HIV/AIDS Refresher Training Days in Aboke, Northern Uganda


This past week was a busy an exciting week for me here in Uganda, with facilitating HIV/AIDS training sessions for work during the week and running mountains for fun on the weekend.

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I’ll start with the work portion: On January 23rd and 24th, the first activity for my micro-project took place: a HIV/AIDS refresher course for two CBOs, Aboke HIV/AIDS Women’s Association (AHWA) and Obanga Ber Women’s HIV Group. Overall, it was a very successful two full days of training. Topics included HIV prevention, treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), counseling pre- and post-HIV testing, sex education for adolescents, as well as how to engage the community in discussions around these topics, to name a few.

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Although, in typical African fashion, we started the sessions each day one hour late and continued one hour longer than expected, things went fairly smoothly, with the two trainers from the local health centre showing up on time and prepared to teach on all the topics I asked them to cover. Members from both CBOs eagerly absorbed the information, taking notes, asking questions, and sharing personal experiences as they related to the topics discussed. At the end, all AHWA members received ‘graduation’ t-shirts that they can wear in the community when they are doing HIV/AIDS outreach so that they are visible as community educators on the topic. It has been over 4 years since AHWA has received any training on HIV/AIDS, and this refresher course was definitely a great opportunity for the members to review the information that they already knew and expand that as well. The training session ended with a prayer and singing, and dates were set for the next meeting to start planning the community outreach education that will follow.

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Before I knew it, the two days of training were over and I was headed back home in the packed shared taxi with the 14 other people from the training sessions. Overall, I was really pleased with how the training went. It is very exciting to think about how these CBOS will be able to use the knowledge they gained over these two days and share it with their communities. Their shared knowledge on sex education for adolescents may help a young girl in their community negotiate condom use, and prevent her from getting HIV or other STDs. Their awareness about treatment for PLWHA may mean that people in their community are able to get access to treatment faster and live longer, healthier lives with HIV and decrease the risk of passing it to others. I am looking forward to working with AHWA on the next part of my micro-project: planning a door-to-door and public drama HIV/AIDS outreach campaign, where the skills and knowledge from the training sessions can be passed along to rural community members that would otherwise not necessarily have access to this vital and life-saving information. Good stuff!

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Now, briefly, for the hobby portion of my busy weekend: running mountains! This past weekend, an American running friend living in Kampala and I took on the challenge to run Mt. Elgon in 1 day (a mountain that is usually climbed in 3-4 days). It was a great challenge and experience, and after 12 hours of continuous hiking and running we had successfully summited and descended the mountain in one-day. I’ll write more about this on my personal blog if you are interested (, but to sum it up, it was the perfect way to cap off a busy and productive week in Uganda.


Now, back to work planning for the community outreach campaigns, one of my final projects for my time in Uganda. I’ll write about how those go in my final blog post before I return to Canada for my debriefing in 5 short weeks.

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