Bridging the Divide: Empowerment Through Informed Choices
Description of Program
What is the intervention/program/project?
Bridging the Divide provides education and awareness about HIV/AIDS in Battleford and North Battleford and creates community capacity among clients and staff in thirteen partnering agencies. Project staff work through agencies by visiting, scheduling regular programming, offering office hours and/or running workshops in different sites. Sites include correctional centres, residential programs for youth at risk, school divisions, health regions, friendship centres, early childhood education programs, and Battlefords Sexual Health Clinic including its needle exchange program. The project also conducts general awareness-raising activities outside its target populations with non-profit groups, mental health agencies and food banks, as well as through ad hoc events.
What is the goal/objective of the intervention/program/project?
BFHC’s HIV/AIDS work strives to increase services and supports for those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. It seeks to help target populations take greater responsibility over their health through correct information and support from the project staff. Overall, BFHC works to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS, STIs and other related conditions while reducing the related stigma in the target population and wider community. The program brings a broader awareness of HIV/AIDS in the Battlefords, which is especially important in the context of the significant increase of HIV/AIDS rates in Saskatchewan in the last few years.
Why was the intervention/program/project originally developed?
The HIV rates were exploding in the province and community partners were reporting more people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. There was a critical need for a coordinated HIV prevention effort. At the time, there were no HIV/AIDS programs beyond sexual health in schools. This education was inconsistent and incomplete.
How was the intervention/program/project project developed?
The project developed largely through community consultation. Project staff began working with partners offering general HIV/AIDS education. Large community meetings were held that brought agencies together to hold group discussions about their services, work, clients and needs. Project staff combined their needs to disseminate HIV/AIDS prevention and sexual health education with the needs of their partner agencies. To develop the program, staff used their knowledge of other programs that had been successful, talked with other agencies around Saskatchewan, conducted focus groups with clients of different agencies, and collected information on general public perceptions.
OrganizationBattlefords Family Health Centre (BFHC)
- Harm reduction
- Harm reduction
- Incarcerated and/or remanded individuals
- Indigenous peoples
- People who use drugs
Name: Kent Lindgren
Position: Project Coordinator
Battleford/North Battleford, Saskatchewan
Fixed hours, ad hoc visits, workshops and/or events offered to clients through 13 partner agencies. Do not operate on-reserve, but work in areas around the Battlefords.
Project ResourcesCreate own youth magazine called “peep this” for youth under 15 [example attached], Sexual health jeopardy, and “Race to the Vulva” game.
Resources for Program
Funding for staff positions.
One full time staff.
One full time outreach worker.
One part time youth outreach worker.
Resources produced by others.
Condoms, needles and other safer sex/safer use supplies.
DurationFunded on a project basis every 3 years.
Output evaluation or tracking
- Number of presentations/activities, number of clients.
- Goals of project; extent to which knowledge and capacity are built. Outcomes evaluation is currently in process.
Audience/client feedback and evaluation
- Focus groups, surveys and client feedback.
Evaluation TermsAudience/client feedback and satisfaction, Outcome evaluation, Output tracking
Involve the community. The project operates because of the buy-in from the community. It would be very difficult to do work around HIV/AIDS in rural areas if it was not community-led.
Inform community partners about project development from the inception. It was profound to have community members from several different agencies (correctional centres, church groups, schools, health region) talk about the issues together, strategize and coordinate.
Involve the target populations in programming. The project has a strong working relationship with youth.
Stigma and working with people to see HIV differently. At times project staff are very uplifted about the progress. Other times, they are reminded how much work remains to change prevailing attitudes.
People who use drugs have been harder to engage due to stigma surrounding involvement in work related to HIV/AIDS.
When engaging in HIV/AIDS work through partner agencies, it can be difficult to balance the goals of different organizations.
Working with staff resistance in partner agencies can be challenging.
Making and maintaining good connections with people who access the project and return to their home community can be difficult. The transience in the region presents challenges.