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'Called to Care'
- a vital anti-AIDS resource

"AIDS is not a punishment from God." This is one of the many messages of the 'Called to Care' toolkit, which is enabling growing numbers of church leaders in Africa to respond more positively and effectively to the challenges of HIV and AIDS for their communities.

A new, independent evaluation has found that 'Called to Care' - a collection of 10 workbooks on topics related to HIV and AIDS - is helping pastors, priests and lay church leaders to better understand the spiritual, medical, moral and practical implications of the AIDS epidemic.

Published by the Strategies for Hope Trust, the Called to Care workbooks cover topics such as the basic facts about HIV and AIDS, pastoral care, community initiatives, systematic planning of community-based projects, theological issues, food security, parenting and the relevance of the Bible to the AIDS epidemic.

The evaluation used a variety of techniques to assess the impact of the toolkit. These included a review of project documents; analysis of 680 feedback forms, letters and questionnaires; focus group meetings in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda; and structured workshops with users of the workbooks in Malawi.

The Called to Care workbooks are designed primarily for use in activities such as training workshops, study groups, confirmation classes and other church-based activities, but they are also used to help prepare talks, sermons and Sunday School classes.

The evaluation found that the Called to Care workbooks "have helped to break the silence around HIV, especially within faith communities. In particular, the fact that the materials are well grounded in reality and introduce a 'human face' to HIV, through the inclusion of real-life personal testimonies, has been very powerful and has helped people to connect with the messages".

The evaluation also found evidence of increased commitment by participants to delay sexual debut and/or abstain from sex until marriage, to remain faithful to one's partner, to use condoms during sexual intercourse, and to view marriage as a respectful partnership, in which both men and women are equal.

Although designed primarily for use by churches, the Called to Care workbooks have also been welcomed - and are used - by many secular development organisations.

The 'Called to Care' evaluation report is available from the Strategies for Hope Trust: sfh@stratshope.org ; tel. +44 1865 723078.

The 'Called to Care' workbooks can be ordered from Teaching-aids at Low Cost (TALC) in the UK: email: info@talcuk.org ; tel. +44 1727 846852.

-End-


Glen Williams
Series Editor
Strategies for Hope Trust
www.stratshope.org


"Reproduced with permission - Strategies for Hope Trust "

Strategies for Hope Trust
www.stratshope.org


...positive attitudes are not simply 'moods'

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