The aim of this brochure is to reflect on our experiences, present key modules of the awareness campaign in detail and, especially, to make them accessible and shareable with others. Thus, we want to support other people who are working in this or comparable fields of study, in their work as well as in their realization of similar projects. At the same time we are aware of the limits and imperfections of our representations, which are due to a stay of only some months. In this sense we regard the brochure more as stimulation than perfect knowledge, with the aim of making a contribution to further intercultural cooperation.
In Ghana the concrete cooperation partner was the Akatsi District Youth Office of the National Youth Council, Ghana (District Youth Coordinator Jerry Etse Agbo). This Youth Office also initiated the forming of an Akatsi Youth Committee. Additionally, there were contacts to representatives from the Social Welfare and Education Office.
All mentioned institutions participated in the planning of the HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign. This enabled us to get a first-hand insight into local points of view and attitudes. However, the willingness of those partners to contribute to the programs conception in terms of content was very low. Thus, initially we unconsciously worked out a very European conception. This conception was very knowledge-based, was grounded on too much material, and was rarely aiming at aspects of stigmatisation and attitudinal change. After some timely progress we tried to make the campaign more simple, more understandable and visual. For example, we left out an ambiguous poster explaining the use of a condom, and substituted some illustrative charts of the Traffic light game with real and genuine things.
In contrast to this rather pedagogical program, Sven prolonged his stay and offered group counselling on HIV/AIDS issues. The related way of proceeding was more gentle and integrated. Through the use of a forum for debate, the emphasis was laid on the crystallized categories of the awareness campaign: stigmatisation, fears, conflicting information and gender issues, which were seen as more useful. One part of the group counselling sessions was the separation of people according to sex and age to booster a broad discussion. Not least, more attention was paid to coordination: appointments were made in close contact with the concerned villages (their churches as well as schools), and a reliable way of transport was assured to all in advance. Towards the end the group counselling was carried out mainly by our Ghanaian counterparts.
In our view the continuous adaptation to the local context was very important. According to our experiences, the related influencing factors and conditions to be noted were: literacy and the general level of education, the division into official and local languages, religiosity, the material infrastructure, e.g. means of transport and video recorder facilities, and macro-economical data like the average annual income per capita.
Our project resulted in a continuous company of interpreters, the differentiation of the program regarding the level of education, the target group (12 up to 49 year-old people in schools or communities) and their religiosity.
In our opinion a further key point in the planning and carrying out the HIV/AIDS awareness campaign was continuous conceptual work and reflection, without which you reach nobody and nothing is achieved if the worst comes to the worst. Apart from the already mentioned improvements, we were discussing teenage pregnancy in the form of a frontal teaching unit. This was not very successful, particularly because the concentration of the audience was decreasing towards the end of the program. We substituted a short story for the frontal teaching unit so we were able to capture the audiences attention better.
Finally, we want to mention some points that are fundamental to awareness campaigns. Besides context adaptation and a positive attitude, participation and integration between the team as well as with the audience is very important. This also includes the provision of bilingual material. Furthermore, a general connection is more important than the provision of many details, thus, concise simplifications are often appropriate.
Last, and especially important, the arguments given should be orientated at the everyday life of the audience. Argumentations concerning stigmatisation and their reasons have to be attached to the everyday life of the recipients in order to enable a change of attitudes.