Namibia: In Namibia, CD Raises HIV/AIDS Awareness Among Truckers (March 2009)

Recently, the U.S. Embassy in Namibia donated 500 copies of the NamibiAlive II CD to the Walvis Bay Corridor Group's HIV/AIDS Help Desk. The CDs, which were produced to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, will be given to truck drivers in an effort to educate and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst industry employees.

"I am proud to be in partnership with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group HIV/AIDS Help Desk. ...They have the expertise and the contact with truck drivers to continue its success. Without these partnerships, we cannot be successful in ridding Namibia of this disease," said Ray Castillo, Public Affairs Officer.

NamibiAlive II is an album that was produced by two Peace Corp volunteers - Will Garneau and Beth Phillips - in 2008 that contains songs and messages about HIV/AIDS prevention, stigma reduction and positive living from some of Namibia's most popular musicians. The American Cultural Center funded the project through a grant from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The CDs given to the Walvis Bay Corridor Group will be distributed at weigh bridges around the country, as part of its collaboration with the Roads Authority, to all of the Group's participating member companies. It will also be distributed in the Truckers' Toolkits. These Toolkits include items such as condoms, prevention pamphlets and first aid supplies.

The concept behind this innovative project was to offer prevention messages to this high-risk community while they listen to their favorite artists. To date, the Peace Corps Volunteers and the U.S. Embassy's Public Affairs Office have distributed five thousand CDs to bus, taxi, and truck drivers for free.

Mr. Edward Shivute, Project Coordinator of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group HIV/AIDS Help Desk, expressed enthusiasm about this partnership.

"Our experience has revealed that workplace programs alone are not effective in terms of reaching truck drivers and this is due to the fact that truckers spend more than 90 percent of their time on the road when on duty. ...We are, therefore, adamant that HIV/AIDS education through music is one of the sustainable approaches. And it is against this reasoning that we believe that this generous donation of NamibiAlive II CDs from the American people does not only contain HIV/AIDS messages from some of our local talents, but also provides some sort of entertainment through local music."

Currently, an estimated 15.3 percent of Namibia's adult population is HIV-positive.

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