Behaviour Change Specialist, Cecelia Neblett-Murray, sharing information with Denae Browne and her son, Deondre Browne, about the T2S Programme during the Commission’s recent outreach at Cave Shepherd.

National HIV/AIDS Commission sharing skills through T2S Programme

First formers are being prepared to cope with issues such as bullying and conflict through the Transition to Secondary School (T2S) Programme.

An initiative of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, the programme is in its third year and slated to get under way again at educational institutions island-wide from September 18.

Public Relations Officer, Fabian Todd, stated that the programme has had success. He further explained that through it, staff of the Commission go into all 22 public secondary schools to conduct “half-day sessions with the first form students and these sessions consist of topics such as HIV and AIDS, peer pressure, bullying, drugs [and] gender issues”.

“We find that it is really important because if you look at it, the dynamics of first formers, they are coming from primary school where they are the oldest at the school or they are the big ones and now they go to secondary school [and] they are the smallest. So it is like a small fish in a big pond. So things like peer pressure or bullying might have their morale down. So we find that with this Programme and the past two years, the reports that we have gotten from it, it really works. It sort of hypes up the children and let them know that even though I am the youngest at this school, I have potential to do A, B, C and I shouldn’t be afraid to talk about certain things. I should always be willing to learn new things.”

Todd added that through the programme, the Commission also speaks to the first formers about abstinence.

“The misinformation out there is that the Commission only deals with condoms, HIV, whatever, but the Commission also deals with abstinence and we have a youth arm. In Barbados, the law states that you cannot talk to any individual under the age of 16 about condoms, it must be abstinence and we found that the T2S Programme is a way of moulding them from small until they reach the age, then we can talk to them on a different level about HIV/AIDS within the confines of the law of Barbados.”

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