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T-MARC Workshop Examines How to Change Health Behaviors Related to Alcohol Abuse and HIV Risk

The AED-managed Tanzania Marketing and Communications for AIDS, Reproductive Health, Child Survival and Infectious Diseases (T-MARC) Project hosted a three-day behavior change communication training workshop, Behavior Change Communication—Turning Ideas into Action, on June 8–11 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The workshop provided an opportunity for representatives from Tanzanian ministries, private-sector organizations, and HIV-prevention focused nongovernmental organizations to use a unique and highly successful participatory approach to teach how to get people to change risky health behaviors. The workshop's case study was "HIV + Alcohol" and allowed participants to discuss ways in which behaviors could be changed to reduce the risk of transmitting the HIV virus.

"Although we used HIV and alcohol as the case study, this methodology can be successfully applied to changing behaviors for many health issues." explained Charlotte Cerf, PhD, Senior Resident Advisor of the T-MARC Project "We chose HIV and alcohol because it is a growing problem in Tanzania, a priority and newer initiative being supported by the Government of Tanzania and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The effects of alcohol consumption on the health and well-being of our communities and families has become a pressing issue in Tanzania." Dr. Cerf said, "These issues cut across all socioeconomic groups, ages, and gender. When combined with the HIV, it is critical that we we work together to assist those most at-risk to modify their behaviors to reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV."

The innovative workshop, led by global experts in behavior change communication, boasted a diversity participants including religious leaders, gender experts, sex workers, barkeepers, and representatives from breweries and trucking associations. Initially conceived in response to a request by the T-MARC Company's technical staff to look more closely at behavior change communication as an independent discipline, the workshop reviewed the theories used in designing behavior change communication activities, and then engaged the participants in creating a strategy to reduce the risk of HIV transmission related to alcohol abuse.

Invited guests and other participants at the workshop included officials from USAID who funded the workshopthe United Republic of Tanzania Prime Minister's Office, Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA), Southern African AIDS Trust (SAT), I-TECH Tanzania, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Tamasha Vijana, Marie Stopes Tanzania, Association of Journalists Against AIDS in Tanzania (AJAAT), Barrick Gold Tanzania, St. Augustine University of Tanzania, Tanzania Breweries Ltd, Prinmat, The Tanzania HIV/AIDS Interfaith Partnership (TIP), Femina HIP, Roots Marketing Communications, AIDS Business Coalition of Tanzania, Tanzania Youth Alliance (TAYOA), Tanzania Council for Social Development, Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGPN), Foundation for People's Development and Awareness (FOPAD), CHIMABA Sanaa

Download the alcohol abuse reduction manual (3.79 MB PDF) developed for Behavior Change Communication—Turning Ideas into Action.

Learn more about the project and view communications materials on the T-MARC Project's work on HIV/AIDS, male circumcision, water and sanitation, and more:

Posted June 2010

Read more about the Tanzania Marketing and Communications Project (T-MARC) project