Charleston December 2009

Name: Alicia Charleston
Post: Natitingou
Contact: E-mail: moc.liamg|aicila.notselrahc#moc.liamg|aicila.notselrahc or phone: or

Brief Project Description:

World AIDS Day event for the Collectif des Artisans de Natitingou (CAN), BEF (Benin Education Fund) beneficiaries, all students and citizens of Natitingou. The day started with a parade along the main road ending at the Mayor’s office. The students and artisans marched together cheering and singing songs led by the BEF Beneficiaries. Upon arrival at the Mayor’s, the Natitingou Activités Communautaire team (part of PSI) performed a sketch regarding the importance of HIV testing and knowing one’s status. They also led condom demonstrations. Free testing was offered to those over the age of 15. Following the events, refreshments were served.

Dates of Project: Saturday, December 5, 2009
Number of People Involved:

BEF Beneficiaries (ages 12 – 21): 75 (45 females, 30 males)
Other Students (ages 12 – 21): 150 (75 females, 75 males)
Artisans (ages 25 – 50): 60 (30 females, 30 males)
Apprentices to Artisans (ages 15 – 25): 15 (15 females)


Item Number Cost
33 cL sodas 100 25.000 CFA
Total Cost 25.000 CFA

Amount Requested: 25.000 CFA


The events for Natitingou’s World AIDS Day began with a parade along the main road. Students and BEF beneficiaries were relied upon to lead the parade and keep songs and chants going throughout the march. Artisans also participated, but because the parade started behind schedule, many chose not to participate in the parade and showed up at the mayor’s office for the rest of the day’s events.
It was decided that the parade would start at 7 AM, in order to allow for latecomers to arrive and so the sun would not be hot. The parade did not start until shortly after 9 AM, when the police escorts arrived. Once the parade started, the participants were very lively. However, it was clear they were agitated waiting an additional two hours.
Once the group arrived at the Mayor’s, we discovered the power for all of Natitingou was out and would not be turned back on until 5 PM. As a result we were not able to show the planned film. The Activités Communautaire group took charge and performed a thirty-minute sketch about the importance of getting tested and knowing one’s status. The sketch was followed by questions asked of audience members and condom demonstrations.
Free testing was offered to those over 15 years of age, and 27 people took advantage of the opportunity. The testing was done in the same building as the other events, in a private area. Refreshments were served to those waiting to be tested, while other participants were able to get refreshments outside after the sketch and demonstrations.
In general, the World AIDS Day event was successful. The mayor’s office donated money for additional refreshments, cost of testing at the event site, and provided the building and police escorts for the parade. CIPEC and PSI donated female and male condoms, magazines, t-shirts and brochures for distribution. Radio announcements advertising the event were also donated.
I found that hosting the event on the Saturday following World AIDS Day (December 1) was successful and will likely be repeated in the future. This allowed for larger participation by students. The event will also need to be held in a large area, such as a school, or outside under a tent. In trying to keep costs minimal, a small building at the mayor’s office was used and additional chairs were brought in. Monetary and material donations from NGOs and the mayor’s office were necessary for the event to be successful. In order to have a larger attendance, more advertising should have been done. The event was announced at each school in the city and at the monthly artisans meeting, as well as on the radio. However, a few banners around Natitingou would have been helpful in promoting the event.
During the event, not having electricity was problematic, but the students leading the event were able to make up for it. In addition to the sketch and demonstrations, breaking in to small group discussions or playing games would have been fun and more interactive for everyone. Also, because there was no electricity, the main events concluded thirty minutes earlier than expected and the food and drink had not yet arrived. There seemed to be plenty of refreshments, but it was very congested when people went to pick up their snacks. Having a distribution plan for refreshments as well as the condoms and magazines would help keeping the crowd orderly.


GAD Coordinator: Sounds like a good project, and I’m glad she included the feedback section (which answers most of my questions). Recommend funding.
GAD Finance: This seemed like a well-planned event despite the technical difficulties faced that were outside of Alicia’s control. I think the high level of community involvement makes a great difference in any project. And her A&V team was involved! Recommend funding.
GAD Specialist: Well written and well thought-out. Great project with good explanation. Recommend funding.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License