Youth Space

On the training program on leadership, policy development and effective communication for young people living with HIV

By Fundación Chile Positivo

With the support of Y+ and the 4Youth Grant, as Chile Positivo we were able to develop a project based on a training program for young people living with HIV in Chile. This program trains young people in different skills, using different methodologies (such as Kahoot, roundtables, etc), through the educational e-learning platform, Moodle.

For instance, the first module of the program consisted on three different sessions to discuss a general framework on HIV and AIDS: this module included a session on the basics of HIV/AIDS; prevention methods and the importance of community based responses to HIV and pleasure as a key aspect of prevention; and the way stigma and discrimination impacts young people living with HIV and why it’s so important to use an appropriate language and how we can overcome the effects of stigma and self-stigma.

By module two of the training program, participants were able to participate in a roundtable with young leaders living with HIV around Latin America. The roundtable included L’Orangelis Thomas from Puerto Rico who is an activist from ICW Latin America and the organization Pangea; Raúl Caporal a mexican activist from the Red de Jóvenes Positivos (The Network of Young People Living with HIV) in Mexico; Mariana Iacono an argentinian activist and feminist from ICW Argentina and ICW Latin America; and Iancu Cordescu, Chile Positivo’s Executive Director, who has also been involved and participated in other networks of young people living with HIV in the past.

We are currently on module 3 of our training program, which has been centered on developing skills and tools for young people living HIV to develop local diagnosis of problems and needs within their communities. In order to do this, we’ve held 2 sessions teaching our young participants about participation, territory and basic qualitative and quantitative skills, such as: creating a survey (whether it’s online or on-site) and a proper questionnaire; performing one-on-one interviews and focus groups; among other tools. Recently, participants were tasked to design a questionnaire on their own in order to identify problems among young people living with HIV in Chile. Among all questionnaires submitted by participants, we would select one of them, which we would revise. By Monday, the selected questionnaire consisted of problems that young people living with HIV may experience in their healthcare facilities during COVID-19 (such as, how they rated the quality of their healthcare since COVID-19; if there were meaningful prevention measured on COVID-19, etc). That questionnaire was revised by our team and shared online through Survey Monkey. We expect to have preliminary results by our next session on module 3, to discuss with our young participants some of the main problems that have presented in the survey and how they think these could be addressed.

As of today, the program is still ongoing and we have 3 more modules to go, including a module on public policy, on effective communication and on developing projects. Throughout our program we’ve had very talented guest speakers and training facilitators, including psychologists, midwives, public administrators, sociologists with expertise in project development, and even former government representatives who are expected to participate in the upcoming modules of our program.

But what do our participants have to say about our program so far? We ask them to fill out an anonymous feedback form after every module. Here’s some of what they have to say:

“Truly, it has been an amazing learning opportunity. The program has proven to be, so far, very didactic, fun and all the information provided has been easy to understand, especially to those of us that don’t have as much training on the subject. I’ve discovered things I didn’t even imagine existed and I feel like this program has become a special part of me, both personally and professionally, in order to help me share and educate in my community about ways to prevent HIV/AIDS and to talk to people about how we - young people living with HIV - can have a healthy, free and equal life as the rest. The additional material and literature is precise and has information on our local and national reality. I wanted to congratulate and thank the team for this initiative, since I have been blown away by it since the first module; not only because of the content of each session but because of how organized and efficient it has been, since this program has literally been more organized than my own classes at university”.

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