By Michael Liswaniso OPUWO The Medicos del Mundo Organization (Doctors of the World’) whose aim is to strengthen regional programmes for the control of HIV/AIDS in the Kunene and Erongo regions, has funded a three-day training workshop on Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material development in Kunene’s hub of Opuwo. The three-day workshop, that was initiated by the Ministry of Health and Social Services and brought to Medicos del Mundo for funding, started on Tuesday this week and ends today (Thursday). The aim of the workshop is to equip participants with a basic knowledge on the development of IEC material, make participants better understand the language of communication when developing IEC materials, as well as equip them with the right knowledge on how better to influence behavioral change, among others. The workshop is being facilitated by Charles Kiizah from the Ministry of Health and Social Services and Paul Peters who is an experienced IEC freelance facilitator. More than 20 participants from the IEC Regional Committee that is made up of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Health and Social Services, Red Cross Society, Ombetja Yehinga, Namibia Press Agency, Medicos del Mundo as well as constituency and regional AIDS coordinating committees are attending the workshop. Kunene’s chief medical officer, Dr Ebong Okpabio, officially opened the workshop. In his opening speech, he welcomed everyone to Kunene’s hub and paid tribute to Medicos del Mundo. “I thank Medicos del Mundo for the sponsorship of this workshop and I am very happy that we are taking a very good step in IEC developments in our region,” he said. Okpabio urged all the participants to pay attention to the facilitators and make good use of the facts availed. He also stressed the need for participants to respect one another and adhere to all the ground rules of the training. He noted that for the development of the region and the country at large, with regard to the communication and prevention of diseases, good IEC materials should be developed. “This region is so unique, so we must really develop good messages and materials that are applicable to our region because otherwise it can mislead our people.” In his closing remarks he said: “I am very grateful to officially open this workshop and I hope that these facilitators will be able to carry out their task effectively. This workshop is officially opened.” Asked why the workshop was important, Kiizah said: “This workshop is vital because we need to develop more IEC materials that are applicable to any person on the street so that we can be able to change behaviour and this can be supplemented with other social mobilization activities. So we really need IEC materials to communicate and prevent diseases and they say a picture tells more than a thousand words.” IEC committee members from other regional constituencies of Outjo and Khorixas at district level are some of the participants. The workshop will cost N$6 000 in stationery, transport, meals and accommodation for participants.