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Public School Teachers Benefit From HIV/AIDS Training

Over 40 public school teachers in Rural Montserrado County have benefited from a two-day capacity building Trainer of Trainers (TOT) workshop on HIV/AIDS awareness at the workplace with funding from the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS.
The workshop was held from March 18-19, 2021 in Brewerville, Montserrado County and was organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the Workplace Division of the Ministry of Labour.
ILO Country Manager, Salif Massalay, said the general goal of the workshop was to provide teachers with the knowledge that would enable them transfer HIV/AIDS awareness campaign messages to other teachers and students both in their respective schools at work places.
Mr. Massalay also said the specific objectives of the workshop are to give teachers the clear knowledge on awareness and prevention of HIV at the workplace and schools, to educate participants that HIV/AIDS is a labour issue and development challenge and that the impact of such issue on employees and employers; to help employees including teachers understand and apply the ILO code of practice on HIV-AIDS at the world of work at their various work places; and to examine the links between HIV and AIDS with particular reference to occupational safety and health.
The ILO Project and Country Manager welcomed participants and informed them that the workshop was geared towards building their capacity to promote awareness intended to reduce HIV/AIDS to a minimum.
He said that though the COVID-19 hindered the implementation of the project, but hoped that as it is being implemented this year, participants will build a strong network to spread the awareness campaign, while the District Education Officer (DEO) for the Right Bank-3 of Montserrado County, Mr. Marcus Gonletwo, praised the ILO and partners for organizing a workshop that will further impact the training through awareness and educational programs at their various schools in the Rural Montserrado County.
The Director of the HIV/AIDS at the Workplace Division of the Ministry of Labour, Emma Lawson Benson, said considering that HIV and AIDS is a critical social and labour issue; that is why the Ministry of Labour had reactivated the HIV/AIDS in Workplace Program.
She said that the program was first established at the Ministry prior to the outbreak of the Liberian Civil War, but was referred to as the “Family Welfare Program for Workers and Employers in the Workplace.”
She further explained that after the civil war, the name of the program was changed to “HIV/AIDS in Workplace Program” and the government’s commitment was to develop the HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy and the first Policy was developed in 2008.
She said that the policy is currently being reviewed noting that regional consultations were held, desk review went through and it is set for validation. She added that following the validation process, the policy will be printed and disseminated across the country.
Mrs. Benson thanked the UNAIDS and ILO for sponsoring the two-day TOT Workshop for Public School Teachers and the National AIDS Commission for sending Facilitators as well as the Ministry of Education for the participants.
She praised the partnership with UNAID, ILO and the Ministry of Labour and said that she looks forward to more collaboration between the partners and the Ministry in creating awareness on HIV/AIDS in the Workplace.
The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Zubah T. Mulbah, Sr., Partnership Director of the National AIDS Commission (NAC) who in an interview with reporters said, the training was timely because of the knowledgeable level of participants at the workshop.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Madam Jenses Martians appreciated the training and challenged her colleagues to be agents of change to disseminate the knowledge acquired.

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