A HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control in Selected Institutions of Higher Learning in Tanzania Project

In 2017, the Austrian organisation plan: g - Partnership for Global Health and CSSC started developing a project that not only meets the need for improved data, but also offers an innovative and easily replicable approach for higher learning institutions (HLI). Although HIV/AIDS interventions for young people are carried out in many urban centres, Higher Learning Institutions are hardly included. It has been wrongly assumed that university students are well-informed about HIV/AIDS and of higher socio-economic status, thus, less vulnerable.

The HIV/AIDs Game Changer project aims at increasing awareness of young people’s specific health needs, improve participation and ownership in prevention measures, and keep civil society alert about HIV/AIDS, advancing an evidence-based response to the epidemic. The specific objective of the Game Changer project is that up to 21,000 students at selected universities increase their Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) literacy and awareness of their SRH rights, and contribute to developing a culture of risk-reducing behaviour and an environment free from discrimination and sexual exploitation on campus.

Project Implementation Area & Target

The project takes place in Iringa and Mbeya (highest HIV prevalence in the country), as well as Dar-es-Salaam (extensive violence against girls and women), at 2 state-owned and 3 private faith-based universities. Various socio-economic factors like migration and urbanisation encourage risk behaviours (e.g. transactional sexual relationships, multiple concurrent partnerships) and contribute to the rapid spread of HIV.

The project uses peer education approach to increase awareness of HIV/AIDs and create positive behavioural change among higher learning institution students. The project in collaboration with Tanzania Commission for Aids (TACAIDS) trained 110 peer educators in all universities who are responsible for training or educate their peer groups, create deeper understanding of the epidemic in Tanzania and to share varied lessons, experiences, perspectives of the HIV/AIDs. Peer educators use various forms of sensitization like trainings, workshops, Music Bonanzas, Sports & games tournaments to create awareness of the HIV/AIDs, promote voluntary testing among the students and encouraging students to take precautions.

The peer educators are being supervised by the Dean of students who was trained on how to organize and supervise all activities which will be done as means of implementing the project in their respective universities.

The HIV/Game changer project is expected to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS among higher learning students, increase number of students who have tested for HIV/AIDs voluntarily as well as formulation of policies and guidelines of incorporating HIV/AIDs prevention issue in the higher learning institutions by the respective authorities like Tanzania Commission of Universities (TCU) and Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.