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Good Samaritan Program

The strategy behind the Good Samaritan Program: 

"This is what we have been waiting for!"

This is what the Ugandan Health Ministers representative Dr. Elisabeth Madraa cried out holding up the Good Samaritan booklets, flipcharts and films in front of journalists and TV cameras. She was referring to the fight against HIV and AIDS.

The driving force behind the HIV and AIDS awareness projects of the UBS Africa region are to:

  1. Help churches and individuals to stand up and fight against HIV and AIDS.

  2. Help those infected to accept their situation and live positively.

  3. To encourage people both infected and not, to join hands as Good Samaritans.

The idea of the booklets and the Outreach package

The idea of the booklets and the Outreach package has been to give information about HIV and AIDS combined with the biblical message of love and hope. Konstanse Raen, who initiated the material, says "When introducing the booklet, I often compare it with a hoe. It is not big or sophisticated, but practical and easy to use, especially in the community at the grassroots level". This approach creates awareness through open discussion and sharing. The role of the leader is not to preach, but guide the participants in order for them to make their own decisions. At every workshop we act the Good Samaritan in an "African setting". This story and others from the Bible, combined with examples from real life, involve the participants. They are not listeners but part of the teaching process. They will not find the solution in a book, but in tackling their own issues. The idea is to start a process that leads them to better understanding and in turn to more responsible behaviour.

One of the greatest obstacles in today?s fight against HIV and AIDS is to get people to change from risky to responsible behaviour. Even if people know how to behave, they don't put it into practise. It is important to promote Christian values in a positive way, especially to young people. The biblical message about every human being as God's creation, loved and valuable, should bring respect to others and choose more responsible behaviour.

What is The Good Samaritan?

The Good Samaritan Outreach package is a Christian program that, based on the message from Jesus, encourages everyone to reach out to fellow humans in need. The HIV and AIDS epidemic has drastically affected both individuals and society and this program wants to respond to this challenge with a triple aim;

  • to prevent new people getting infected

  • to help people living with HIV and AIDS to accept and cope with their situation

  • to encourage people both infected and not, to join hands as Good Samaritans.

The Good Samaritan Outreach package discusses:

  • the nature of the HIV and AIDS infection

  • factors that influence the spread of HIV and AIDS

  • preventative measures

  • how people can live positively with HIV and AIDS

Faith-based organisations are seen as important collaborators in the fight against AIDS. UBS represents a unique network in more then 45 African countries and they have excellent communication tools that can be used to face this epidemic head on. The structure and materials are ready and the crucial question is how can this 200 year old organisation deal with this new challenge and help in the fight?

In countries where a National Bible Society do not get central funds for a campaign but partner with Churches, they can buy the material from UBS. UBS however holds the copyright and also offers training in how to use the material, in addition selling and distributing it.

Some of the larger campaigns will buy into the whole package but 'Mini Packages' (like the one Burundi will use) allows for a smaller scale operation.

The best use of the material is through workshops and groups, but individuals can benefit too. In countries where the material has already been used, we have received positive feedback from people who tell us how they began to read the booklet on their own and still found it beneficial.

Some have even started to teach others like family or friends with the help of the booklet alone without any training or guidance. For example we have seen Anti-AIDS clubs and youth groups discussing various subjects, women gathering and sharing, pastors using it for their preaching and drama groups for their performance.

The national HIV Coordinator in Ethiopia, Fasil Techane, has given a summary of the Good Samaritan Program. He answers the following questions: 

1. What is the Good Samaritan Program? 2. Whom are you working with? 3. What is its objective and goals? 4. What does the program want to achieve?   

 Read the responses

STORIES OF HOPE

 

 Why United Bible Societies got involved in HIV and AIDS? 

The UBS World Assembly in 2002 responded by a broadened mission “to meet the needs of all people, especially those suffering from poverty, illiteracy, HIV and AIDS, political unrest, religious intolerance, genocide; and of helping people interact with the Word of God. This task must be done in co-operation and partnership with all Christian Churches and Church related organizations.” The new strategy includes:

  • Holistic approach (not only spiritual needs in a narrow sense)

  • Provide Gods word in appropriate media (not only books)

  • Seek and develop new partnerships with humanitarian organizations with common goals.

  • Develop new products to address specific situations like HIV and AIDS and natural disasters.

Africa Area Board (AFAB) highlighted in 2005 HIV and AIDS as a specific urgent need to be addressed by the UBS Africa Area. “Research has shown that over 60% of HIV and AIDS cases worldwide are found in Africa. The need to tackle the pandemic from a biblical perspective cannot be over emphasized. The urgency of the situation can also be seen from the fact that those infected and affected comprise the working population of our nations leaving us with a bleak future and a reduction in life expectancy.”

This need expressed to take action lead to the establishment of HIV Sevice in theAfrica Area Service Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. This coordianting unit is now leading work in more then 20 african countries.

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