First of all it felt so blissfully awesome to win the 2014 Training of Trainers (ToT) Trainer of the Year Award at the Aviator Hotel in Johannesburg South Africa on that momentous day of Friday evening of the 14th November 2014 last week! It felt as if I was just dreaming receiving this beautiful medal from the elated hands of Lawrence and Jacob amid ululations and applause from my fellow loving and dedicated trainers who also received their certificates of participation and achievements and other important prizes prior to this! Believe me I couldn’t hold myself but to kneel down to express my innermost heart-felt gratitude to the ARASA ToT main organizers and facilitators Jacob and Lawrence, who handed me this prestigious medal, in addition to my certificate of achievement that was given to me earlier at the graduation ceremony. I LOVE you Jacob and Lawrence and ARASA for your hardworking and your great dedication for enabling me and several others to actualize our dreams in such a clourful manner, please continue with this spirit!
My Tribute to my Fellow Participants at the ToT
I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to my fellow participants at the last ToT such as Diana, Gift, Teddy, Junior, Pesh, Mwale Steph, Jimmy, Barbra, Ibrahim, Santos, Ramiro, Clarissa, JayJay, Justine, John, Martin, Caroline, Aaron, Felistus, Sara and several other finest brains who were in the last ToT who also inspired and supported me. We really made a wonderful family together and learned a lot from each other. It is my prayer that we continue to be in touch and strong ambassadors in our countries in the fight against human rights violations and injustices that impedes our hard-earned efforts in the fight against HIV in our region. HIV is a human rights issue and as such, we need to prioritize our efforts that are aimed at embracing human rights-based response to HIV. Not until then, our HIV fighting efforts will continue to be futile.
Let us work as a team! Let us begin to engage each other in this mammoth task. Let us feed each other with up-to-date information pertaining to human rights, HIV, TB and other public health hazards to make our advocacy efforts in our countries and the region as a whole fruitful. We cannot fight this battle alone; we need each other’s contribution for HIV dead-end, and together this is achievable.
To the Invited Modulators
I also want to express my gratitude to all of you who came from ARASA Alumni who were once students like ourselves in the previous ToTs, ARASA Partner organizations and learning institutions that also made our learning throughout the year interesting, richer and resourceful. We loved your wonderful presentations and vast experience in the implementation of a feasible and result-oriented ARASA human rights based approach to HIV and TB! You really inspired us guys and we will be following your footsteps.
Our Appreciation to ARASA Management for the ToT
I also want to pay tribute to all the ARASA technical and management team in general who also played a pivotal role in the background in the orchestration and success of the just ended ToT who worked tirelessly all year round to ensure that the 2014 ARASA Regional Annual Training of Trainers turned out to be such a huge success! Never at any time of our training were we inconvenienced. For instance; postponement or sudden change of the training schedule, for lack of resources by ARASA. Our Air tickets were always right on time, giving us ample time to plan. Our lodging and meals was also another source of joy for us! Congratulations ARASA! You have done it again, this time around even more successfully!!!
The Impact of this Training and what it Means to Our Organization
As Christian Aid Ministries organization, this achievement means a lot to us and we have so much work to do to ensure that:
(i) we have to continue to conduct-in-house-capacity building training in human rights, treatment literacy, intellectual property in and all the four modules that we covered in the ARASA tot so that our workers are knowledgeable on these issues in order to continue to advocate for policy change and access to treatment by the LGBTI and other key population in the community.
(ii) Conduct health Staff capacity building training on human rights so health care providers can begin to take a human rights based response to HIV/AIDS among key populations. This will reduce stigma and discrimination associated by the key population at the health centers to increase access to HIV treatment and care and other health care services to reduce their vulnerability.
(iii) Train the community leaders and pastors and other clergymen to reduce stigma and discrimination for LGBTI at community level.
(iv) There is also an urgent need to engage the media and train them in human rights and sexual rights and other courses so that they can be objective in their reporting and become supportive to our advocacy cause.
(v) Train Law enforcers in our community such as the police on fundamental human rights violations and other social injustices perpetrated by the police in the course of enforcing their laws in the community can be minimized.
(vi) ARASA to collaborate with our organization and engage us at international and country levels so that we can get exposed and gain even more experience in facilitation skills and capacity building training organization.
(vii) ARASA to link us to more human rights supporting organizations in order to embark upon an aggressive campaign for the Law review reforms in Zambia.
This is what it means for me and my organization Christian Aid Ministries to win the ARASA 2014 Trainers Trainer of the year. It means working hard and spreading the good news of human rights in the fight against HIV and TB in Zambia, building capacity of like-minded organizations and institutions to have a common understanding about human rights and health issues to come up with a strong advocacy network in the country, that will be effectively and adequately responding to some of our human rights and health crises in the country. We have to work tirelessly to achieve this goal. We need ARASA’s support. We need everyone so that this vision can be actualized.
Thank you Jacob and Lawrence and everyone for your support and may our Almighty God bless you!!!
Stanley Mulenga, Director, CAM