From Nov 17 to Nov 21, 30 Peace Corps volunteers biked to 4 villages in the North Bank and Central River Regions of the Gambia in a Peace Corps event known as the HIV/AIDS Bike Trek. Partnering with the National AIDS Secretariat (NAS), the Agency for the Development of Women and Children (ADWAC), and local Gambian students, teachers, and village community members, PCVs taught grade 8 and 9 students about HIV and AIDS in Njawara (NBR), Njaba Kunda (NBR), Panchang (CRR), and Kaur (CRR). Started in 2010, this annual event focuses on increasing students’ knowledge of HIV and AIDS and strengthening their public outreach skills so that they can have an impact on the fight against stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS. By educating Gambian youths before they become sexually active, this project also hopes to reduce new infections rates and prevent HIV/AIDS from becoming a national epidemic. Over the course of the trek, the project reached over 500 students, but by having many volunteers present and staying in these 4 villages for several days, entire communities and schools were sensitized about HIV/AIDS.
I was in charge of the NBR team, and another PCV was in charge of the CRR team. Aside from just lecturing about HIV/AIDS, there were many games, skits/dramas, singing, and dancing during the trek.
There are hundreds of photos and videos to still sort through, but here’s a taste. Below are photos from the NBR team.
For more information on the bike trek, check out the Facebook website: https://www.facebook.com/HivBikeTrekPCTG