First Lieutenant Domingos Soares Godinho was among 20 soldiers who joined the final 3-day facilitator training workshop as part of a CWS-supported information-sharing project about HIV and AIDS for Timor-Leste Forças de Defesa de Timor Leste (F-FDTL) personnel. The initiative, which including military members’ families and neighbors too, started back in 2010 and transitioned to national military leadership in September 2018. Led by the experienced Master Trainers who have been coached and supported by CWS staff in recent past years, the 3-day facilitator training had two key objectives: to support more rank and file soldiers and sailors to be facilitators for the future sustainability of HIV prevention activities; and to improve participants’ knowledge about HIV-AIDS so they can share it with their peers, neighbors and families.
“The cooperation between CWS and F-FDTL has been good and very helpful; through this initiative, F-FDTL members have been able to increase their knowledge and their abilities to share information with their colleagues and family members, as well as the community living around the barracks, about HIV and how they can protect themselves,” said Lt. Godinho. And then he continued, “There is still a lot of stigma and discrimination against people with HIV in Timor-Leste, mostly because people do not understand HIV and have not received enough information it. What I have learned during the training will help me share correct information and, I hope, will help reduce stigma and discrimination. To fellow facilitators I say: ‘Let’s use this opportunity to stop HIV and save lives. Together we can fight HIV’.”
In the US Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program-funded initiative, CWS has supported experienced Master Trainers who are now working to ensure project sustainability by readying a team of 40 new peer educators who will, in turn, be key outreach workers for continuing education and information-sharing among soldiers, sailors, their families and neighbors after CWS support ended in September 2018.
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