Churches Channels of Hope Facilitator Training in Groot Constantia 20-26 October 2014

From 20th-26th October 2014, CABSA presented the Churches Channels of Hope Facilitator’s Training Program at Schoenstatt Retreat and Conference Centre, Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa.

The purpose of this program is to equip participants with the appropriate attitudes, knowledge and skills. Through this program the participants become channels of hope and can assist faith communities in their journeys towards HIV competence. The Churches, Channels of Hope programme also offers tools to help churches and communities respond to the needs created by HIV and AIDS.
Participants came from the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Western Cape provinces of South Africa, as well as from Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Although participants came from diverse communities and across borders, a comradery ensued almost immediately. This was fuelled and strengthened by their common goal to respond as Christians to the challenges of HIV and AIDS.
Participants found the training programme very intensive but also incredible gratifying. They received a lot of knowledge which was evaluated through assignments and assessments. During the training participants focused on facilitation and shared experiences openly yet confidentially. Participants that fully engaged in the programme are now equipped with thorough knowledge on HIV and AIDS. Furthermore they are enriched and challenged to explore a Christian response to the challenges of HIV and AIDS. And finally they are empowered with facilitation skills and guidelines and are motivated and supported to be a channel of hope.
Regarding the content of the training, participants had the following to say: “The content involved so much and I feel that we were given all that is necessary to know how to be a Channel of Hope.” This was indeed a common feeling amongst most participants. Regarding the information and tools received, participants had the following to say: “… because more than sitting in the class, I also got the resources to use.”, “And the information and tools can be used in a variety of workshops.”
One of the highlights for the participants was how HIV fits into a Christian response. A participant commented as follows after the training: “One of the highlights for me was the mainstream of HIV issues as a faith issue calling for my Christian commitment and responsibility …”.
Participants felt that the impact of the training would be positive in their communities. As one participant expressed it: “It would open people’s eyes to stigma, the weight of the issue and how they can be a channel of hope”.
Participants were confident that they would be able to use the knowledge, skills and awareness that they have gained in their communities. Many participants said that they would raise awareness and run workshops around HIV and AIDS within their churches, communities and even their work places.
This successful training programme was facilitated by a team of five trainers under the skilful leadership of Kiarie Mwenda from Kenya. We are grateful for their hard work and sacrifice during this week.
CABSA wishes all participants well with their future endeavours as they respond to the stigma of HIV within their different countries, provinces and communities. We believe that all the participants can bring light to the HIV epidemic by being a Channel of Hope. 
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