Archive for September, 2009

FINDINGS FROM THE PRISONS OUTREACHES

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

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In our prisons visits over the last three years we have come across several challenges, both administrative and resource based. It has come to our attention that, prison staffs, prisoners and the surrounding communities are placed at risk of HIV infection, TB and other opportunistic infections due to several predisposing factors.

Some prison staff, due to disposable income and the availability of local liquor in the surrounding communities (London, Hilton), engage in binge drinking that leads to risky sexual encounters in the form of transactional sex and regular community based sex work with women in low income settings. Some of the prison staff have come to develop extra-marital relationships with members of the surrounding community because of the condition and nature of work that leads them to be away from their spouses and family in terms of transfers and shift changes.

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According to the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey findings 2007, ¾ of men and ½ of women have had more than one sexual partner in their lifetime. 12% and 2% of men and women respectively have had more than 2 sexual partners in the last 12 months. Compared to year 2003, more Kenyans have been tested for HIV; however, about 2/3 of adults have never been tested. 50% of those who do not test perceive themselves at low risk while 84% of those who test positive are unaware of their sero-status.

The Kenya Prisons Service HIV/AIDS policy points out that gender disparity, biological, socio-cultural, economic and segregational circumstances affect men and women differently which leads those who are averse, to engage in transactional sex with their colleagues. Such behavior leads to STI infection. Despite there being an operational health facility situated in the prison, there is low uptake of medical services due to fear associated with stigma and lack of confidentiality yet The Kenya Prisons Service HIV/AIDS policy spells out clearly issues of treatment, stigma, discrimination and confidentiality among its guiding principles. Though there was a positive response towards Counseling and testing during previous theatre outreaches in the Nakuru GK prison there was a drop in numbers tested when REPACTED took a break from outreach activities to develop a comprehensive strategy. Those who know their status and those of their spouses are still relatively few compared to those who do not.

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Inmates/prisoners face different challenges compared to the staff and the communities outside. They are confined within prison walls and are not likely to encounter risk in the same context. Prisoners face a similar problem as the others in terms of lack of current information on changing trends on HIV/AIDS and other opportunistic infections, relationships between male circumcision (uncircumcised men are three times more likely to be infected with HIV(13.2%) than circumcised (3.9%) : KAIS 2007), TB, Malaria, HSV-2 and syphilis co-infection with HIV. Their living conditions are not conducive for people living with HIV/AIDS, where access to ARVs, ART and psycho-social support is either restricted or non existent altogether. Prisoners living with HIV/AIDS face a lot of discrimination and stigma because of their skin condition (Kaposi’s sarcoma) or TB symptoms like persistent coughing. Counseling and testing is viewed favorably by the inmates and they turn up in numbers for the test but our target of 90% tested has remained elusive to date. It is also important to impart skills in prevention including abstaining, being faithful and correct and consistent usage of condoms in preparation for the prisoners’ eventual release back into society where they are bound to face the same challenges as those in the surrounding community.

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REPACTED-KENYA

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

REPACTED is a community based organization registered under the Ministry of Gender, Culture, Sports, and Social Services under the Department of Culture in 2001.

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REPACTED’s mission is to define ourselves, shape our experiences, identify our strengths, tackle our challenges and celebrate our successes. REPACTED is composed of highly qualified youth and community volunteers who form a multi-disciplinary team encompassing the field of behavior change communication. REPACTED was formed in the year 2001 by youth theatre artists from the Nakuru Players Theatre Club within the Impact Project of the Family Health International (FHI) under the technical assistance of the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health-Kenya (PATH- Kenya). The youth thespians formed the organization with an aim of improving their community by encouraging people to make informed decisions and to involve them in community development. They achieve this by volunteering their theatrical skills and talents in participatory theatre activities, awareness campaigns peer education and counseling.

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REPACTED seeks to address a range of youth development issues directly associated with HIV/AIDS and STIs, sexuality, Life Skills, gender issues, relationships and reproductive health. Activities that improve knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behavior are organized in a range of settings: from learning institutions to communities and special circumstance institutions (like prisons, juvenile facilities, and schools for persons with disabilities).

REPACTED programs target youth between the ages of 15 – 24 as partners, allies, and agents of change, and support youth-adult partnerships. REPACTED’s work is unique in that it involves the community in coming up with solutions to the issues they face. We do this through the use of community theatre, in a method better known as “Magnet Theatre”. This method starts with tailor made community folk media mobilization techniques that pulls the audience to the magnet theatre site and enlists the audience in an active interactive discussion through a scripted performance designed to provoke the target audience’s feelings, attitudes and beliefs with an aim of inspiring positive behavior change.

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In order to come up with quality Magnet theatre presentations, REPACTED engages key persons from the target population in forums aimed at identifying current risky behavior, desired behavior and obstacles to adopting the desired behavior. Guided by behavior change theories, like Diffusion of innovation, Health belief theory and Social learning theory, the target audience explore behavior change objectives, communication objectives and identify channels of communication that are effective affordable and acceptable to the community at large.

. PROJECTS WHICH REPACTED HAS SUCCESFULLY UNDERTAKEN

REPACTED has conducted 2019 interactive community theatre outreaches since 2001 to present day. Currently we are APHIA II, Rift Valley’s local implementing partner in the Informal Sector workplace program covering four districts targeting Salons, Kinyozis (barber shops), Garage and car wash workers (mechanics) and security guards with messages promoting healthy behavior through Magnet theatre and Peer education. Also under APHIA II, Rift Valley, REPACTED successfully conducted Magnet Theatre outreaches and peer education sessions targeting youth out of school messages to influence uptake of Reproductive Health services and Voluntary Counseling and testing. Since 2006, for the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru, REPACTED is conducting civic education outreaches aimed at addressing issues of gender based violence, democracy, constitutionalism and leadership under the Uraia project. Since 2005 REPACTED has been conducting theatre for development outreaches in the Adventist Relief and Development Agency, Abstinence and Behavior change for the youth project in two districts. REPACTED is a MTV Staying Alive Foundation two time award winner, the award is aimed at reaching youth in the Community, special learning institutions and Prisons with Magnet Theatre Outreaches and mobile VCT. Citizens’ Media Outreach is a project involving the community in video and photo blogging inclusive of basic computer skills. Funded by Rising global Voices, the project involves the training of community members in the use of information and communication technologies.

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Since its inception the organization has trained 120 Peer educators and 50 Magnet theatre practitioners within different settings, like Nakuru GK prison inmates, both male and female, community youth and workers in the informal sector. They were successfully taken through the APHIA II, Rift Valley comprehensive curriculum on Peer education and the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH-Kenya) manual for Magnet theatre. The prison based training was fully funded by MTV Staying Alive foundation. Rising Global Voices supported Community Capacity building on digital media.
REPACTED has a cadre experienced trainers in the field of experiential community education concerns. These trainers have been involved in both local and international trainings and capacity building in different programs as consultants and technical assistants. Within the APHIA II, Rift Valley project they have been involved in training of members of the Most At Risk Population (police force, sex workers, women in low income settings, community youth, religious leaders and teachers), training of teachers (scout leaders) in Kenya and Uganda under PATH–Kenya, training community members in Civic education through Community theatre under the Catholic Justice and Peace commission.