Have you tested for HIV? And: School’s out!

Melanie

Author of this blog  post:

CBS Project Manager Melanie

Stepping out to go and buy myself a bottle of Coke, I noticed that someone had put up a canopy not far from CBS. I wondered what was going on, but was not curious enough to make some few more steps and go and find out. Coming back to school, I asked Juliana if she knew what was going on. She told me that the First Lady, Dr. Lordina Mahama, was in town and that it had something to do with her visit, but that she also did not have any more details on it. So, I went back to the office and forgot about it again.

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Later in the afternoon, the NVTI students had closed more than an hour ago already, and I just finished a computer lesson with two young ladies, a giggling group barged in. The students including Juliana were back, laughing and yelling: “Madam, it’s HIV testing!”, “Madam, we all did it!”, “Madam, look!”. All of them were given one Female Condoms (with no explanations), a leaflet with instructions how to use a male condom, brochures on preventing HIV transmissions and several posters. Women with husbands in addition were given three male condoms.

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I loved it that they had come back to share their results and show me the material they had been given. Girls and young women here don’t really have a lot of spaces where it’s safe to openly discuss sensitive topics. At CBS, we often talk about issues that are silenced at other places. In the beginning, I at times too was insecure if it was OK or if I was maybe going too far. This experience showed me that we could build up trust and it’s just awesome! And Ernestina, Juliana and Linda even wanted to pose for a picture for the blog! We are going to continue to providing a safe space for girls and young ladies to discuss sensitive issues – you will soon hear more about it here!

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And now that summer vacation time is here, we spent the last day of the term reflecting on academic goals and career goals. The students  created a poster with their goals, which will be hanging on the wall and reminding them why they want to study hard each day in the next academic year!

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About the author:
Melanie is a social anthropologist and holds a MA in Development Studies with a focus on Local Development Strategies from the distinguished Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. She is a qualified trainer of youth leaders in Africa-Europe Youth Cooperation and has led youth projects in Switzerland, Ghana and Kenya.
Melanie is a Co-Founder of CBS Business School and the Co-President of Sono
Foundation Switzerland.

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