Missionary Radio impacting HIV/AIDS in Africa

By November 21, 2006

Swaziland (MNN) — In 1992 3.9 percent of the adult population of Swaziland was infected with HIV/AIDS. Latest statistics indicate more than 43-percent of the adult population is infected. That’s a huge problem for the African country that’s about the size of New Jersey.

Trans World Radio has been working there for 32 years, says TWR’s Tom Watkins. He says, “They now have the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world, so it’s obviously a very dyer situation in a small country of just over a little more than 1-million people.”

TWR is networking with people on the ground in Swaziland. Kerus Global Education is partnering with TWR to provide education. “It’s really a character based approach that really focuses on character education (helping them) to make wise decisions that can lead to healthy lifestyles and using Jesus Christ as the ultimate model for character, and then we come along with that and do a dramatized radio program.”

According to Watkins, reaching out to young people is important. “The youth, obviously, is huge focus. We really need to work on the future because the current adult group, the most productive ages is really disappearing. It’s really a very scary situation.”

TWR has a new strategy — pastors conferences. They provide them with medically accurate information about HIV, helping them be change agents in the community. “The pastors are just a huge key to unlocking this whole problem of HIV/AIDS. There are so many places in the world, in Africa especially, that there’s a church, but there may not be a post-office, or a doctor, or anything else in terms of that kind of infrastructure or that kind of credible voice.”

This three-pronged strategy of equipping pastors, youth leaders and parents/grandparents will help them to make a major impact on HIV/AIDS.

A radio talk show is also drawing attention to the problem.

Since the Gospel is a part of everything they do, it can’t help but change hearts and lives. That may be the only thing that can have an impact on HIV/AIDS in the country.

Funding is needed for airtime, resources and other expenses.

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