United and Strong Inc fully embraces the belief that people are more likely to hear and personalize messages, and thus change their attitudes and behaviors, if they believe the messenger is similar to them and faces the same concerns and pressures. Hence the utilization of peer education continues to be a major service offered not only to members but other populations in Saint Lucia.
Realizing the success of the first cohort of peer educators trained with the collaboration of Caribbean Vulnerable Communities and MAC AIDS FUND, these partners have decided to foster the training of another cadre of educators. The increased in the number of trained personnel provides the opportunity for United and Strong Inc to make true its theme for 2016 “Expanding community response, through dignity, love, respect, protection and equality for all”
This training being conducted by master JHPIEGO trainer Patricia Joseph, will see an additional 10 young educators. The second phase will also include a new component to improve the quality of service delivered by the educators and will factor in Productivity Enhancement Training which will be conducted by the Advocacy Officer of United and Strong Inc, Bennet Charles.
The new cohort of educators are indeed elated to have been selected to not only receive this level of training but to be part of the national response toward influencing behavior change among Saint Lucians while fostering personal growth and development. According to one educator “this is a major opportunity to work with other partners in Saint Lucia and expand the reach of our services”
The impact of HIV & AIDS along with other STIs among marginalized youth and other vulnerabilized population especially males will continue to increase if interventions are not target specific. This new cadre of educators further positions United and Strong Inc as an organization critical in ensuring that Saint Lucia can achieve the 90-90-90 targets set by the international community.
United and Strong hopes to partner with other national stakeholders such as the Bureau of Health Education within the Ministry of Health, UNDP Barbados and the OECS, Saint Lucia Association of Social Workers, Saint Lucia Planned Parenthood Association along with others, as we continue to work towards enhancing the quality of life of LGBT persons in Saint Lucia.