African Universities responding to HIV/AIDS

The program was carried out in three phases. Phase 1, spanning 2001 to 2009, was designed primarily to catalyze activities by East African universities in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The initiative employed as a model that combines civic engagement with the core university mission of tertiary education. The model places science in a social context to their mutual benefit and emphasizes women’s leadership. Workshops organized in conjunction with UNESCOand Commission for Higher Education, held at World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya, discussed the extent and impacts of the HIV/AIDS crisis in East Africa, the responses had been undertaken by universities in the region to that point, and finally, formulated specific proposals to address areas where university action was most urgently needed. Specific proposals were the need to confront the HIV/AIDS pandemic through integration of HIV and AIDS components in curriculum development and education in universities.

The second phase of the program in 2006 identified the need for mainstreaming/integrating HIV/AIDS into science and engineering courses for continuous students either as a common undergraduate course as well as to introduce HIV and AIDS into compulsory common University courses such as communication skills, development studies and Entrepreneurship. Training of trainers was done between 2007 and 2009 in Ghana, Rwanda, Botswana and Kenya for the integration of HIV and AIDS into the curriculum for engineering, biological and physical sciences.

The outcome was changes in curriculum to incorporate HIV/AIDS curriculum to undergraduate science and non-science majors. In addition, the African universities involved have taken concrete steps in the areas of curricular reform, sensitization and training, and community outreach.