We know education is critical to the prevention of HIV and AIDS across Eastern and Southern Africa – but how do we measure its impact?
Last week, August 4-5, 2014, UNESCO and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat hosted a regional workshop in Botswana to provide Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) staff with technical support to collect data on education’s response to HIV and AIDS. Representatives from nine countries attended the training, including Angola, Botswana, DRC, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
UNESCO, working with a number of governments and agencies along with the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) developed global indicators in February 2013 to integrate within the Education Management Information Systems. This workshop was now the training to help countries integrate these indicators.
These indicators, being incorporated into national surveys and census frameworks, are the first of its kind. It will be the first time monitoring and evaluation results like this at the regional level will be gathered and collected for the annual HIV Report developed by SADC.
“This process will not only increase the capacity of data collection and indicators that are currently available but more so, to build appreciation and awareness of the Education sector’s contribution in response to comprehensive sexuality education and HIV,” said Dr. Patricia Machawira, Regional Health Education and HIV Advisor with UNESCO in her opening remarks during the workshop.
“This work is crucial to measuring the Education sector’s response to the HIV epidemic in this region,” said Ms. Lomthandazo Mayimbela, SADC Senior Education Officer in her welcoming speech. “Through such training, we can help deliberate and guide HIV indicators to enable governments to make informed decisions.”
At the end of the two-day workshop, Countries agreed that this training would need to cascade across the region and down to the provincial, district and school levels.
On behalf of the delegates from the 9 member states who participated in the workshop, Ms Dlamini, Director of Education Testing Guidance and Psychosocial Services Department in Swaziland expressed her gratitude. “This information and training has come at an opportune time. It will enable us to track and share the education sector’s contribution to the ESA Commitment Targets.”