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Taking HIV/AIDS Education To The North

The Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) was most fortunate to be part of the team of volunteers led by Ms Rhonda Boucher, HIV/AIDS Project Coordinator in the Ministry of Labour, on a tour of businesses and agricultural farms in the north of the island on 20 January 2011.

According to Comrade Wilma Clement, Tutor at the BWU Labour College, who represented the Union on the tour, “he tour was a novel way to raise awareness and to get a sense of the attitude of workers regarding HIV/AIDS”.  She stated that the response to the Ministry’s message at its meeting with the workers on their own turf was “positive” 

The tour included several stops to plantations and poultry processing plants in the north of Barbados and the volunteers, among other things, used the opportunity to demonstrate the correct use of the male and female condom, distribute condoms, educational literature, and engage in discussions with the workers on matters pertaining to safe sex and HIV and AIDS.

The exercise also provided, from the Union’s perspective, an opportunity to interact with shop stewards and union members and to take note of the demographics of the workforce employed in agriculture in the North of the island.  This information should prove to the Union in relation to its plans to reach out and to build education and awareness-raising programmes on matters pertaining to Safety and Health at Work for such workers.

Commenting on her own experience, Comrade Clement said:  “The day was well spent. I was able to see our members working in their everyday environments and more importantly, to talk to them and other workers about the role of the Barbados Workers’ Union and their own concerns.  This is something we need to build on, at the Union to build on.”

Indeed, this work has only just begun and thanks to a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Labour, it is apparent that there are many possibilities in reaching out to our members wherever they are in Barbados.  So Barbados workers, here we come!!