Guyanese faith leaders were among the batch of persons exposed to training offered by the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) earlier this week to better relate to the media on HIV matters.
The strategic training, which was funded by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Programme of Support for Wider Caribbean Cooperation, took place in Jamaica on July 10-11 and saw a total of 18 faith leaders undergoing training.
During the opening ceremony, Archdeacon Venerable Eric Lynch of the Anglican Diocese of Barbados challenged faith leaders to tell the most important story which speaks of God’s love for all of us, regardless of who an individual is. Also, UNAIDS Sub-regional Director for the Caribbean, Dr James Guwani, affirmed UNAIDS’ commitment to supporting the faith community to contribute to ending AIDS.
Meanwhile, Director of PANCAP, Mr Dereck Springer, reminded faith leaders of their commitment to advance justice for all, particularly those elements that are in agreement.
Participants were exposed to tools for communication in social media. They were provided with guidelines for how to prepare media releases, media conferences, and television interviews. The faith leaders agreed on key priorities and messages and target audiences which will be used to inform the development of a communication strategy to guide faith leaders’ engagement with the media.
The leaders resolved to establish a unified approach to stigma reduction, policy formation, and the promotion of positive values, dignity, and respect.
In addition to representation from Guyana, the participants included faith leaders’ networks in other CARICOM Member States, including Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Barbados, Jamaica, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname. Dr Allyson Leacock, Communications Specialist designed and facilitated the training.