Giving hope and information to rural communities.
The third International Africomnet awards for innovation in HIV and AIDS communication were awarded last night in Windhoek.
The category for innovative social communication was won by Johannesburg based SADAG for their Speaking
SADAG who submitted their innovative Speaking books for low literacy were recognized by USAID and Johns Hopkins
at their annual awards for Excellence.
AfricomNet which have over 900 members from 48 countries, presented this award as part of their best advances in the field of strategic
communications that can be adapted and replicated by others. The 2009 awards were presented by Namibia’s First Lady Her Excellency Madam
Pohamba. Said Mrs Pohamba of the Speaking books “They are a fantastic tool for rural communities””.
On accepting the award CEO Elizabeth Matare said ” the conference this week had been for academics and they had shared many important issues,
but they need to get these messages back down to the grass roots communities, many of whom cannot read or write and have a low level of literacy,
This is the community that needs to hear the messages and with a product like the Speaking books they are able to do so ”
Speaking books were created three years ago in the field of Depression and Aids and Teen suicide prevention. They have now been printed for clients,
governments and Donors with 30 different speaking books in 12 languages. The hard backed books have 16 pages of colorful illustrations,
each with a sound track which can be played repeatedly to under stand the messages. These sound tracks are often read by celebrities that are
well known on TV and radio. Books have been produced on AIDS, TB, Malaria, Safe disclosure to children, Caring for Caregivers, Understanding mental health,
Substance Abuse, The TB dots program, Understanding your rights in clinical trials, Vaccines for babies, and Caring for Child headed households.
Research indicates that the books are shown on average to 27 people and in places as diverse as Clinics, Schools, Shebeens ( Drinking venues),
Hair salons, churches, shopping centres and taxi ranks. Endorsed by EU, the Global Fund, UNICEF, Johns Hopkins and the Governments of
South Africa, Ethiopia, Swaziland, and Mozambique, these books have been distributed in 12 countries so far. 84.7% of Home Based Care Workers reported
that the Speaking Books were easy to understand and 93% of them said they learnt new facts themselves. .
pedi so our patients do understand them very well. We thank you for that gift” CCLO Lephalale, South Africa.
Mrs Matare indicated that ”by distributing brochures in rural communities in south Africa without access to mental health we discovered that
if people couldn’t read and write the distribution of brochures was ineffective and a new tool had to be found,
that was cost effective, portable, and did not need electricity. Speaking books filled that vital need. It empowers patients to take control of their own
Health and ask important questions. ” Our thanks to AfricomNet for recognising SADAGs speaking books. “
AfricomNet is determined to strengthen capacity and commitment to strategic communications for health and development in Africa,. Said Debbie Gachuhi
Regional communication Advisor with the Johns Hopkins University. The vision is for people in African making informed choices and taking action to improve
their health and well being.
” Dearest speaking books, you gave me the book on Depression and HIV . I visited one of the patients at my community. Joseph he is sick, always he say is
better for me to die. Then I went there and try to talk with him. After I take the book out, he said to me why cant you leave this book with me, the way
the book explain messages to me I felt that there are people next to me. Thank you for helping patient to carry on to live.”” Thuli, Siyabuswa.
For Further information contact
Zane Wilson – Director 083 321 4163
Elizabeth Matare- CE 083 649 8586
Roshni- 072 270 6945