R150 000 (HIVOS)

This project seeks to address homophobia in schools by empowering teacher-educators across the country to competently teach about sexual diversity matters to pre-service teachers.  Based on the premise that many of the challenges experienced by the LGBTI community with regards to HIV/AIDS vulnerability, limited access to healthcare services and general abuses in communities are driven by ignorance, the project positions education as a possible avenue through which homophobia and heteronormativity can be challenged, consequently improving the lives of LGBTI individuals.

The project has two interrelated outcomes.  The first and main outcome focuses on training university educators to competently teach about sexual diversity in higher education institutions across the country; individuals from twenty higher education institutions offering undergraduate teaching programmes will participate. The second and minor outcome will focus on empowering 10 student-teachers (‘foot soldiers’) on facilitating sexual diversity teaching in schools.  These ‘foot soldiers’ will offer training and support to schools wanting to be trained on sexual diversity matters in order to extend reach. 

For the first outcome, the teacher-trainers will be invited to apply for participation in order to ensure that only interested individuals are trained.  Focus will be mostly on facilitators teaching Life Orientation and Sociology of Education. A 3-day workshop in a Durban hotel will be held, with colleagues from the University of the Free State, GALA and the International Centre on Non-violence (ICON) collaboratively working with the project leader in facilitating the sessions.  Participants will be required to integrate sexual diversity matters in their taught courses.  Support will be offered to all participants in this process of integration, with students expected to evaluate the sessions. 

The ‘foot soldier ‘ component involves training  senior education students (3rd/4th year BEd, honours and masters) to be facilitators on teacher training.   Ten students are currently being trained over on facilitating.  Students with previous experience in the area have mostly been selected.  Trained students will be sent, by invitation, to schools requiring training.  All training sessions (facilitator training and school visitations) will be evaluated.