Future Beats Inhouse-Trainings successfully completed

by Bonita du Plessis

The HEAIDS Future Beats Project is the latest HIV Prevention programme, wherein HEAIDS and GIZ tap into campus radio and social media as its platforms. The project seeks to capacitate radio programme managers to train their campus radio volunteers in the production of HIV-related radio and social media content that will appeal to their peers, the student community.

Following an intensive 5 day Train the Trainer Workshop, in which campus radio programme managers were trained in the issues of HIV with regards to the student community, as well as knowledge on how to transfer these skills, Inhouse Trainings were held with the campus radio volunteers on each of the 7 participating campuses. Between mid April and mid May 2014 HEAIDS Project Editor Bonita du Plessis and Deutsche Welle Akademie consultant, Dagmar Wittek spent one month travelling to the 7 participating campuses to allow their previous trainees to reverse the roles and lead their in-house sessions. Passionate programme managers, some station managers, from Tuks Fm, Vow Fm, UJ Fm, TUT fm, PUK Fm, Unisa Radio and Univen Radio handpicked production teams that they think will share their enthusiasm for this project. Dynamic volunteers eager to make their mark and some members that are a part of the furniture, came together to discuss and identify ignorance and set about the daunting task of changing perceptions around HIV/Aids. Getting students who think they are not at risk to test and figuring out how to talk about sex on radio when you cannot in conversation with your community or family, proved to be common challenges for the campuses.

Support from the HIV units on site, like IOHA at the University of Johannesburg was invaluable but other stations also opted for health journalists like Thabile Maphanga from SAfm to talk about the effects of powerful radio packages. The need to practice hands-on production skills was identified as a priority by many of the stations. However, misperceptions around HIV/Aids and who is at risk proved to be the priority at others, like PUKfm at North-West University.

The 7 participating stations are vastly different, ranging from rural to risqué. However, each training was tailor-made to address how HIV affects the student community on the different sites. The sessions were about opening up to talking, tedious or taboo and how they could create content around it. Campus radio is in a position to support their students in taking responsibility for their lives and ensuring a positive future, even if that means you are already HIV-positive. These young leaders will incorporate these messages into their programming and broadcast to a combined listenership reaching far beyond each station’s own radius, as of 1 August 2014.