Partnership Formed to Combat HIV/AIDS through Radio

In an effort to counter the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, the most far-reaching Christian radio network in the world has partnered with Kerus Global Education to produce character-based radio programming geared toward helping African teenagers make responsible lifestyle choices.

International Christian broadcaster Trans World Radio (TWR) and Kerus have agreed the best way to combat this “unrelenting enemy in Africa” is to not only care for the sick and provide a message of hope for those who are struggling, but also to prevent the spread of the virus altogether.

“The church has launched many excellent programs but they’re not far-reaching,” said Dr. Marcia Ball, co-founder/CEO of Kerus. “Kerus and Trans World Radio want to complement what’s already going on in the field and fill some of the gaps where programs are doing well.”

Kerus’ It Takes Courage! curriculum was selected as the centerpiece of the project. In partnership with Kerus, TWR is producing drama-centered radio programs based on the educational materials Kerus has created. It is anticipated that the first programs will air as a companion to a major HIV/AIDS prevention project N.C.-based Samaritan’s Purse is undertaking in four African nations. Kerus also will train pastors for further outreach to teens.

“Kerus has tremendous credentials when it comes to the educational aspects of HIV/AIDS and has done training in 41 countries,” said Tom Watkins, who facilitates new HIV/AIDS ministry for TWR. “What we’re hoping to do with the Samaritan’s Purse project is to air these programs at the same time they’re doing on-the-ground curriculum training.”

TWR anticipates that the new Kerus radio program series will play a major role not only in Africa but in other parts of the world as the ministry continues its commitment to dramatically expanding its HIV/AIDS broadcasts over the next six years.

“We’ve been focusing a lot on care of people with AIDS, on evangelizing them, on giving them hope for the future,” Watkins said. “But now we’re going to be working on prevention, which means essentially trying a program that works more in terms of 10- to 15-year-olds, because that’s the reality in Africa.”

Presently, the effort will focus on Uganda, Mozambique, Kenya and Ethiopia, along with a second partnership in South Africa. Depending on funding, the partners will produce programs for parents and pastors and establish radio listener groups, as well as expand the efforts into other nations.

“The important thing to remember is that HIV/AIDS is not just an African problem,” Watkins said.

Ball added: “The church at large is mobilizing to respond to this epidemic like never before. Pray that we would have wisdom in creating partnerships and launching effective projects.”