Empowering small NGOs and change agents to lead healthy development in our communities and environments

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A call to all of us working in the South – in Africa, Asia, the ex-Soviet countries, the Asian Pacific etc. It is time for us to look again at the Earth and the big issues around sex and reproduction. It is not only the job of the Health NGOs – it is everybody’s job.

We know that HIV/AIDS is a serious threat to our species. How well are we combating the problem? It was hoped that effective treatment could be rolled out to sufferers everywhere, and that this would help infected and uninfected to change their behaviour. Has it? We still have hopes for a vaccine – but it is a long way off. There are hopes of the microbicidal gels that can be used by women independent of their partners – but with these too, more trials and education are needed. Behaviour concerning HIV/AIDS is still not changing fast enough.

When we look at the world’s resources we see an exploding population – but the area of land where food can be grown is shrinking.

We strongly suggest that every NGO could be doing more, helping every employee to become an Activator - Director, workers, secretaries, cleaners and drivers, each person reaching a different group of contacts. Each of us can be a motivator, an educator, an agent of change, and it is time that we all stop talking about it and started doing it.

The NGO can help train its employees

  • To talk about sex without embarrassment; to be ready to discuss these big issues, within and outside their work; to be knowledgeable about conception and contraception; to know how HIV is transmitted or blocked; to help girls negotiate with boys etcetera.
  • To help teenagers make good decisions. Every employee can decide themself whether, with teenagers, they will only teach about abstinence or about contraception as well.
  • Every colleague should be able to demonstrate the correct way to use a condom. Are you against condom use? Think of two facts. a) If condoms are put on badly they are more likely to break. With what results? And b) you may meet a married couple where one is HIV positive and the other is negative. Wouldn’t you want to ensure they used condoms properly?
  • Every colleague can help married couples plan the size and spacing of their family. NGOs can assist employees to attend clinics and get the best help. They can ensure that they have the time to be good parents. Their kids are part of the future of your country.