This programme is based on the idea that a well-informed, well-capacitated media sector in Bangladesh is a potential force for changing people's behaviour and reinforcing a culture that prevents HIV/AIDS. Mobilising the media to take an active role in this process is a key strategy; providing information and training through face-to-face contact was the central mobilisation tool.
Specifically, after developing 12 sets of course materials and information kits on HIV/AIDS issues, CCD held 5 orientation courses from February 2 to May 22 2003 at Pabna, Bogra, Rangpur, Dinajpur and Rajshahi. A total of 147 journalists from national and regional newspapers, news agencies, and radio and television channels participated. Experts from the journalism academies, working journalists, as well as CARE Bangladesh and CCD personnel facilitated the sessions. Both lecture and reflective methods were used as means of instruction. In general, the sessions provided information on the HIV/AIDS situation in Bangladesh, as well as its causes and consequences. Facilitators also provided factual information about how HIV/AIDS is transmitted. They stressed the importance of sensitivity toward people living with HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh, and discussed the media's role in shaping the tenor of that response. They also outlined the limitations of the existing functions of the mass media in Bangladesh in HIV/AIDS prevention and identified the shortcomings of HIV/AIDS-related published reports. The titles of the sessions were:
- Present Situation of HIV/AIDS: Global, Regional and Bangladesh Perspectives
- Combating HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh: National Initiatives and CARE Bangladesh Interventions
- Existing Role of Mass Media and Journalists in HIV/AIDS Prevention and Awareness Building
- How to Write a Good Report on HIV/AIDS Issues: Tips and Techniques
- Why Journalists should come forward to Prevent the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
As a part of this programme, CCD arranged a Report Writing Competition on HIV/AIDS in which journalists from the region published a number of news items, features, articles, and editorials in their respective newspapers. Three of these journalists were awarded prizes for their reports on the issues; all participants received a certificate and prize money for their published reports. In addition to creating awareness about the HIV/AIDS issue, this competition model reflected the idea that enthusiasm about future HIV/AIDS-related publishing might thereby be engendered among media professionals in the region.
Media Development, HIV/AIDS.
The UK-based CARE International is an independent humanitarian organisation working to end world poverty in over 65 countries, including Bangladesh.
Organisers say that HIV/AIDS has posed a serious threat to Bangladesh. The geographic and socio-cultural situation of the country tends to make it susceptible to the infection. The Government of Bangladesh, NGOs, and international development organisations including CARE Bangladesh have been persistently working to stop the epidemic. Despite success on a limited scale, CCD representatives say, these approaches and tools have produced no major behaviour change among the masses because they have failed to create a culture that stands against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The futility of these efforts, they suggest, can partly be traced to a reluctance to use mass media and journalists as tools to fight HIV/AIDS. Based on this analysis, CARE Bangladesh endorsed CCD's strategy of orienting and training local journalists to the end of ensuring the media's committed and active participation in HIV/AIDS prevention, as well as to mobilise the public against the disease.
Organisers cite many positive outcomes. They point to the close relationship that has evolved between CARE Bangladesh and journalists of the northern region of Bangladesh. They claim that wide media coverage of the programme itself helped people not only to become aware of HIV/AIDS but highlighted CARE Bangladesh's other activities in the sector. CCD says that about 300 news pieces, features, editorials, and pictures were published in various national and regional newspapers - which was nearly double the programme's stated goal. In addition, electronic media such as Bangladesh Television, ATN Bangla, the Cannel I, and Radio Bangladesh carried news about the orientation programme.
CCD, HIV Program of CARE Bangladesh.
Programme Experience directly submitted to The Communication Initiative through the HIV/AIDS Window on November 3 2003.