Ad Hoc Working Group on HIV and AIDS and Education

(This Ad Hoc Working Group is closed since 2008)

Background

Since its inception in late 2002, the Ad hoc WG on HIV and AIDS has built its program of action on the outcomes of the ADEA Identifying effective responses to HIV and AIDS in the education sector initiative. The 31 proposals received and 11 country experiences thus documented have depicted the state of preparedness of education sectors and yielded lessons that are by and large illustrative of how the HIV and AIDS pandemic is being addressed by ministries of education across the African continent. For instance, most programs are narrowly focused in terms of their target groups and limited in scope (still at pilot stages). Moreover, little attention has been paid to mitigation measures, which could prevent major dysfunctions of the education systems. 

The Ad hoc WG has gained additional insights during the preparation and proceedings of the sub-regional ministerial conference for Central Africa in May 27-30, 2003 in Gabon. Lessons learned from the country case studies collected by ADEA through its Initiative were shared and contrasted with experiences in Central Africa. This conference provided also the opportunity for the ad hoc WG on HIV and AIDS to liaise with ADEA WGs involved in HIV and AIDS work and other partners (IATT, MTT and UNDP) to help Central African countries to begin drafting or refine their HIV and AIDS sector plans. In a seminar preceding the ministerial conference, planners and HIV and AIDS focal points of the region had been engaged in discussions and reflections on state-of-the art prevention and mitigation models and strategies. As a result, all participating country teams had drafted sector plans that were subsequently presented to the ministerial conference. The ministers and participants agreed that time is now for action and issued recommendations that could be summarized as follows: an effective fight against HIV and AIDS within the education sector entails (i) a systematic assessment of its impact on the sector, then (ii) the building up of the capacity of the system to cope with the onslaught through (iii) the setting-up of partnerships at the school, national, sub-regional, regional and international levels

Planned activities for 2006-2007

In view of the above, 2006 and 2007 activities for the ad hoc WG on HIV and AIDS will, in great part, consist of consolidating the momentum gathered since 2003. In addition to the follow-up of specific recommendations made at the Gabon conference that entail (i) fostering exchanges of experiences and expertise, (ii) facilitating technical missions to countries to refine and/or enrich the strategic sector plans and/or (iii) setting up AIDS-sensitive management information systems, the ad hoc WG will also focus on assessment and mitigation of impact, the strengthening of capacity and on fostering effective partnerships. It is also worth noting that the campaign launched by ADEA in 2003 to assess the needs of ministries of education through a questionnaire has yielded quite a few requests for support in the fight against HIV and AIDS. As much as financial resources will permit, these requests will be addressed.

Even though the main thrust of the 2006-2007 activities is on action on the ground, efforts to document and disseminate through case studies or evaluation reports promising approaches in the three areas outlined above will be given great consideration. A selection of the case studies from the Identifying effective responses to HIV and AIDS in the education sector initiative will be edited and published. One major piece of research will be an independent evaluation of experiences in setting up an AIDS-sensitive EMIS to assess and monitor the impact of the pandemic on the sector will be carried out. This will allow the WG to ascertain the reported effectiveness of the management information system and the coping social mechanisms put in place by ministries. In terms of prevention, promising experiences will be evaluated in order to identify the success factors and challenges presented by programs that rely on a strong partnership between diverse actors. ADEA WGs will be also invited to submit reports or case studies that they deem publishable.

Useful Links

The HIV/AIDS Impact on Education Clearinghouse: information makes a difference 
UNESCO/The International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP)

UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) on Education 
UNAIDS and UNESCO