Talking about HIV/AIDS in good spirits
Where one usually finds four-wheel drives and wheel barrows used in ever-present flood recovery efforts, on this day there were balloons, ribbons and presents. On August 14th, the ACTED office in Phnom Penh turned into a colourful stage for the SMART Girl program special event.
The event aimed at promoting the SMART Girl project and its activities among beneficiaries and the broader public. But it was also an occasion to reward entertainment workers, who participated regularly in medical consultations and education sessions provided by ACTED outreach teams. Each girl who benefited from ACTED’s referral to an HIV/AIDS specialised clinic received a referral slip, and could therefore be a part of the event’s lottery. Among the prizes from the lottery were items like cosmetics, scarves, fans, and even bikes.
This time however was a little different, since it was the last event hosted by ACTED for the USAID-funded project which is coming to an end this month after four years. The atmosphere was very festive, and there were many participants. After a brief session of Cambodia’s favourite karaoke, participants took part in ice-breaking games.
Hosting the last event brought reflection concerning the project’s achievements. Among the most remarkable was certainly increasing the number of cooperating entertainment establishments and spreading knowledge about the SMART Girl program, and most importantly, reaching more and more women exposed to the risk of HIV/AIDS infection in Cambodia. In a nutshell, SMART Girl has proved that women’s health and HIV/AIDS is a serious issue; one that can be enjoyable to discuss.
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