The HIV&AIDS education sub-regional programme is in harmony with the United Nations joint programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). In fact, at the request of countries affected by HIV&AIDS, the UNAIDS Interagency Task Team (IATT) for Education Working Group to "Accelerate the Education Sector Response to HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa" was established as a mechanism for coordinating action on AIDS and education among the UNAIDS co-sponsors, bilateral donors and Civil Society.
A partnership in the ECOWAS region between key actors has been set up and aims to address the key ECOWAS goals as follows:
Creation of a framework for consultation, exchange and sharing of experiences among actors in the field of HIV&AIDS education in ECOWAS Member States. The partnership is creating an interactive network among all 15 Francophone, Anglophone and Portuguese countries and Mauritania. A website is also being set up in collaboration with the Partnership for Child Development at Imperial College School of Medicine, London.
Promotion of a context-specific teaching centred on life skills at all levels of educational systems. Through collaboration with the UNICEF Regional Life Skills Program, and UNESCO's program on curriculum development and teacher training, the partnership is providing specific inputs to country teams.
Promotion of care for HIV&AIDS affected or infected personnel in the educational systems through promoting linkages between the education sector and national AIDS authorities.
Establishment of the network of focal persons
The objective of the network is to accelerate the education sector response to HIV/AIDS in the ECOWAS Region and Mauritania through stronger and better quality actions at the national levels through the creation of a framework to share information and experiences and proposition of guidelines, the promotion of good practices, the information of the Conference of MoE of ECOWAS and Mauritania on the progress of the education sector response to HIV/AIDS in the region, advocacy for a broad-based commitment and support to the education response to fight HIV/AIDS (in ECOWAS and Mauritania), the development of Focal Points’ capacity and the monitoring of progress.
In August 2004, Ghana hosted the first sub-regional workshop in ECOWAS with participation from all Anglophone countries in the region: Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Observer teams from Nigeria and Senegal were also present. In November 2004, Senegal hosted a second sub-regional workshop with participation from all the remaining Francophone countries of the region. It is hoped that the countries that have attended the sub-regional workshop will be able to organize national workshops with assistance from the working group. Furthermore, it is envisaged that the technical output developed by the country teams at these workshops will be used by their Education Ministers in preparation for the next ECOWAS meeting of these Ministers.
To better support the programme implementation and to strengthen communication between countries, a network of Ministry of Education Focal persons has been launched.