INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Embassy Helps to Revive Hiv Prevention in Estonian Schools

Published: Tue 12 Jan 2010 03:00 PM
VZCZCXRO5817
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHTL #0024/01 0121501
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121500Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TALLINN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0326
INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 0009
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 0024
RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV 0001
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 0008
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0050
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TALLINN 000024
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
COPENHAGEN FOR ESTH OFFICE
DEPARTMENT FOR S/GAC CAROL LANGBY
KYIV FOR LESLIE PERRY
ST. PETERSBURG FOR VERA ZAKHAROVA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI EAID KHIV TBIO EN
SUBJECT: EMBASSY HELPS TO REVIVE HIV PREVENTION IN ESTONIAN SCHOOLS
REF: A) 09 TALLINN 310; B) 08 TALLINN 310
1. (SBU) Summary: Despite having the highest HIV infection rate in
Europe, Estonia's Ministry of Education and Research (MOER) has not
made education on HIV prevention a priority in recent years. In
order to draw attention to this issue and help educators share best
practices on HIV education, Embassy Tallinn, in cooperation with
MOER and the Nordic Council of Ministers, organized a conference
November 19 on "The Challenges of Health Education in the Baltic
Sea Region." About 80 educators (the target audience),
politicians, diplomats and health promoters attended the
conference. Speakers from five countries explored curriculum
development and the role of educators in sexual education,
exchanged best practices on contemporary teaching methodologies in
different countries, and discussed the need for closer cooperation
with NGOs and student organizations on HIV prevention. The
significant display of interest from the U.S. and Nordic Embassies
was crucial in getting Minister of Education and Research T????nis
Lukas to participate in the conference. End Summary.
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Diplomatic Community Brings Attention Back to HIV
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2. (SBU) Graduation from the U.N. Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and
Malaria program (GF) in 2007 ended systematic HIV prevention
programs in Estonian schools. Although the Government of Estonia
(GOE) made a commitment to continue with all GF activities, MOER
did not secure funding for HIV prevention programs in schools. MOER
subsequently included HIV prevention under the health education
program of the new curriculum that will come into force in
September 2010 (REF B); however, the training of teachers on this
new curriculum has not started yet.
3. (SBU) Beginning in the fall of 2008, Post worked with the Danish
Embassy and the Nordic Council of Ministers' Office in Estonia to
secure funding for an international conference to emphasize the
importance of HIV prevention in schools and to bring to Estonia
foreign expertise on the issue. In response to the strong display
of interest from the diplomatic community, Minister of Education
and Research T????nis Lukas agreed to speak at the conference.
(Comment: This was a major development, as Minister Lukas had not
previously been engaged personally on HIV education. End Comment.)
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HIV Education in Schools Needs to Change
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4. (SBU) Speakers from Estonia, Russia, Ukraine, Denmark and
Finland discussed best practices on curriculum development and
teaching methodologies for HIV prevention and other aspects of
sexual education. The experience shared by two USAID-funded NGOs,
Stellit of St. Petersburg and International HIV/AIDS Alliance of
Kyiv (IHAA), was particularly valuable for the teachers from
Russian language schools where, because of cultural differences and
a lack of materials, HIV prevention has been a major challenge. The
Russian language handouts, teaching materials and interactive games
provided as samples by Stellit and IHAA were most popular and
contributed to the practical value of the conference.
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TALLINN 00000024 002 OF 002
Comment
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5. (SBU) The HIV education conference that post initiated brought
together politicians, diplomats, educators and HIV activists for
the first time ever in Estonia. The conference proved that Estonia
has a long way to go to upgrade HIV prevention in schools. The
conference clearly demonstrated to MOER the need to focus on this
issue. Although Minister Lukas did not mention HIV in his
presentation, his participation sent the right message to the
teachers. Post was unable to bring a U.S. speaker to the
conference, however, the expertise from USAID-sponsored Russian and
Ukrainian NGOs helped to communicate some of the methods practiced
in their countries under USAID's HIV programs.
6. (U) Post would like to thank Embassy Kyiv, Embassy Moscow and
Consulate St. Petersburg, especially Leslie Perry and Vera
Zakharova, for helping to identify the right speakers and assisting
with their travel. Their liaison with the speakers was instrumental
for the success of the conference.
POLT
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