UNESCO and Italian foundation sign agreement for HIV/AIDS prevention

Accra- Ghana (PANA) -- A partnership agreement pledging US$1.
7 million (1.
275million Euros) to fund an HIV/AIDS prevention education project in several countries in southern Africa was signed in Paris on Wednesday by UNESCO and the Italian Fondazione Virginio Bruni Tedeschi.
A statement from UNESCO received in Accra said the ceremony was attended by Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO; Marisa Bruni Tedeschi, head of the Fondazione Virginio Bruni Tedeschi; and Cristina Owen-Jones, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS Prevention Education.
Also present were Isabelle Bezin, actress, and film director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, and her sister Carla Bruni, singer and songwriter.
The statement said the foundation's contribution would fund a project to reinforce HIV/AIDS prevention education in Angola, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland for two years.
In each country, some 100,000 pupils will benefit from programmes and educational materials to raise their awareness of HIV/AIDS.
"They will also take part in activities designed to inform them about the disease and to reduce stigmatization of HIV-positive people," it said.
Up to 100 schools and 1,000 teachers will be involved in each of the target countries.
The statement noted that with rates of infection as high as 30% among adults, countries in southern Africa were among those most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
It said studies had shown that the mere fact of attending school provided protection against the disease, "yet there is often a lack of classes focusing on HIV/AIDS for children in school".
The statement said a study carried out in Tanzania from 1998 to 2002 by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) indicated that children who had received preventive education were more likely to use protection and to postpone sexual activity until they were older.
As the United Nations agency specialized in education, UNESCO is the lead organization for EDUCAIDS, an initiative by UNAIDS implemented by a number of countries to promote HIV/AIDS education.
Its strategy is based on the principle of universal access to prevention programmes, treatment, care and support.
The Organization assists governments in improving their educational systems to ensure quality education concerning HIV/AIDS and in providing assistance to communities most exposed to the epidemic.
The foundation was created on 12 February 2007 in Turin, Italy, to honour the memory of Virginio Bruni Tedeschi.

05 december 2007 19:29:00

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