PERREAULT Magazine AUG | SEP - Page 69

Perreault Magazine - 69 -

Under the direction of Thomas J. Coates and Laurie Bruns, the Center for World Health worked with its partners to create a comprehensive curriculum that would provide fellows with the knowledge and skills required to create effective HIV and GBV programs in their communities, as well as to become leaders highly sought after by the academic, non-profit, and business sectors in South Africa.

Over the past eight years, the program has successfully trained and graduated over 90 fellows. The unique success of this program, with has achieved an over 95% completion rate for fellows, lies in the top-level instruction delivered by expert lecturers, the up-to-date evidence-based information on HIV and gender inequality and GBV, and the unique, individualized support provided by dedicated mentors who give regular guidance and support throughout the fellowship and indeed, beyond the program’s one-year duration. As a result, many of the fellows voluntarily continue with their community-based projects well beyond the duration of the fellowship. An independent evaluation of the program found that its unique integration of HIV prevention, gender, and leadership fills a critical gap in South Africa for skills and capacity development among young people who show strong potential for leadership, but who lack access to the levels of education, training, and support which would enable them to reach their potential.

While the foundation of the fellowship program focused around HIV and GBV prevention and leadership development, the most prominent outcome was its transformative nature. Unlike many programs that merely provide training, this fellowship program focuses on building people. We believe this is achieved through one-on-one support provided both during skills building and throughout practical implementation of the skills acquired. Fellows have reported that this not only enhances their effectiveness professionally, but also on their personal growth. Our fellows exit the program more prepared, confident, and assertive often times seeking and obtaining better employment opportunities, promotions, and higher degrees.

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Comments from program graduates:

“I now trust my judgment and take decisions without the fear of failure or being wrong but with the hope of being directed and supported. This [my self confidence] was always disturbed by an inferiority complex and the failure of seeing myself as a leader but through training I learnt to acknowledge the fact that I am a leader.”

– SM, Gauteng

“No program shouldn’t be like this. You guys are constantly there…if you need a poster child for this project, I am proof that the impossible is possible.”

– NM, Northern Cape

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