Positive Prevention: Front Line Warriors (FLW)
Description of Program
What is the intervention/program/project?
The Front Line Warriors program is a unique hybrid program that unites prevention, education, peer support and strategic curriculum development. The Front Line Warriors are Aboriginal and Non Aboriginal people living with HIV/AIDS and/or HCV who meet every Thursday at the Positive Living North office in Prince George. These meetings are directed with guidance from a Positive Prevention Coordinator and Elder Advisor. Members are involved in training so that they have the confidence and skills to support the education department. This group determines the workshops it will present. It receives training on workshop development and meeting audience needs. The Front Line Warriors go out into the community to conduct workshops on HIV prevention with target populations using storytelling and experiential knowledge. Warriors are provided with stipends for presentations and travel. They visit towns surrounding Prince George, and can travel up to 13 hours away. From 2011-2012, the Front Line Warriors conducted 161 workshops averaging 13 workshops per month, with a total of 3350 participants.
What is the goal/objective of the intervention/program/project?
The overall goal is to support people who are living with HIV/AIDS to undertake positive changes in their lives that increase their overall health and wellbeing, and enable them to share their expertise effectively. The secondary goal is to reduce rates of HIV/STIs, stigma and discrimination perpetuated against people living with HIV/AIDS.
Why was the intervention/program/project originally developed?
HIV rates in Northern B.C. continue to show an over-representation of Aboriginal Peoples. At times, northern communities do not want members who are HIV positive to return home. Poverty, discrimination and colonization’s legacies continue to confound Aboriginal People’s survival and diminish their opportunities to thrive. The founding Warriors wanted to be the change. They wanted to stop HIV and begin going out to educate people. Originally, in the agency, education was separate from the Positive Prevention Program. It was very impactful to have the Warriors lead this component of the education programming – for participants to have a name, face and heart in the HIV/AIDS awareness and education. This moved the program beyond just providing statistics.
How was the intervention/program/project developed?
The program developed organically. It initiated with the Warriors’ desire to go out and make a difference. The Executive Director promoted the proposal and received funding. The program has grown. Much of the programming is directed from the members.
OrganizationPositive Living North: No khēyoh t’sih’en t’sehena Society
- Harm reduction
- Harm reduction
- Indigenous peoples
- People living with HIV/AIDS
- People who use drugs
- Service providers
Name: Sandra Sasaki
Position: Education Manager/ Positive Prevention Coordinator
Front Line Warrior meetings are held at Positive Living North in Prince George and have one Warrior in Smithers. Workshops are conducted on and off reserve in communities surrounding Prince George, including Fort Nelson, Williams Lake and Fort St. John.
Project ResourcesPamphlet and poster available upon request.
Resources for Program
Front Line Warriors.
Training and supervision by staff, staff expertise.
Commitment to a participatory approach which introduces equity for all involved.
Funding for food, honoraria for workshop leaders.
Project administration funding.
Travel costs (vehicle, gas, food for trips of up to 13-14 hours).
- Number of workshops, type of workshop, number of participants.
Process monitoring or evaluation
- Interviews with FLW members, staff and audience; focus groups (FLW members), participant observation.
Audience/client feedback and satisfaction
- Written workshop evaluation forms and interviews.
- Workshop evaluation and focus group with staff/FLW members conducted by program Evaluator.
Evaluation TermsAudience/client feedback and satisfaction, Outcome evaluation, Output tracking, Process monitoring or evaluation
- Importance and value of leadership of ‘members’, including people living with HIV/HCV and people who use drugs, in prevention programming.
- Value of having the Elder Advisor as part of the program. The elder helps to negotiate with the warriors and provides mental/physical and addictions support.
- Positive prevention is support for the community as well as each other. Positive prevention is empowering, hope and courage.
- The project reinforces traditional ways of knowing and learning.
- It is very impactful when workshop participants write letters to the Warriors about how much the workshop impacted their life.
- Ignorance, discrimination and stigma that confronts the Front Line Warriors is both a sign of the comfort and openness they can create in a room and a testament to their courage.
- Stress and wellness. Members of the group are on their own journeys of recovery and living with HIV (and HCV). Attendance is not always consistent. It is essential to make sure that members are able to maintain their health on long road trips in remote areas without cell service.
- Funding and policy decisions are often made without consultation or input from those living with HIV. Northern realities are not always well understood in more urban and distance centers. The uniquely hybrid and holistic nature of the model (both education and prevention work; client service and support and research) is not always perceived and valued in funding circles.
- In the last year, the most experienced Warriors moved on to jobs and other opportunities. Although this is very positive, it can be a challenge to fill their spots.