EMPACT Africa has developed a comprehensive program to empower pastors and other local church leaders to guide their congregations through the transformation into stigma-free communities.
The first component of the program is a four-day workshop for local church leaders.
- The first day focuses on the Basic Facts about HIV and AIDS, including prevention, testing, and treatment.
- The second day focuses on the Stigma of HIV and AIDS, including several interactive sessions designed to help participants feel and understand the reality of the stigma.
- The third day focuses on the appropriate Theological Response, including the Christian obligation to treat all of God’s children with compassion and love, not judgment.
- The workshop concludes with Action Planning, identifying the appropriate actions to take when they return to their congregations. Typical actions include sermons, testimonies of HIV-positive people, testing days, and the establishment of support groups.
These workshops are led by trained African facilitators.
The second component involves following up with the local church leaders at regular intervals to ensure that the actions are being taken and to determine progress toward becoming a stigma-free congregation.
The final component is an assessment mechanism based on the eight characteristics of a stigma-free congregation. Â For more about the characteristics, see the blog Stigma-Free Congregations.