Hope Education started working in South Africa in 2008, funded by a five-year grant from the US government’s PEPFAR program. PEPFAR is an initiative to help save the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS around the world. It aims to:
- Promote sustainable country programs,
- Strengthen the capacity of local governments to lead efforts
- Expand HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment
- Maximize impact by coordinating HIV/AIDS programs with broader health and development initiatives
- Invest in innovations and operations research in order to maximize outcomes
HEF originally sought and received PEPFAR funding for the iMatter program. This funding was later increased to cover the Tertiary, Families Matter! and Project AIM programs.
That was five years ago. What have we accomplished since then?
1. Promoting sustainable country programs and strengthening the capacity of local governments to lead efforts
The iMatter program was designed to build the prevention education capacity of local teachers. The program flourished with the strong support of the South African Department of Basic Education (DBE) in 5 out of 9 South African provinces, and we were able to train 22,311 public school teachers to use iMatter. As the program progressed, we built in another training component: training Department of Basic Education Curriculim Advisors to become certified to train teachers on iMatter themselves. This move lets iMatter continue under DBE supervision, making the program locally sustainable and providing local educational leaders with an effective HIV prevention education tool. So far, 51 DBE Curriculum Advisors have been certified as Master Trainers.
2. Expanding HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment
Our goal has always been large-scale prevention education. Since 2008, approximately 2,014,285 children and youth have been reached with HIV prevention programming through all of our South Africa-based efforts. Each program also aims to reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. It is our hope that a reduction in stigma will encourage an increasing number of people to get tested or to obtain appropriate treatment. It will also encourage a supportive and caring environment that will be beneficial to the wellbeing of those suffering from HIV.
3. Maximizing impact by coordinating with broader health and development initiatives
Partnership is a core value at Hope Education, and we have focused on contextualizing and connecting our programs to other key initiatives.
- iMatter has assisted 20,944 teachers to obtain further education credits through receiving iMatter training. Training focuses on enhancing general teaching skills and proficiency, as well as utilizing the iMatter curriculum.
- FMP and Project AIM have partnered with local schools and community groups to enable schools to provide parents with resources that will support the HIV prevention programming that children are already receiving at school.
- The Tertiary Program coordinated with university faculty members to provide youth with communications and peer education experience in addition to education specific to HIV and AIDS.
- All of our programs provide participants with connections to local resources relevant to their specific needs, such as the child abuse hotline, health centers, and free HIV testing.
4. Investing in innovations and operations research in order to maximize outcomes
Over the last 5 years, iMatter has undergone 2 waves of outcomes testing in addition to our regular data collection practices. We have completed both a learner survey and a teacher survey to evaluate program impact on the desired outcomes and to determine necessary changes to both curriculum and operations. The results are available on our Research page. A similar survey is in preparation for Project AIM.
In addition to these surveys, ongoing monitoring is conducted on all programs. Our Monitoring and Evaluation Officer supervises the collection of data on each phase of implementation, from preparation through graduation. This data is regularly reviewed to assess the efficiency of operations. Reports are shared with our major stakeholders, including our PEPFAR Activities Managers, who can then utilize it to improve HIV eradication efforts throughout all of South Africa.