’ daily lesson planning, especially in primary education. Four major areas of concern are oral hygiene, handwashing and sanitation, malaria prevention and nutrition. Handwashing and proper use of latrines should be part of every school’s daily routine. Research shows that promoting handwashing in students, especially when they first arrive at school, greatly reduces the number of sick days among children.
In Latin America, proper nutrition is a major issue. Children are eating, but they are not getting the proper nutrients. They tend to eat a lot of junk food that is easily accessible in their neighborhoods.
Part of the magic of FHI 360’s active learning methodology is that we integrate parents’ participation in very specific ways. We have done this by asking parents to help schools provide children with breakfast each morning, and we have engaged parent associations to improve sanitation in schools. By actively engaging parents in daily school routines, they not only participate in the success of the schools, but also learn healthy habits themselves. This takes some of the burden off of teachers.
Well I’ve never stopped being a teenager…so just like I am now. My priorities then were girls, sports, and grades – and in what order depended on the time of day. Now they’re family, sports and work…ditto.
The first time I heard about sex was when someone told me that my father put his thing in my mother to create me. I think I was about 7. I didn’t believe them, so I asked my mother. She gave me a book that she had ready for the occasion. My father came by that night and uncomfortably asked if I had any questions; when I said I didn’t, he was relieved. But I keep reading voraciously (for a teen!) and became the age appropriate sex education source for my social network.
Establishing their self-esteem and developing a sense of security in a rapidly changing, increasingly transparent world.
Providing a supportive environment in which youth feel they can control their own destiny. It’s important to avoid a sense of fatalism where they feel that their future is in the hands of others – from criminal forces to supernatural beings. Hopefully we can empower youth to feel that they can control where they will end up in life. This sense of control is a necessary foundation for all of us, not only youth, to move forward and be accountable for our actions.
Because youth are the future. Each generation builds upon itself, and today’s youth are tomorrow’s adults. We (the slightly older than teenage generation) need to understand and value that our future is in their hands.
How to better manage their normal impulses so that youth can make better decisions for their future.
Treatment as prevention affects all ages. It’s as important for youth as it is for older persons to be aware of their HIV status. If infected, they can obtain treatment which will not only improve their personal HIV prognosis but will also reduce their capacity to transmit the virus to others.
The Interagency Youth Working Group (IYWG) is a network of nongovernmental agencies, donors, and cooperating agencies with an interest in improving the sexual and reproductive health of young people. As the secretariat for the IYWG, FHI 360 serves as the point of contact for the global dissemination of information on youth sexual and reproductive health research, programs, and materials.