How is the UNESCO fighting the AIDS menace?
UNESCO, as its name suggests - United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization- uses education as its main tool in the battle against HIV and AIDS. The founding members (in 1942) already recognized the need to use education as
a means of fostering international peace.
There are several United Nations initiatives of which UNESCO is a part including EDUCAID, a UNAIDS Global Initiative on Education and there are various publications freely available to the public. Making governments aware and responsible for AIDS prevention is crucial to the success of UNESCO's plans. Its education process is not limited and it strives to educate strategic partners such as government agencies, co-sponsors and civil societies to ensure global reach.
It is the mission of UNESCO to strike at the core of the AIDS menace to ensure that young people are sufficiently educated about the risks, prevention and control.
Culture has played a part in the spread of AIDS as there is an historical mistrust of westernized nations and some of the means of AIDS prevention have been viewed with suspicion as it appears to many illiterate, simple people that this is just a ploy to reduce their population and is a means of controlling them. Westernized nations have a reputation as being manipulative and self-serving. This problem makes education even more important as it can never be enough to supply the means to control the disease without making people understand its use - if there is to be any hope of eradicating AIDS.
School is obviously the means by which many young people - and the group most at risk - can be reached. UNESCO wants the AIDS "menace" to be everyone's first priority in education; otherwise what is the point of educating these young people to a life of illness and suffering.
The pillars of this plan are the following: 1. Policy, Advocacy and Enabling Environment, 2. Coordination and Management of the Decentralized response, 3. Mitigating the Social, Cultural, Legal and Economic Impacts, 4. Prevention and Behaviour Change Communication, 5. Treatment, Care and Support, 6. Research, Surveillance, Monitoring and Education, 7. Mobilization of Resources and Funding Arrangement. The Education, Science and Sports sector is one major and critical area in which the HIV/AIDS menace can do most harm with attendant devastating effects on the economy and the future security of the country. If teachers and educators on whom the Government spends rather scarce resources and many years to train and develop should die off prematurely in their numbers, education of children and the youth would be greatly jeopardized. In this context, the critical role Education and Sports Sector has to play in the fight against the HIV/AIDS menace cannot be overemphasized. After an analysis of the situation, the plan proposes objectives, strategies and responses to the global situation.