Monday, December 3, 2007

HIV/AIDS Workshop

December 1st is World AIDS Day, a day to recognize the effects of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and to work towards the prevention of its transmission. In advance of this day, I organize a workshop for the journalists on current HIV information, and invite Kate into the office as a veteran of HIV/AIDS NGO work and current medical student. Organized in about a day, capturing the latest information from the World Health Organization and UNAIDS, focusing on Ghana and it’s place in the epidemic, the workshop takes shape. I organize minerals, or coke, sprite and fanta, and Katie Burger, which is a delicious coated peanut snack. I harass the journalists and harangue them into giving me an hour of their time.

About 10 of the newsroom staff show up and we begin the workshop. I give the latest stats, fact and figures and remind people why it’s important to cover this day. I bore them to tears. I pass it over to Kate, and she engages the group with a few quick and easy questions on what they know about the disease. The discussion that begins engages the whole group and gets some very animated dialog going. A few misconceptions arise and are corrected, gently but firmly by Kate, and the group seems to learn quite a bit. She finishes her section of the workshop and throws it back to me.

We do a little story idea generation and end at about the one-hour mark. The people in attendance don’t want to leave. They want more information, more debate, more answers to their questions. We drink our minerals and talk a bit more.

As the people finished their drinks, and slowly went back into the fray of the newsroom, Kate and I slip away. Quick and easy, I think. Kate really engages the journalists and uses their own knowledge to determine how the workshop will develop. I’ve learned a lot about how to do a workshop simply and in a more engaging fashion.

I’m hoping that there are more international days involving infectious diseases that fall within the next few weeks so I can bring her in again.

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