How Setswana Cultural Beliefs and Practices on Sexuality Affect Teachers' and Adolescents' Sexual Decisions, Practices, and Experiences as well as HIV/AIDS and STI Prevention in Select Botswanan Secondary Schools
ABSTRACT The article reports on the aspects of a Botswana Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoE & SD) HIV/AIDS Instructional Television (ITV) project modeled on a similar HIV/AIDS program implemented in Brazil. This Teacher Capacity Building Project (TCBP) in Botswana is in its initial years of implementation. Its overall goal is to contribute to the prevention and mitigation of the impact of HIV and AIDS by strengthening the capacity of the education and communication sectors to deliver interactive, distance HIV/AIDS education primarily to teachers so that they act as agents of behavior change among the in-school youth. One of the components of the TCBP program is a live teacher education television HIV/AIDS program called Talk Back program. Talk Back is a collaborative effort of the MoE & SD and the Botswana national television station. The Talk Back program involves development and implementation of weekly 1 hour live HIV/AIDS education interactive TV broadcasts for teachers. The development of the live programs is guided by a curriculum that provides a wide range of themes related to HIV/AIDS and education. This article reports the results of a survey of a sample of teachers and students at junior secondary schools and senior secondary schools, first, on their views and opinions regarding the Talk Back program as a TCBP. Second, how Setswana cultural beliefs, myths, and practices on sexuality affect teachers' and adolescents' sexual decisions, practices, and experiences as well as HIV&AIDS/sexually transmitted infection prevention. A questionnaire survey and focus group interviews were used as data collection instruments in selected secondary schools. The findings of the study suggest that the Talk Back program has not met much success as a TCBP. The findings further suggest that several myths, beliefs, misconceptions, and attitudes about HIV/AIDS exist among Botswana teachers and students and thus make it difficult for the Talk Back program to impart the HIV/AIDS message successfully. Therefore, there is a need for more stakeholders in HIV/AIDS education, where appropriate learning techniques are used, to bring about the desired behavioral change.