Focus on Environments


Meet the special needs of AIDS infected and affected, and other vulnerable children and young people. School-based programs can provide a safe and supportive environment for children and young people living with HIV/AIDS or otherwise affected, within HIV/AIDS related programs and within the broader context of a child friendly school. HIV/AIDS affects children long before their parents die - during a possibly long period of illness, through death and bereavement. Children and young people need the care and protection of trusted adults, especially when faced with such dire circumstances, a role which teachers themselves and others in the community will need to be trained and supported to provide. Schools need to help to meet special psychosocial needs during these times, and to get necessary assistance for nutrition and accessing health and other social services. Strong school-community networks can help to relieve the economic strain and address increased vulnerability, especially for girls, and for orphans.

Consistency of message

Ensure messages and related processes are consistent and coherent across the school environment. Finding ways to encourage open communication among learners, teachers, families, and the broader community is essential to recognizing and clarifying the many myths and misunderstandings that exist in relation to HIV/AIDS. In addition, school policies and practices that reinforce the HIV/AIDS related objectives maximize the potential for success - for example, utilize participatory and skills-based teaching and learning approaches across the curriculum, rather than only in HIV/AIDS programs, to reinforce learning.

Conflict, crisis and chronic instability

Incorporate the special needs of children and young people in unstable, conflict and crisis situations into HIV/AIDS programs. For many children and young people, instability and adversity are normal conditions. In such situations - where families are dislocated, social services are disrupted, and normal protective mechanisms are not working, vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and related risks are increased. Essential policies and corresponding practices must be in place to ensure that quality HIV/AIDS related programs are delivered which embrace the special needs that emerge.